Oklahoma Sooners are a wild card in 2024 according to On3’s Andy Staples

The Oklahoma Sooners are at an interesting inflection point two and a half months from the beginning of the 2024 college football season.

The Sooners are entering year three of the Brent Venables era in Norman. After he was hired to be OU’s next head coach in December of 2021, a disappointing 6-7 campaign in 2022 followed.

Oklahoma rebounded in 2023 with a 10-3 mark in year two, and there’s no question that this is a Brent Venables program now. He’s got his guys in place on the field and on the coaching staff.

But the Sooners head to the Southeastern Conference in 2024, after a long run atop the Big 12 conference that featured fourteen conference titles. That’s ten more than anyone else.

The SEC will be a much tougher road than the Big 12 was, and On3’s Andy Staples has some concerns for the Sooners in 2024, calling them a mystery.

According to Staples, the floor for this Oklahoma team could be 6-6. However, he also thinks the ceiling could be a trip to the College Football Playoff.

“If they’re 6-6, if they’re 7-5,” Staples said, “What do you do about Brent Venables? How do you feel about Brent Venables if you’re Joe Castiglione, their athletic director?”

Staples and others present the offensive line as a concern for the team in 2024. Oklahoma is replacing the entire unit this season. Tyler Guyton was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the NFL Draft and Cayden Green transferred to Missouri. The Sooners also lost Walter Rouse, Andrew Raym and McKade Mettauer up front.

Staples notes that the Sooners added pieces via the transfer portal to fill those holes. Spencer Brown came over from Michigan State in the winter portal window. Branson Hickman is a plug and play piece at center, transferring in during the spring window from SMU. Michael Tarquin, Febechi Nwaiwu and Geriean Hatchett also arrived via the portal and will have an impact along the offensive line this fall.

These players will form the core of the unit along with young pieces like Joshua Bates, Jacob Sexton,Troy Everett and Jake Taylor, but it is a patchwork O-line that will have to protect quarterback Jackson Arnold if the Sooners want to be successful in 2024.

Staples thinks the Sooners are the deepest they’ve been in a while on defense,  and he knows why the OU staff and fans are excited for Arnold. He praised the wide receiver group as well.

Many in the national media don’t seem to have the faith in Venables quite yet that most Sooner fans do. They site the SEC presenting a challenge that Oklahoma hasn’t seen before.

But Venables is one of the great defensive minds in college football. He’s leading the way for the program, in addition to all of the skill and depth on that side of the ball. Then, of course, there’s that talented but young quarterback stepping into the starting role.

The Sooners may very well be a wildcard in year one in their new conference. But if the offensive line can hold up long enough for Arnold to have time to throw, it could be a very fun year in Norman.

If not, it could be detrimental to Arnold’s development, and 2024 could be a long season in the SEC.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire