Oklahoma football: 3 biggest offseason questions facing Sooners in 2021

Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooners. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooners. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooners
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma Sooners. (Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY NETWORK) /

1. Is Spencer Rattler the presumptive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy?

If you had to put money on a team and a position group to have as a Heisman Trophy finalist, you would be hard-pressed to go with anything other than the Oklahoma quarterback. Under Riley’s tutelage, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray won back-to-back Heismans in 2017 and 2018, with Jalen Hurts finishing as runner-up in 2019. Could Rattler bring home the hardware in 2021?

Outside of Mayfield in 2017 and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in 2014, recent Heisman winners have come largely out of nowhere. Murray had never been a full-time starter prior to 2018. Joe Burrow was seen as the fourth-best SEC quarterback entering 2019. And not until DeVonta Smith did we think a wide receiver could win the Heisman in the 21st century. Rattler is not a lock to win it.

The great news for Rattler is he plays for a serious playoff contender in Oklahoma, a team that regularly creates finalists from the quarterback position and often ends up winning Heisman Trophies. However, other candidates will emerge now that Smith, Justin Fields, Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Trask have all decided to turn pro. Therefore, Rattler is the early leader for it.

So what will it take for Rattler to win Oklahoma another Heisman? He must emerge as the undisputed best player in the Big 12, taking that honor away from Iowa State’s Hall with one perfect passing progression at a time. He must also hold off the likes of Daniels, Howell, Purdy, Uiagalelei and Young from overtaking him in the quarterbacking hierarchy. He must earn his place.

Overall, Oklahoma’s offseason questions are not as hard-hitting as other teams in the Power 5. The Sooners should win somewhere between 10 and 11 regular-season games. If they get to Arlington, they will be favored to win the conference title bout and at the very least play in the Sugar Bowl. However, we are all wondering if Oklahoma has what it takes to take the next step.

How good can the 2021 Sooners be with Rattler in his second season as the starting quarterback?

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