What can the Oklahoma Sooners do for yet another encore?
After winning four consecutive Big 12 crowns, OU enters the 2019 season as the prohibitive favorite to win another championship. The Sooners will try to add another trophy to their case while replacing a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback again. They also have to contend with a rebuilt offensive line and defense.
Athlon asked a few editors and one of its college football contributors to share their realistic win/loss projection for Oklahoma in 2019.
Oklahoma Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2019
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Oklahoma enters 2019 in familiar territory. Despite a rebuilt offensive line, the Sooners will have no trouble scoring points behind a high-powered offense that features quarterback Jalen Hurts and one of the nation's deepest receiving corps. Even though Oklahoma is likely to rank near the top of college football in scoring offense once again, the play of the defense will determine whether or not this team gets back to the CFB Playoff. New coordinator Alex Grinch is one of the offseason's top hires, but this unit has question marks at all three levels. Oklahoma won five games by one score last season, so the margin of error behind a high-powered offense with a questionable defense will be small.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
The Sooners have a pair of intriguing non-conference games but should be able to handle Houston, at home, and UCLA on the road. It will, however, be interesting to see what the OU defense, led by new coordinator Alex Grinch, can do against a very good Houston offense. It's tough to find any losses for OU on the Big 12 slate — but it's also tough to envision this team running the table. So I'll give the Sooners a loss to Texas in the regular-season clash with the expectation that OU returns to the favor in the Big 12 title game.
Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism)
OU isn't contending with a monster schedule this season, but it has just enough tests to make it conceivable that the Sooners slip up once or twice. Chip Kelly's improved UCLA team will offer an early opportunity for OU to trip up on the road. November is a brutal run, capped off by the historically wild Bedlam game to close out the year.
Picking the Sooners to assemble a resume worthy of a College Football Playoff bid this year requires an extraordinary amount of faith in head coach Lincoln Riley and transfer QB Jalen Hurts. However, the arrival of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch may ease some of the pressure on the offense to continue to deliver all-time-great production. Grinch's unit isn't hurting for talented players, either.
OU is looking at a handful of scary challengers to the Big 12, and an unblemished record feels like a big ask. A shot at another conference title in AT&T Stadium doesn't.