Title treks are never perfectly paved, no matter how much sense can be made in the preseason.
Five potential potholes that could spoil the trip:
1. Bumps in the road. OU wasn't a strong road team a year ago, losing at Colorado and Texas Tech and scuffling at Iowa State. The Sooners often looked out of sorts away from Norman. They don't face a ranked preseason team on the road, yet visits to Washington, Kansas State, Texas A&M and OSU could prove fatal if sub-Sooners show up.
2. Back seven. If this OU team has a major question mark, it's the back seven on defense. There will be two new starters at linebacker, two new cornerbacks and another new face when the defense shifts to its nickel package. Even part-time experience is lacking. In a league loaded with explosive offenses, it could be a concern.
3. Kicking game. There's always a game or two that come down to a kick. Garrett Hartley finished his career as the No. 6 scorer in OU history. He was also superb at putting kickoffs in the end zone. He's sure to be missed while redshirt freshmen Jimmy Stevens and Matthew Moreland battle true freshman Tress Way for the job(s). Reggie Smith will also be missed in the return game.
4. Deep burn. With Malcolm Kelly off to the NFL, the Sooners don't have an obvious deep threat at wide receiver. Juaquin Iglesias enjoyed a breakout season in 2007, yet may be better as a No. 2 receiver. Someone Quentin Chaney? needs to emerge.
5. Focus. OU's recent bowl hiccups are well documented. And we've already mentioned the road struggles. There have been hints about occasional lapses in focus. While full attention on a weekly basis is unrealistic, the Sooners would be better off straying mentally against the likes of Chattanooga and Baylor.
By John Helsley