College football has arrived and is in full swing. With that, we look at the Oklahoma Sooners vs Houston Cougars preview. This being the first game for both teams there are many unanswered questions. Most of those questions will not be answered here in this Oklahoma vs Houston preview. Certainly, most of those questions and answers will unfold this Sunday, September 1st.
Oklahoma vs Houston Preview
Both teams seem to have similar strengths and concerns. Clearly, there is talent returning at the skill positions on offense. The Sooners and Cougars have an inexperienced offensive line that will be a major concern. Obviously, dramatic improvement is needed on the defensive side of the ball for both teams.
Houston Cougars 2019
Hopes are high in Houston as new head coach Dana Holgorsen takes over in a surprising move from West Virginia. Houston will enter 2019 as one of the favorites in the American Athletic Conference.
The offense is well manned at the skill positions, although they must replace three departed offensive linemen. The top returning player on Houston’s offense will be quarterback, D’Eriq King. King returns as the best quarterback in the conference, and quite possibly the most complete quarterback in the country. King passed for 2982 yards and 36 touchdowns, he also rushed for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The running back position has plenty of talent as well as experience. Two returning seniors and a talented junior will carry the bulk of the load. Houston has a talented group of receivers. This group is one of the best in the country. All have tremendous speed to burn a secondary. The starters combined for almost 2,300 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. As previously mentioned, the main concern on offense will be an inexperienced offensive line. Replacing three starters is no small task.
The defense was a major issue in 2018. The Cougars allowed 37 points a game and allowed 45 points a game in the last seven games. That being said the defense will need to be much improved to keep the Sooners under 50.
Oklahoma Sooners 2019
Oklahoma enters as the number four ranked team nationally. With that being said, Oklahoma has a history of losing early season games they have been favored to win. Arguably, the Sooners return one of the most talented groups in the country, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
In contrast, Oklahoma’s defense was one of the poorest in its rich history. If Oklahoma is to compete nationally a lot rides on the improvement of the defense under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
The offense is in good hands with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts. If Hurts should go down Oklahoma has the number one high school quarterback recruit in the country in Spencer Rattler as well as redshirt freshmen and four-star recruit Tanner Mordecai waiting to step in.
In all likelihood, the strongest and most talented group on the roster is the receivers. Oklahoma returns all but one contributing receiver from 2018. In addition, the Sooners brought in the highest-rated class of receivers in history. Oklahoma now has on-campus three five-star and one four-star recruit in 2019.
Conversely, the biggest concern for Oklahoma’s offense will be replacing four starters on the offensive line. There is ample talent on board, but very little experience. At this point, Oklahoma has only one player with starting experience. Although that player is All America candidate Creed Humphrey at the center.
Without a doubt, the biggest concern will be how much improvement Grinch’s defense will show versus 2018. All things considered, Oklahoma has talent on the defense. How well those players adapt to a new system will have a huge impact on how far the Sooners go in 2019.
Oklahoma vs Houston Preview
In conclusion, Houston just doesn’t have the firepower to compete with Oklahoma at this point. In addition, this game will be played in Norman. Oklahoma is 39-4 in home openers since 1950. All things considered, Houston will need a little time to adjust to Holgorsen’s coaching style. Oklahoma will win this home opener by three scores.