With the lines for many games and win totals appearing online the past couple of weeks, we now have a pretty good idea of what Vegas expects from Oklahoma in 2014. However, Vegas’ expectations don’t always mesh with those of the Sooner fanbase.
(Note: These expectations are based on the assumption that quarterback Trevor Knight plays all 12 games. If he misses substantial time, this season could derail quickly.)
Tight end Blake Bell said recently that his expectation for this year is a national championship. That’s great. That’s what he should say.
But it’s foolish to go into a season with a national championship-or-bust mentality as a fan. National championship teams almost always require a little bit of luck.
The inaugural playoff is a reasonable goal, but should not be an expectation. It’s too early to know how the season will play out across the country or how the new selection committee will choose teams. The only way to guarantee a place in the playoffs is to go 12-0.
The 10-win mark is an important one in 2014. Bob Stoops has managed to hit this number consistently, and, barring major injuries across the board, it would be hard to classify a 9-3 finish with this roster and schedule as anything but a disappointment. No one could complain about an 11-1 season, considering it would almost definitely carry a top 10 ranking along with it.
Are 10 wins enough, though? Two losses would almost certainly keep Oklahoma out of the playoff and kill any momentum gained from the last couple of weeks of the 2013 season. If the 2013 team, which appeared completely incompetent at times, could win 10 games, shouldn’t the 2014 team be able to top it?
Maybe 10 wins would be enough—if the Sooners win the Big 12. Oklahoma State is down. Texas has a new coach and no quarterback. It’s hard to consider finishing with the same record as last season, which was a time of major transitions schematically, as a success without a championship. If OU goes 10-2 and watches, say, Baylor win the conference, disappointment will be in the air in Norman.