2009 record: 8-5, 5-3 (3rd-tie in Big 12 South)
2009 bowl: Beat Stanford 31-27 in Sun
2009 final AP/coaches' ranking: Unranked
Coach: Bob Stoops (117-29, 12th year)
Offensive coordinator: Kevin Wilson (9th year)
Defensive coordinator: Brett Venables (12th year)
Returning offensive starters: 8
Returning defensive starters: 6
Location: Norman, Okla.
Stadium: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial (grass; 82,112)
Last league title: 2008
2010 schedule: [view]
2010 roster: [view]
2009 statistics: [view]
Offensive: Last season began with an ugly false start — quarterback Sam Bradford getting injured in the opening game — and it all unraveled quickly. But the Sooners never quit (losing four games by a total of 12 points) and finished with a kick. The performance by sophomore quarterback Landry Jones, who passed for a career-high 418 yards in the Sun Bowl victory against Stanford, made the offseason a lot more palatable. Bradford’s injury was unfortunate — although it didn’t affect his future as the NFL draft’s overall No. 1 pick — but it allowed for coming attractions by Jones. Now he seems entrenched, instead of being surrounded by question marks as Bradford’s replacement. Jones has reliable playmakers in senior running back DeMarco Murray (741 yards rushing, 41 receptions) and junior wide receiver Ryan Broyles (school-record 89 receptions, 15 touchdowns). The offensive line, plagued by injuries last season, remains the team’s X-factor.
Defensive: It will be difficult replacing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the third pick in the NFL draft, but the Sooners are far from depleted along the defensive line. Senior defensive end Jeremy Beal (19.5 sacks in the past two seasons, including 11 last year) is ready to assert himself as a superstar. McCoy’s replacement, sophomore Jarmarkus McFarland, was an enormously touted high-school player. Junior linebacker Travis Lewis is trying to lead Oklahoma in tackles for a third consecutive season. The secondary is in transition with two new starters at cornerback.
Specialists: Broyles, one of the nation’s top punt-return men, ranked third nationally with a 15.87-yard average. He scored on an 87-yard return against Oklahoma State. The punting is in good shape with sophomore Tress Way, who was third nationally (45.7-yard average). Three place-kickers combined to make 18 of 28 field-goal attempts last season. Sophomore Patrick O’Hara figures to be the primary kicker.
Coaching: Bob Stoops is coming off perhaps the most disappointing season in his Oklahoma tenure, although he was heartened by a strong finish (beating Oklahoma State 27-0, then Stanford in the Sun Bowl). He would love an opportunity to get back into the big game and erase the growing reputation of failure in the BCS bowls (five-game losing streak). Stoops continues to attract the top players to Oklahoma, an absolute necessity in the arms race against Texas.
Heisman hopefuls: No realistic hopes this season, although Jones is a name to watch for the future.
Next up: No. 5 Oregon
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
NBCSports.com's Preseason Top 25
Video: Football from NBC Sports
The Hype: How early is too early for sports scholarships?
There's a disturbing trend afoot in college football -- the offering of scholarships to middle school students. Despite never playing a down of high school football, Lindell Stone, an eighth-grader who already has an offer from UCLA, is the latest hot commodity. Michelle Beadle and Carolyn Manno discuss the absurdity of this trend and consider the possibility of scholarships for embryos
BCS title game
Pregame color, key plays and other moments from 'Bama's blowout win.
Check out the action from the postseason.
Check out which players were best of the best at each position.
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.