Greatness Comes Standard with the OU Sooners.

Author: Lee Brennan
Category: Sports
Date Published: September 11, 2021

What will they do with it in 2021?

The Soon­ers kick off the 2021 sea­son under the lead­er­ship of fifth-year Head Coach Lin­coln Riley. In addi­tion to cap­tur­ing con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in all his sea­sons as Head Coach, Riley has also pro­duced two Heis­man Tro­phy win­ners and boasts a 45–8 record over­all for a .849 win­ning per­cent­age, the third most among cur­rent col­lege foot­ball coach­es. It has been a tremen­dous start for the young coach. Inter­est­ing­ly, even with his his­tor­i­cal­ly strong start, there has been an alba­tross hang­ing around the col­lec­tive neck of this thor­ough­ly accom­plished team. The accom­plish­ments over the last few years have been tremen­dous but, among the OU faith­ful, expec­ta­tions are high. Name­ly, Soon­er Nation has a strong itch to add to that nation­al cham­pi­onship total, and they look poised to do just that.

While they are ripe for a cham­pi­onship now, you could say that Riley got things start­ed when he hired Alex Grinch to become the team’s defen­sive coor­di­na­tor in 2019. Pri­or to Grinch’s arrival, the Soon­ers’ holes on defense were com­plete­ly jux­ta­posed to their high-pow­ered offense and is a pri­ma­ry rea­son the Soon­ers were unable to bring a Nation­al Cham­pi­onship home dur­ing their four play­off appear­ances. As he gets start­ed in his third sea­son with the Soon­ers, Grinch has com­plete­ly changed the nar­ra­tive of the OU defense. Both in con­fer­ence and nation­al­ly, they have improved in every major cat­e­go­ry, and, pro­vid­ing they make it to the play­offs, it is unlike­ly the oth­er teams in the run­ning for the nation­al cham­pi­onship will have the light load of pre­vi­ous years in con­tend­ing with the OU defense. When you con­sid­er how pro­lif­ic OU is on the offen­sive side of the field, it is easy to see why antic­i­pa­tions are high for the 2021 sea­son.
In a recent inter­view with Sports Illus­trat­ed, Riley said, “Like, of course, we have high expec­ta­tions. This is Okla­homa, what do you expect?” in ref­er­ence to con­tend­ing for the nation­al cham­pi­onship. He went on to say, “Part of our expec­ta­tion is to be able to block out any out­side noise and remain focused on us being our best. I don’t care what team what year, win, loss, what­ev­er… When we’ve played at a high lev­el and con­trolled the things we can con­trol, we’ve won just about all of them. I can’t think of one that I feel like we just had no shot.”

His con­fi­dence isn’t sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing he has Heis­man front run­ner Spencer Rat­tler lead­ing this year’s team at quar­ter­back, and the Sooner’s are start­ing off the year ranked num­ber two nation­al­ly behind Alaba­ma, last year’s nation­al cham­pi­onship team. There is no longer a lin­ger­ing hang­over on the defen­sive side of the ball from years past, and the Soon­ers are a very mature and extreme­ly poised team. This sea­son’s Nation­al Cham­pi­onship game will be played on Jan­u­ary 10, 2022, in Indi­anapo­lis, Indi­ana. Get ready because of our expec­ta­tion; once that day is done, that title is com­ing back to Oklahoma.


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