The Oklahoma Sooners are looking to get back on top of the Big 12 mountain after losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State kept the then six-time defending champions out of the conference title game. Baylor held on by the skin of their teeth to beat the Cowboys.
The Bears are bringing back quite a bit from their Big 12 championship and were ranked third among 2021 conference champions most likely to repeat in 2022 by CBS Sports Shehan Jeyarajah.
With Oklahoma in a transition, the Big 12 has quietly become as competitive at the top as it has been in several years. As many as five teams could have legitimate Big 12 title shots in 2022. However, the Bears are in a great position to repeat with what should be one of the best line groups in the country on both ends. Baylor returns every member of the two deep on the defensive line and add elite Tulsa transfer Jaxon Player to the rotation. The four top offensive line starters are back, too. New starting quarterback Blake Shapen will make or break the Bears’ title chances after beating out veteran Gerry Bohanon in camp. Early returns are strong. – Jeyarajah, CBS Sports
The Bears lost several key players to their 2021 run like running backs Abram Smith and Tristan Ebner, wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, and defensive standouts Jalen Pitre and Terrel Bernard. But as Jeyarajah mentions, they’re returning a ton of talent in the trenches and that’s where Baylor looks to have the advantage on paper in the Big 12.
Oklahoma’s replacing all four starters on the defensive line and two starters on the offensive line. There has been a ton of turnover on the coaching staff and in the starting lineup.
The Sooners will be in contention in 2022, but the questions that linger for the Sooners are how quickly they can adopt Brent Venables’ defense and how quickly they build chemistry on offense.
The Sooners have done a fantastic job of attacking the transfer portal to add veteran players to help supplement a roster that lost 11 players to the NFL and several more to the transfer portal. Led by Dillon Gabriel and Jeffery Johnson, the Sooners added as many as seven players through the transfer portal that could start for them in 2022.
Just under two months until the start of the 2022 regular season, the Oklahoma Sooners are considered the favorite to win the Big 12, but they’ll face a stiff challenge from the Baylor Bears, the Texas Longhorns, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. As Jeyarajah mentions, the conference is as deep and competitive at the top as it’s been in a long time.
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