Who will be OU’s biggest threat to a Big 12 title?

June, 18, 2012
6/18/12
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Every Monday during the summer, the SoonerNation staff answers a roundtable question. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Today's question: Who will be OU’s biggest threat to a Big 12 title?

Any one of six teams could win the Big 12 title this season, the most contenders the league has had in years, and maybe ever. But OU's top challenger for conference supremacy should be West Virginia. The Mountaineers return 16 starters, including QB Geno Smith, off last year's Big East champion squad that destroyed Clemson in the Orange Bowl. West Virginia has to go to Texas and Oklahoma State, and play Oklahoma in Morgantown on Nov. 17 in a tilt that figures to have major Big 12 title implications. To win the Big 12, the Sooners probably will also have to win that game.

- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeWest Virginia's Geno Smith
Andrew Weber/US PresswireWest Virginia's Geno Smith will be one of the Big 12's top signal-callers in 2012.
West Virginia is the biggest threat to OU's hopes for a Big 12 championship. Quarterback Geno Smith is entering his second season in Dana Holgorsen's offense and has Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, a couple of 1,000-yard receivers, to throw to. The Sooners will need to make a major improvement in the secondary to handle the Mountaineers, particularly in Morgantown. West Virginia gets TCU and OU at home but travels to Texas and Oklahoma State in a schedule that should allow WVU to put itself right in contention for a Big 12 title in its first season in the league.

- Brandon Chatmon

Did West Virginia just score again in the Orange Bowl against Clemson? OK, so that joke got played out, but the fact remains that the Mountaineers offense is going to be scary good. Quarterback Geno Smith and Tavon Austin connected for four touchdowns in that game and both are back. Add the fact West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is familiar with Big 12 systems from his time at Oklahoma State, and the Mountaineers are a real contender for a championship in their first year in the conference. If OU's problems in the secondary haven't been solved, the Nov. 17 trip to Morgantown, W.V., could be a long night.

- Bob Przybylo

West Virginia could beat Oklahoma in November, but I think the Mountaineers' road conference schedule is too tough for them to win the Big 12 title. WVU plays at Texas, at Oklahoma State and at Texas Tech (still a tough place to play), and I could see the Mountaineers losing two of those games. As for OU's biggest threat to a conference championship, give me Texas. The Longhorns have a strong running game, will likely have the best defense in the conference and if they can get above-average play at quarterback, they'll be tough to beat. Beat OU in Dallas on Oct. 13 and the Longhorns have a tame slate the rest of the way.

- Dane Beavers

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