August 25, 2008

The Fearless 20 Gets it Start

As it's the opening week of the season, this Just Joshin' is going to combine your traditional musings of mine along with my annual '20 fearless'. For our new members it's a scary look inside my mind mixed with a few opinions on just what might take place in the 2007 season. And what better time to offer such things than the Monday of Oklahoma's first game week of the season?

20. Demarco Murray will rush for roughly 1,500 yards this season.
Analysis: Early on I think that this prediction may end up looking a little crazy as Murray figures to be slowly let loose again as he recovers from the season-ending knee injury that he suffered in Lubbock, Texas late last season. As the season wears on I think Murray's explosive ability will become even more of a problem against Big 12 defenses heavy-legged from the season that's already taken place.



19. As I predicted two years ago (missed the boat last year), Oklahoma will lose a game they aren't supposed to. But unlike past years, I'll go ahead and pick it.
Analysis: Predicting a loss is probably more outlandish than picking troubles in College Station. First year coach Mike Sherman will have the Aggies as ready as they can be and of course Kyle Field will be it's always imposing self. I don't love what A&M has on the roster this year but in years past Oklahoma teams with more experience have had problems in B/CS so it may be something the Sooners just can't avoid.


18. Ignore the hype: for the first time in some time, expect an impressive performance in Stillwater.
Analysis: In breaking the trend of the second prediction, the Sooners will break the curse of the past few trips to Northern Oklahoma and put together a solid performance in Stillwater. Add in that I think this Aggies team is being a bit overhyped because they've got a very underrated quarterback. While it's a position that makes up for shortcomings elsewhere I think Oklahoma State's defense still has a lot to prove and I'm not convinced of many playmakers on the edge.


17. Joey Halzle won't see much more playing time this year than he did last year.
Analysis: This has been something that been a big cause for complaint the past few years, but in 2007 Sam Bradford receiving the lion's share of snaps was a good, and understandable, decision from Bob Stoops as Bradford needed the experience. In 2008 he is a much more prepared and experienced player but I have no reason to think the trend of back-up quarterbacks and limited playing time will change.


16. Oklahoma and Texas Tech will enter their game waiting to decide the Big 12 title, and as usual in Norman the Red Raiders will struggle mightily.

Analysis: I know I know, I can't seem to get a grip on the trends of the Sooners Big 12 season's. In seems to depend on my mood as I type. However, this is one trend I don't see changing, and honestly think if not for the freak injury Bradford suffered this game wouldn't be receiving the hype it already has. Would it shock me if this one is close? Of course not, Leach has one of his most talented teams. However, Norman has been a serious scene of nightmares for him, at least when he wasn't on the West Sideline.


15. For the first time in a few years safety may again be a strength of the defense with Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes.
Analysis: I really like these two as Oklahoma's safeties and the way in which they compliment each other's game. Holmes is a coverage player who is a surprising hitter while Harris is a big hitter who doesn't get enough credit as a pass defender. I also think with both being heavily experienced seniors they bring a calm to the reality that Oklahoma is breaking in two new cornerbacks in the secondary.




14. Jimmy Stevens will struggle early in the season but steady himself as he gains experience.
Analysis: As Stevens chased down the national high school career record for field goals he showed a tendency to get a bit shaky, which makes me think that changing from a 7,000 person audience to nearly 90,000 may cause him a bit of hesitation early on, particularly in Seattle, Wash. However, Stevens is an accurate kicker who I think can calm himself as the season wears on.


13. Jermaine Gresham will be playing his final season of college football.
Analysis: I know what he has said recently but Gresham comes from a tough background and is another kid that you can't fault for leaving early if he can help his entire family out with his first NFL paycheck. Not to mention that he figures to have another monstrous season this year and further vault his NFL expectations.


12. While there are only a few players left from the 2005 squad, look for some serious retribution for TCU when they hit Norman on Sept. 27.
Analysis: There have been some insinuations around the TCU game in Norman a few years ago that are eerily similar to those of the national title game against LSU. While no one has ever said anything it's clear that this game is an early season priority to right what was so wrong with the start of the 2005 season. Look for a strong performance from the Sooners.


11. The first quarter of the Washington game will be a struggle for Oklahoma, but the Sooners will eventually win in the vicinity of 38-10.
Analysis: Oklahoma struggled on the road last year, let's not kid ourselves. And to continue with the honesty they didn't play in a road environment like they will see in Seattle. Husky Stadium is a well-kept secret around the country as most don't realize just how loud it can be and what a great program the Huskies once were. Bear with the team, it may not look beautiful early on.





Look for the top 10 tomorrow!


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