We’re showcasing the five teams that our College Sports Nation experts think will be contending for the national title come January of 2017. First up? The Oklahoma Sooners, led by redshirt junior, Baker Mayfield. If Mayfield replicates or exceeds his explosive 2015 campaign he should be a Heisman Trophy finalist and OU should be right in the thick of the national title conversation.

CSN_Preseason_Top_Five-(1)Oklahoma’s head coach, Bob Stoops, has seen it all during his tenure in Norman. 17 years, 179 wins and a national championship to his name and yet he’s still impressed with what he sees in Baker Mayfield, his signall caller. As Mayfield goes, so will the Sooners and Stoops seems fully aware of that and is very excited about his quarterback’s progress now that he’s been the full-time starter for an entire season and change versus last year when Baker had just been given the nod to start.

What to expect when you’re expecting a national title run

The Sooners have three early season challenges that will simultaneously set the tone for their potential title run and test the team’s mettle. On college football’s opening weekend is a nasty road trip to face the Houston Cougars’ dizzying offense on the Space Coast. Two weeks after that? OU hosts the team just above them in the College Sports Nation preseason top 5: Ohio State. The Buckeyes will have a lot to prove as they break in a lot of new faces in one of the most hostile road venues imaginable. Still, Bob Stoops has only lost five games ever at Memorial Stadium, a fact he’ll surely remind his players of. Two weeks after the tilt against the Buckeyes? The Sooners visit TCU in a conference matchup that will do much to determine the Big 12 favorite, as well as give some clarity on the national front. If Oklahoma can tip-toe through this early minefield, they’ll be in a great position to advance to the playoffs, but that’s a big “if.”

College Sports Nation’s Experts Analysis

College Sports Nation just wrapped up their Campus Tour and when CSN’s own Rick Neuheisel and Andy Staples dropped by practice down in Norman, the fellas were positively gushing about everything related to the Crimson and Cream.

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