More than 20 are heavy contributors. Some are stars. Like Justin Gilbert and Clint Chelf and Daytawion Lowe and Caleb Lavey and Parker Graham and Calvin Barnett.
This is a talented, deep, experienced team. That's why the Sooners, 9-2 and still mentioned as a BCS bowl contender, find themselves double-digit underdogs Saturday.
“Our talent level's improved in the last six years,” Mike Gundy said. “We've gotten considerably better athletically.”
A few examples:
* OSU has better defensive backs than do the Sooners, notably Gilbert and Lowe.
* OSU has better receivers than do the Sooners, with some of them freshmen (Marcell Ateman, Jhajuan Seales) who look like future stars.
* OSU has a better defensive line than does OU. This is the real stunner. There haven't been five seasons since the Depression when the Cowboys had such a clear Bedlam advantage up front. But they do now.
James Castleman and Calvin Barnett “are probably two of the best we're going to play all year,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “They control the line of scrimmage. That's set ‘em up in the back end. They're playing the best on defense since I've been here.”
OSU is not assured of winning. The Sooners are good, too.
But gone are the days when the Cowboys have to play over their heads to win. Saturday, that mission falls to the Sooners.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.