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Oklahoma football: OU's projected to contend, but recent projections have been deceiving

In the eight seasons after the 2000 title, seven times in the final AP poll OU placed no more than three spots away from where it was projected in the preseason AP poll. Now, the opposite is true. In the previous five seasons, only once has OU finished within 10 slots of its preseason poll placing.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 15, 2014

So while 2014 arrives with great expectations, it also comes with great trepidation. The wheels have come off before.

And Stoops knows that. In Tulsa for the OU caravan two weeks ago, Stoops was asked about his squad considering it was projected as Big 12 champion and projected as a national title contender.

“You’re doing a lot of projecting; so is a lot of other people,” Stoops said. “But I don’t look at it that way.”

Maybe so. But even while dismissing projections, Stoops couldn’t help but praise his Sooners.

“I feel great about our team,” Stoops said. “I love the chemistry, the work ethic. The way they worked through the winter and spring. We have great potential.”

But Stoops accurately points out that OU is depending on a lot of young players. A quarterback who has started and completed three games. A new set of tailbacks. A new receiving corps outside of Sterling Shepard. A reworked secondary. Linebacker depth concerns. The Sooners are solid on the lines, but otherwise, this is in many ways a new generation of ballplayers.

“We’re going to have to have some young people really make a difference,” Stoops said. “That has to happen yet. We need to have a great summer here in the way we train. We need to have a great two-a-days for all that to come to fruition. So it’s early. I have a great feeling about the team. But again, we’ve got a lot of work to do to get it done.”

Including reversing the recent trend of completely fooling projections.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at 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