Oklahoma football preview: Sooners 2017 schedule, roster and three things to watch

One NFL general manager thinks Baker Mayfield's recent behavior will hurt him come draft time: "You want emotion from your quarterback, but you don’t want emotional instability."

The Oklahoma Sooners are poised for a run at a third consecutive Big 12 championship, but the goals for this school should be higher heading into the 2017 season.

Bob Stoops enters his 19th season with another team that could make a run at the College Football Playoff. Heisman Trophy contender Baker Mayfield's decision to stay in school should help with that, and Oklahoma can build off an impressive 35-19 victory against Auburn in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The Sooners are ranked No. 6 in Sporting News' Way-Too-Early Top 25, and here's a preview of Oklahoma's 2017 schedule, roster and biggest questions entering the season.

When is Oklahoma's spring game?

Oklahoma's spring game is at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla.

2017 Oklahoma football schedule

Sept. 2: vs. UTEP

Sept. 9: at Ohio State

Sept. 16: vs. Tulane

Sept. 23: at Baylor

Sept. 30: BYE

Oct. 7: vs. Iowa State

Oct. 14: vs. Texas (Dallas)

Oct. 21: at Kansas State

Oct. 28: vs. Texas Tech

Nov. 4: at Oklahoma State

Nov. 11: vs. TCU

Nov. 18: at Kansas

Nov. 25: vs. West Virginia

Dec. 2: Big 12 championship game

2017 Oklahoma recruiting class

Oklahoma's recruiting class had a composite rank of No. 7 across four major recruiting sites, and Receivers CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo and four-star running backs Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon are some of the playmakers Stoops brought in with this class that could contribute soon.

2017 Oklahoma roster

Oklahoma's roster will be updated in the spring and summer here.

Three things to watch

1. Where does the run game pick up?

Oklahoma has to replace two 1,000-yard running back in Samaje Perine (1,060 yards, 12 TDs) and Joe Mixon (1,274 yards, 10 TDs). Abdul Adams averaged 5.3 yards per carry in limited action last season, and junior college transfer Marcelias Sutton is on campus. It will be interesting to see if Brooks or Sermon can fit into that mix.

2. Who is Mayfield's go-to guy?

Heisman finalist Dede Westbrook leaves after putting 1,524 yards and 17 TDs last season. Mark Andrews caught seven TDs for the second straight season and is a mismatch in the red zone. Nick Basquine, Jeffery Mead, Jordan Smallwood, Dahu Green and A.D. Miller are among the returners in the mix. Another junior college receiver in Marquise Brown could play, and Lamb and Rambo also will get their chance to make an early impact. It's going to come down to who Mayfield can trust, and some of that starts in the spring.

3. Do the Sooners have a playoff defense?

Oklahoma allowed 28.8 points per game last season, which ranked 69th in the FBS. The Sooners are moving back to a four-man defensive front, and that should help the unit get more pressure. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led Oklahoma with nine sacks last season, no other player had three sacks. The Sooners need to force more turnovers after generating just 17 in 2016.


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