OU Insider: Phil Steele still sold on Sooners at No. 1

By Jake Trotter Modified: August 16, 2010 at 8:41 am •  Published: August 15, 2010

Perhaps the most surprising part of your unit rankings is how high you are on the Sooners' offensive line. Why do you think that unit will be a strength this year, when it struggled so much last year?

"I'll go back to 2008 and use Florida's secondary. In 2007, their defense allowed 259 yards per game passing, and Florida lost four games. But in 2008 I picked Florida No. 1, even though Georgia was No. 1 in the AP poll. Most folks said, 'Phil, are you out of your mind? I watched Florida's secondary last year and they were horrible.' And I said, 'Last year's secondary was extremely young, inexperienced and injury plagued. They're going to be a much improved secondary.' And Florida went on to win the national title. They went from allowing 25 points per game to 12 points per game, and at the end of the year, no one talked about a weakness at secondary.

"Bob Stoops has done an incredible job developing offensive linemen. Last year, they went through 10 different starting lineups, had a myriad of injuries, and naturally didn't play well, and I didn't expect them to play well last year. This year, while they lose two starters, they're in much better shape. A more cohesive unit. Last year's injuries gave players more experience playing. This is going to be an Oklahoma team that puts points on the board, and much like Florida's secondary in 2008, we're not going to be talking about OU's offensive line as a weakness, but rather a strength."

Other than Texas, which game scares you the most for the Sooners?

"The game I'm most concerned about is at Texas A&M. College Station is a very difficult place to play. Texas A&M is loaded on offense. One of the reasons I liked OU to win that game is the defense. Texas A&M will have an improved defense, top 50. But OU will be top 5. Offensively they'll be close. Defensively they'll have a large edge, but that would be the one game that would concern me."

You have Landry Jones as your fourth favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Please expound.

"I think his completion percentage will be at the 65 range. Getting work all spring and August with the first team is going to have a big help in that. I see his touchdown-to-interception ratio being like 31-9 this year. The coaches are going to be more confident in his abilities, he'll be more confident in his abilities. I think they've got an improved receiving corps. Landry Jones has got size, arm strength, decent mobility. I think you're going to see him have a very good year this year."

Last question: your prediction won't come through if this happens ...

"Landry Jones goes down with injury, or they have an injury-plagued season like last year. I feel very confident. It lines up in about eight different factors, like in 2008 with Florida, which caught a lot of flack. It just had everything lined up for them that year, just like Oklahoma this year. The Sooners were much better than their final record, had the stars lost to injury, they have the schedule set up for a perfect season." Phil Steele's official website