In late April, Sporting News teased its regional cover for its 2014 College Football Preview. It featured Oklahoma as the preseason No. 1, along with a big photo of Trevor Knight.
Early? Perhaps. I finally got a hold of one of those preview editions this week and wanted to share some of the Sooners talk in the magazine.
*Sporting News’ preseason top 25 includes just three Big 12 teams – OU (No. 1), Baylor (7) and Texas (23). Here’s the write up from SN’s Matt Hayes on why OU is the top team:
“You can’t use the 'Alabama wasn’t motivated' excuse anymore. And while we’re talking about the Sooners’ whipping of the most talented team in college football in last year’s Sugar Bowl, let’s give some credit to the OU offensive coaches. In 15 bowl practices, they figured out how to make Trevor Knight comfortable at the most important position on the field. Add to that the Stoops brothers finally figuring out what it takes to stop the pass-happy offenses in the Big 12, and you’ve got a nice recipe for a return to the top of college football.”
*SN lists three OU players as preseason All-Americans. No first-teamers, but kicker Michael Hunnicutt and rush linebacker Eric Striker are second-team offense and defense, respectively. Junior defensive end Charles Tapper is on the third-team defense. Striker is touted as the best blitzing linebacker in the country by Hayes.
*The final four: In the first rendition of the College Football Playoff, SN has an OU and Alabama rematch in one semifinal (Rose Bowl). Oregon and Florida State project into the second semifinal (Sugar Bowl). OU takes down Oregon in the National Championship in Arlington, Texas.
*In rating the Big 12, OU was listed as tops in four categories – Best Running QB (Knight), Top Impact Freshman (running back Joe Mixon), Hardest Hitter (LB Dominique Alexander) and Best Venue (Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium).
*Four OU players rate as All-Big 12 selections by SN – Hunnicutt, Striker, Tapper and offensive lineman Darryl Williams. Baylor leads the way with five selections.