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The Too Early 2012 Oklahoma Football Preview

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The state of Oklahoma is woefully under-represented in the postseason basketball scene and spring football is in full swing, which means it's officially time to turn the collective attention back to football and try to make the offseason shorter.

Read More: Sooners Get Started With First Spring Football Practice

Read More: Oklahoma State Football Holds First Spring Practice

All three in-state schools return plenty of talent, but will have to replace players in key positions and key roles from the 2011 season. How will your favorite team fare in 2012, only time can tell, but here are some way too early predictions for 2012.

Oklahoma Sooners: 11-1 (Big 12 Champions)

Folks hate to hear it, but Oklahoma, as of late, has had a penchant for shooting itself in the foot and blowing a game they should win. The scariest games on the schedule are obviously the late-season road games against Big 12 newcomers West Virginia ad TCU, but – like most years – playing a resurgent Texas in Dallas is a toss-up. When Landry Jones returned, Oklahoma became the easy favorite to claim a conference title and nothing has changed. Combined with Dom Whaley returning from injury and stud receiver Trey Metoyer qualifying academically, the Sooners' state as Big 12 favorites will remain until proven otherwise.

The Sooners lost a ton of defensive playmakers, re-hired Mike Stoops to call the defense and effectively ran Brent Venables out of town and into South Carolina, so their defense will obviously be the biggest question. Most notably, Oklahoma will have to replace Frank Alexander, Jamell Flemming, Ronnell Lewis and Travis Lewis, who were all in the top 8 in total tackles for the Sooners in 2011 and will presumably suit up on Sundays.

Oklahoma State Cowboys: 9-3

Oklahoma State is almost exactly where it was two years ago at this time: Graduating a record-breaking quarterback and a freakishly-talented wide receiver giving up an extra year in college to try his hand in the NFL. Fortunately for the Pokes, just like two years ago, there's a proven running back to carry the load and make things easier for the new signal caller. Oklahoma State will try to replace Brandon Weeden with one of three talented QBs, selecting from the pool of Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt), but will have the duo of Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith to carry the load on the ground, with talented newcomers like receiving tight end Blake Jackson stretching the defense and redshirt freshman receiver David Glidden presumably taking over for Josh Cooper in the slot.

The Cowboys' strength in the past few seasons has been its offensive line, but the loss of Levy Adcock and Grant Garner significantly hurts the unit of line coach Joe Wickline. With a new pair of tackles trying to keep a new QB upright, it could take some time for the Cowboys' offense, and specifically the line, to gel and find a way to work together successfully. Luckily for the Cowboys, they return a ton of talent to their ball-hawking defense from a year ago, including a complete corps of linebackers and their interior defensive linemen.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane: 9-3

Tulsa is another school in Oklahoma that needs to replace a record-setting quarterback, luckily for the Golden Hurricane, most of the schools in the Conference USA will also have to replace a quarterback. Going into spring football Tulsa listed eight quarterbacks on the depth chart, with just one playing any sort of significant time. Whoever ends up under center, they will inherit plenty of weapons, with Ja'Terian Douglas and Trey Watts returning at running back, both of whom rushed for more than 900 yards, and 2011's leading receiver Willie Carter. Tulsa returns six players from a defense that allowed 414 yards per game a year ago, but will be missing a big piece with Curnelius Arnick graduating, who led the team with a whopping 159 total tackles.

The Golden Hurricane will have to rely on some young talent to fill in holes, with eight underclassmen slated to fill in their empty starting positions, including quarterback, but will have plenty of returning upper-classmen surrounding them. Tulsa will know where it stands early-on in the season, taking on the Iowa State Cyclones in the first week of the season.

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