NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops insisted he doesn't sit around thinking about his 2012 team's bowl fate, which was redirected from the Sugar to the Cotton Bowl by forces beyond the Sooners' control.
But Stoops does believe strength of schedule should — as it's soon expected to — play a bigger role in determining college football's postseason.
With schedules like the one Oklahoma has in front of it for 2013, the Sooners would certainly increase the likelihood of their inclusion in the looming four-team playoff, set to begin with the 2014-15 season.
The Sooners open next season at home Aug. 31 against Louisiana-Monroe, which was 8-5 last season. Oklahoma's other 2013 nonconference games are against Tulsa, which beat Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl, and at Notre Dame, which is fresh off a BCS national-title game appearance.
Nine of the Big 12 Conference's 10 teams played in 2012-13 bowl games, which leaves Kansas — which hosts Oklahoma on Oct. 19 — as the Sooners' only 2013 opponent that failed to reach a bowl game last season.
“It doesn't get any easier,” Stoops said of next year's schedule. “But, so be it.”
The four-team playoff's participating squads will be chosen by a selection committee, which is expected to heavily weigh strength of schedule in their decisions.
Oklahoma lost 41-13 to Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, but early bowl projections had the Sooners facing Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
MAC champion Northern Illinois, though, rose into the BCS Standings' top 16, ensuring its automatic BCS berth and kicking the Sooners out of the BCS party. The overmatched Huskies lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, and Louisville routed Florida in the Sugar Bowl.