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OU Insider: Football schedule supplies some Saturday surprises

JOHN HELSLEY Published: July 27, 2009
/articleid/3388250/1/pictures/625429">Photo - BYU quarterback Max Hall leads the Cougars against the Sooners on Sept. 5. AP photo
BYU quarterback Max Hall leads the Cougars against the Sooners on Sept. 5. AP photo
Healthy or unhealthy? Who knows? For all the ‘Horns have going for them — Colt McCoy and a stiff defense — are they good enough at running back or receiver to be considered a champion by someone other than themselves?

Oct. 24: at Kansas. The Texas Hangover hasn’t been an issue for Bob Stoops’ teams. Still, the blood has perhaps never been badder than it will be in this Red River Rivalry. And KU is good, good enough to win the North. And the game’s in Lawrence. The Jayhawks, however, weren’t very good against the pass (No. 114 among 119 schools in ’09) and have seen their strength – linebacker – become a major weakness.

Nov. 7: at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are drawing much love this preseason. Athlon picked them at No. 16 nationally and the Big 12 media poll pegged them at No. 1 in the North. Sorry, not buying. Not yet. There’s no clear quarterback choice and just four returning starters on offense. The defense boasts a star in nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, yet ranked 80th in scoring defense a year ago.

Nov. 21: at Texas Tech. Lubbock has been the scene of some OU nightmares in recent years. And by this stage of the season, the new-look Red Raiders could be rolling. But can Mike Leach, again, really use "the system” to spin rebuild into reload? Gone are Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell and three veteran offensive linemen.

Nov. 28: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys may come with the best offense the Sooners have faced. But what about the defense? Since reenergizing this series with its 16-13 upset in Norman in 2001, OSU hasn’t come close with better teams on Owen Field.


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