If Dillon Gabriel plays like the best QB in the Big 12, the Oklahoma Sooners will be a College Football Playoff contender. In the past, the Sooners have needed an 11-1 record and a conference title to get into the playoff, and that will almost definitely be the case this season.
A common narrative after Lincoln Riley’s departure and the hiring of Brent Venables was that OU would lose a step offensively.
Enter Jeff Lebby and a QB that already knows his offense, Dillon Gabriel.
Gabriel’s knowledge of Lebby’s system and leadership give the Sooners the QB they need to at least be in the hunt for a return to the College Football Playoff.
Bill Connelly of ESPN agrees, naming Gabriel the sixth most important player in the College Football Playoff race.
Gabriel ranks higher on this list than the man he is replacing, primarily because OU’s overall roster is readier for a title swing than USC’s. He reunites with former UCF offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, and if his accuracy and mastery of high tempo translate against a strong set of Big 12 defenses, the Sooners are likely conference title favorites.
Gabriel inherits a lovely skill corps that features receivers Marvin Mims, Theo Wease and LV Bunkley-Shelton (an Arizona State transfer), running back Eric Gray, and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh almost always fields an excellent offensive front. He is set up to succeed. – Connelly, ESPN
That first sentence is fun, isn’t it?
Football, particularly in the Big 12, is a quarterback’s game, and it will be for a very long time.
Gabriel has a very low floor, but if he’s got another gear that we haven’t seen yet, the Sooners are going to be a dangerous football team.
He has the tools to lead the Sooners back to the playoff, but can he get them there?
How did Big 12 quarterbacks stack up in Athlon Sports 1-131 rankings for 2022?
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