ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he already has circled Sept. 17 on his calendar. That's the day the Sooners travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to face Florida State in a game he expects he will broadcast with Brent Musburger and also cover with “College GameDay” colleagues Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard. Herbstreit discussed the upcoming season in a telephone interview.
What's your early appraisal of OU?
I think on paper they are the best team in the country. I don't want to put a bull's-eye on their chest, but I think this might be one of Bob's most talented teams in the 13 years he has been there. I think Landry (Jones) has demonstrated what he can do at quarterback. The running backs, you talk about a stable, that is an outstanding group. I loved Ryan Broyles coming back to go with Kenny Stills. Even James Hanna showed playmaking ability at tight end. They have a big strong offensive line. It's scary to think what this offense can do. You love (former offensive coordinator) Kevin Wilson, but at the same time, I think there is enough cohesion on that offensive staff that I don't think will slow them down. They averaged like 37 last year. I can't imagine what they're going to do to defenses this year with that up-tempo offense, which is tough enough to deal with. Then you throw in the experience and playmaking ability that I have. That side of the football I think will be dynamic.
Defensively, it's been proven over the years that they always seem to put a defense out there that has a chance to win a championship. I think the challenge for them this year is to avoid those games where they had some lapses, which had to do with youth, giving up some big plays. I cannot wait for Sept. 17 for when they go to Tallahassee. I think that will be a huge game.
What's your forecast for Oklahoma State?
The Cowboys are going to score a ton of points. With Justin Blackmon having a chance to come back and see what he can do with (Brandon) Weeden, I think Oklahoma State is going to be a team that is going to score a ton. The big question with them, is can their defense hold up and slow some people down? I think Bill Young is an outstanding defensive coordinator. I think in the last year or two you could see that Mike (Gundy) has made more of an effort to get more athletic ability on defense. There is a lot of youth over there. It's hard to really know how good they can be. But for them to become a team that will challenge Oklahoma and Texas A&M and have a chance to get to a BCS bowl game, it obviously is going to be up to their defense.