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Photo by: National Underclassmen Football Combine

Big 12 Conference - Bowl Game Preview: #14 Oklahoma vs Iowa

Courtesy: Ryan Maloney / National Underclassmen Combine
          Release: December 29, 2011
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Insight Bowl
December 30, 2011, 10pm EST
Iowa (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten)
Oklahoma (9-3, 6-3 Big 12)

When you are ranked the number one team in the nation in the pre-season, chances are you are not expecting to be playing in the Insight Bowl come December 30th. You at least expect to land a bowl game spot playing in January.

If the Oklahoma Sooners, ranked number one in the pre-season were thinking title game or any other game in January - they were sorely mistaken.

While the Sooners were able to reel off a six game win streak to start 2011, they no sooner ran into a Texas Tech Red Raiders team who brought them down to earth with a surprising 41-38 victory in week seven. While Oklahoma was able to dominate many opponents such as Tulsa, Ball State and Kansas (then again, who couldn't dominate Kansas in 2011), when the Sooners were forced to face off against a quality opponent like Oklahoma State, Baylor or even Texas Tech, their weaknesses were exposed and their final ranking of #14 nationally suddenly looks much more appropriate than the number one ranking given to them back in August.

Pre-season rankings are handed out. Final rankings are earned and while individual Sooners had outstanding seasons, as a team they did not do enough to live up to expectations.

Quarterback, Landry Jones threw for 4,302 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 63.1% of his passes. Wide receiver, Ryan Broyles was the recipient of over a quarter of those yards as his 2011 season was arguably the best by any receiver in college football. Broyles reeled in 1,157 yards on 83 receptions. His YAC was one of the best in the nation as he averaged 13.9 yards per reception, cashing 10 of those in for touchdowns. Broyles time in Sooners maroon and white has run its course as the senior will graduate in the Spring. However, Jones will be back and will need to rely on a whole new favorite target and wide receiver core. It will have a great amount of effect on whether the Sooners are even ranked in the top 10, never mind number one in next Summer's pre-season rankings.

It is always difficult to win a national championship yet to take a number one ranking a run the gammon wire to wire is nearly impossible. Oklahoma fell short, yet will have their eyes on the prize in the Big 12 yet again in 2012 as power houses Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State will also be losing key talent next season.

If the Sooners can adjust the best, they will benefit in what should be an exciting season of Big 12 football in 2012, yet again.



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