ESPN Insider's "20 teams that can win it all" series is previewing each of the top 20 teams in Brian Fremeau's five-year program metric, with the help of ESPN's Stats & Information group (for a full explanation and links to all of the previews as they are published, click here). This is the entry for Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Sooners opened the 2011 season as the preseason No. 1 team with serious championship aspirations. For a while, the Sooners played the part. They knocked off fifth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee, then routed Texas at the Cotton Bowl. Yet by November, injuries and off-the-field problems rendered OU a shell of its former self. The Sooners dropped two of their last three Big 12 games, including a humbling 34-point loss to rival Oklahoma State.
But in January, quarterback Landry Jones announced he would return for his senior season. Then a few days later, coach Bob Stoops hired back his brother Mike Stoops to turn around a defense that ranked No. 55 nationally in yards allowed. Those two moves, coupled with the return of seven starters on either side of the ball, have the folks in Norman talking title run again.