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For the 4 teams playing in the college football playoffs, there is some time to rest, heal up, and get ready for the battles that lie ahead. The Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl, which serve as the playoff semi-finals, are still a little over 3 weeks away, which gives players and coaches plenty of time to put together a winning formula. Of the 4 teams involved, it is perhaps the Oklahoma Sooners that have the toughest task ahead of them. They will be in the Orange Bowl against the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide, and they are already in as a double-digit underdog. Can the Sooners spring the big upset and move on? Let’s take a closer look.

Sooners Must Play to Their Strengths

If you are looking at the strengths of this football team, look no further than the offense. The Sooners were an offensive juggernaut in the regular season, scoring just shy of 50 PPG. While it was QB Kyler Murray, a Heisman Finalist, who got most of the plaudits, it is worth remembering that this Sooners team averaged over 350 YPG on the ground to go with the 320-plus YPG they managed through the air. Speaking of Murray, he is going to be more invested than most in winning a title, as this will be his only year as a starter for the Sooners, with the MLB being his next stop after this season. The window of opportunity may close for Oklahoma after that, so look for them to go all out to win.

College Football: Oklahoma Sooners Review to Win Orange Bowl Oklahoma-Sooners_Kyler-Murray

Defense Needs to Step Up

Heading into decision day last Sunday, there were a lot of folks calling for Georgia to beat the #4 spot ahead of Oklahoma. The feeling there was that despite having 1 more loss on the season, the Bulldogs were a more well-rounded team than the Sooners. The biggest strike against Oklahoma was their defense, which surrendered a staggering 32 PPG, and who looked particularly vulnerable through the air. It would be easy to write this defensive unit off, but they showed some signs of life in the Big 12 Championship Game win over Texas last weekend. Things looked rough early on, but the defense steadied in the second half and really limited what the Longhorns were able to do. Against Alabama, it is going to need to be a complete game effort.

College Football: Oklahoma Sooners Review to Win Orange Bowl Oklahoma-Sooners_Caleb-Kelly

Follow the Georgia Blueprint

Yes, the Georgia Bulldogs lost the SEC Championship Game against Alabama, but they came as close as anyone has to beat the champions this season. In fact, Georgia looked to be in control for most of the game before falling late. So, how did the Bulldogs get themselves in a position to win? The number one reason was their ability to get pressure on Tua, which led to the Crimson Tide QB having his least effective game of the season. Secondly, they were very good at extending drives and killing the clock. The best way to slow down a great offense is to keep them off the field. Oklahoma needs timely turnovers, which Georgia had, and they also need to score on said change of possessions to have any shot at staying in this game and potentially winning it.

College Football: Oklahoma Sooners Review to Win Orange Bowl Oklahoma-Sooners_Auston-Kendall

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