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OU football: Sooners finish No. 7 in final AP poll

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Coach Lincoln Riley

Coach Lincoln Riley before the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington, Texas on Dec. 7.

After losing in the College Football Playoff for the third straight season, Oklahoma finished the season No. 7 in the final AP poll. 

The Sooners' (12-2, 8-1 Big 12) highlights from the season include a fifth straight Big 12 Championship victory, senior quarterback Jalen Hurts finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting and the defense improving dramatically in multiple statistical categories under first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. 

The season ended in a familiar way for coach Lincoln Riley, as the Sooners finished their season by getting eviscerated by national champion LSU in the Peach Bowl, 63-28. The loss marked the third straight season Riley's squad came up one game short from playing for a national title, as the Sooners lost to Georgia in the Rose Bowl, 54-48, in 2017-18 season and Alabama in the Orange Bowl, 45-34, in the 2018-19 season.

Several key players will be leaving the Sooners, including seniors like Hurts, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and cornerback Parnell Motley, among others. Along with the seniors, Riley is losing possibly his best offensive and defensive players in junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and junior linebacker Kenneth Murray, who declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Even with the losses, there's still plenty of reason for optimism going into 2020 for the Sooners. Much of that starts with rising sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler, who appeared in three games and was the top-ranked quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class, per Rivals.com. Rattler will have a group of blue chip rising sophomore receivers in Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease Jr. and Trejan Bridges, along with more experienced players like rising redshirt junior Charleston Rambo and UCLA transfer Theo Howard.

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Vic Reynolds is a journalism sophomore and The Daily's sports editor. Previously he served as a sports reporter covering OU's football, softball and wrestling teams.

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