Oklahoma's reputation precedes it

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
3:45
PM ET
There are several reasons to believe Oklahoma won't win the Big 12 title in 2013. It lost a four-year starter at quarterback (albeit a heavily criticized quarterback) in Landry Jones. It loses seven starters from a defense that struggled late in 2012 after a strong start, playing just well enough to earn a share of the Big 12 title.

Two of its best players, receiver Kenny Stills and safety Tony Jefferson, left school early for the NFL, leaving big holes on both sides of the ball.

Despite all that, our poll on the Sooners still shows that having "Oklahoma" across its chest means the Sooners are to be taken seriously in the Big 12 in any given year.

The losses didn't have a big impact on our voting, where 58 percent of you tagged last season's co-Big 12 champion as a Big 12 "contender" in 2013, compared to just 42 percent of you who say the Sooners are just pretending when they talk about winning a league title in 2013.

It's too early to really know, and Oklahoma has a lot to prove, but for me, it boils down to the quarterback spot. I don't have high expectations for Oklahoma's defense, so it needs the offense to put up a lot of points to win enough games for a Big 12 title.

That's up to the quarterback spot, whether it's Blake Bell or Trevor Knight or Kendal Thompson.

The Sooners received a lot of these votes based on reputation, which is part of the luxury of winning eight Big 12 titles since 2000. Based on that, they deserve the votes. But Oklahoma is more of an unknown than than any team we've looked at, and it's going to take a few games before we have any idea if it is a Big 12 contender.

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