The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a few wrenches into OU's hopes of defending its conference title again, including 1,000-yard rusher Kennedy Brooks recently opting out. Head coach Lincoln Riley still has enough talent at his disposal to guide the Sooners back to the top of the league in 2020.
Athlon asked a few editors and one of its college football contributors to share their realistic win/loss projection for Oklahoma in 2020.
Oklahoma Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Oklahoma's high-powered offense has a new quarterback (Spencer Rattler) and won't have 1,000-yard rusher Kennedy Brooks to utilize after he opted out of the 2020 season, but coach Lincoln Riley's team is still the one to beat in the Big 12. Rattler is primed for a breakout year as the team's signal-caller, and a cast of talented (but unproven) playmakers should emerge behind one of the nation's top offensive lines. Oklahoma's defense showed some improvement under first-year coordinator Alex Grinch last fall. Another step forward is within reach, but this unit won't have end Ronnie Perkins early in the season due to a suspension, and linebacker Caleb Kelly is out for the year. Even if the defense shows only small progress, Riley's offense has enough firepower to book another trip to the CFB Playoff. The schedule features tough road trips to Iowa State and TCU, along with the Cotton Bowl matchup against Texas. Oklahoma stumbles once in the regular season but hoists another Big 12 title in December.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Yes, Oklahoma is breaking in a new quarterback, again. And Spencer Rattler is less experienced than any of his recent predecessors. But Lincoln Riley is still calling the shots, the Sooners don't lack for talent, and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch's impact on that side of the ball is really starting to show. Even if the reigning kings of the Big 12 drop a game along the way, I fully expect the Sooners to earn the chance to make it six conference titles in a row.
Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism)
Every college football team is dealing with chaos right now, but the offseason has been especially messy for OU. Injuries have hit the Sooners hard, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, suspensions will force OU's coaches to get creative in multiple spots in the lineup in the first half of the season.
A loss before the Sooners square off with Texas in the fourth game of the year isn't out of the question. It also seems like the Longhorns' experience could prove pivotal in the Oct. 10 showdown at the Cotton Bowl. As the Sooners and new quarterback Spencer Rattler mature, though, look for them to hit their stride as the season wears on.