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FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 file photo, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley watches quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during an NCAA college football practice in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts is cramming as he prepares for his only year with the Sooners. Before transferring from Alabama, he played in three national title games. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 file photo, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley watches quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during an NCAA college football practice in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts is cramming as he prepares for his only year with the Sooners. Before transferring from Alabama, he played in three national title games. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)|Associated Press
NCAAF

AAC vs Big 12 college football Sunday: Geier picks the Houston Cougars at Oklahoma Sooners

Game is 7:30 pm EDT Sunday.

Ben Geier

Ben Geier

Houston @ 4 Oklahoma (-23), 7:30 pm EST on ABC

There are two excellent offensive-minded head coaches on the sideline Sunday night.

Last season, Lincoln Riley led the Sooners to have the top offense in the nation averaging 48.4 PPG. On the other side, newly hired coach Dana Holgorsen makes his return to Houston after having left a P5 school in West Virginia. It's a rare sight to see a head coach from a P5 school leave for a school in the group of five.

Riley could be considered one of the most NFL-ready coaches. He's managed to not only produce the nation's top offense but also has done it with transfer quarterbacks each year. This season is no different as the starter will be senior Jalen Hurts, coming over from Alabama after losing the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa in 2018. Hurts is mainly known as a runner, but Riley developed similar players like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray into top picks in the NFL Draft. Hurts' prime target in the air will be Junior Ceedee Lamb (WR) who is likely the second-best wide receiver in college football. The Sooners hope to make some strides on defense under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch (former co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State).

Last season, the Houston Cougars fired former head coach Major Applewhite after an abysmal defense gave up 37.2. PPG. The Cougars also lost four of their last five games after having started 6-1. Senior D'Eriq King (QB) returns after tearing his ACL towards the end of 2018. King is another fantastic dual-threat quarterback who has thrown for 36 TDs, rushed for 14 TDS, and produced over 3,500 yards of total offense. King will look forward to reuniting with his top target redshirt junior Marquez Stevenson (WR) who went for over 1,000 yards receiving. Holgorsen brings over new defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen, the former defensive coordinator/LB coach for Arkansas State.

Both teams are going to be considered legitimate contenders in their conferences. However, both defenses need to see drastic improvement. The Sooners have playmakers like Junior Kenneth Murray (LB). We've just yet to see what the Cougars have on defense. Also, King probably needs a week or two as he hasn't played football in nearly a year.

Pick: Oklahoma (-23)

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