The newsstands are brewing up some college football buzz, with the preseason magazines rolling out with picks and predictions and prospects for 2009.
At Athlon, a long-tenured and trusted publication, the braintrust believes 2009 will look a lot like 2008, calling for a Florida-Oklahoma rematch in the BCS title game.
Mitchell Light, the magazine’s managing editor, weighs in with his thoughts on several things Sooner.
→I know you guys hash out your Top 25 and other items in an extended and often intense conference room debate. How did Oklahoma go over when it came to pegging No. 1?
"Our No. 1 pick, Florida, was easy. It took us about five seconds to pull the chord. I’ve been at Athlon for eight years and our pick for Big 12 South No. 1, which was going to be our No. 2 in the nation, was probably the most heated debate we’ve had.
"We get in our conference room, we order pizza and do all that stuff. Sometimes, we can sort these things out in a few minutes — strengths, weaknesses, schedule — but we really spent a long time on this OU-Texas thing. We had some strong-willed people. Some of us liked Oklahoma. Some of them liked Texas. We battled it out and in the end, Oklahoma got the nod. But obviously, we think these two teams are pretty close, with Oklahoma No. 2 in the nation and Texas No. 3 in the nation. Both teams have a few points of concern, but for the most part, there’s a lot to like about both these teams.”
→What was it that pushed Oklahoma ahead of the Longhorns in the end?
"For me, it was the defense and the running game. Just love the depth at tailback. I wasn’t as concerned about the offensive line as some people are, or were in our meeting. When you’re looking to poke a hole in Oklahoma, that’s where you start with one starter coming back. Texas has other concerns.
"I was able to look past it, not giving them the benefit of the doubt, per se, but just that it’s Oklahoma. They’re going to have quality guys at those spots. Now, they need to jell and they need to step up, but if Ryan Reynolds can come back, the linebacking corps will be good, the defensive line will be fantastic and they have good cornerbacks. Pretty much across the board, just love Oklahoma’s talent.”
→Other than the offensive line, what else do you see as a major concern for the Sooners?
"Mainly, the kicking game. We look at everything. When you’re battling for a national title and you’re trying to sort out the Big 12 South title, it can come down to a 42-yard field goal under pressure.