Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 in ESPN's Top 25 post-spring power rankings heading into the 2021 season.
The Sooners, who are followed by Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State in ESPN's top five, return 16 starters from 2020. Oklahoma finished the season 9-2 overall with a Big 12 championship and Cotton Bowl win.
"OU has more than enough playmakers on offense and its defense might be just good enough to do it," ESPN senior writer Mark Schlabach wrote, "especially with a more-than-manageable nonconference schedule."
Oklahoma kickstarts its season with a Sept. 4 trip to New Orleans to face Tulane. Afterward, the Sooners welcome Western Carolina and Nebraska to Norman in back-to-back home bouts.
OU's Big 12 schedule consists of road trips to Kansas State, Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma State, and home games against West Virginia, TCU, Texas Tech and Iowa State. Oklahoma's annual Red River Showdown matchup with Texas is set for Oct. 9 in Dallas.
"The Sooners have offered us a glimpse of what the FBS might look like in an everybody-can-transfer world," Schlabach wrote. "Since the end of last season, Riley deftly added six FBS transfers, including three players from Tennessee: running back Eric Gray, offensive tackle Wanya Morris and defensive back Key Lawrence. Each of the former Vols might start for OU this coming season."
Only two other Big 12 teams joined OU in ESPN's power rankings, as the Cyclones came in at No. 6 and the Longhorns were ranked at No. 22.