This article is part of our Summer Stock series, a three-week look at the programs generating the most buzz coming out of spring practice.
There is little doubt in most minds heading into the 2011 football season. The Oklahoma Sooners are one of the, if not the, favorites to win the national championship. The team boasts 15 returning starters, eight on offense and seven on defense. It has a star quarterback with a close on-the-field relationship with an All-American receiver and a coach who constantly reloads his group with recruiting talent.
So how do the Sooners combat the hype? The same way they do every year when prognosticators pick them to win it all: by working on all facets of the game.
"What needs to improve the most? Everything," head coach Bob Stoops said. "We're never satisfied."
The proof of the program's strength is in the numbers. In Football Outsiders' five-year efficiency metric, a strong indicator of next-season success, the Sooners rank sixth overall. In other words, the stats back up the fact that the Sooners are justified in being on the (very) short list of national title contenders.