Sooner football schedule full of landmines
Studying the 2009 Big 12 Conference football schedule, I was struck by just how difficult OU’s assignment is.
The Sooners play seven games I would term losable. That’s seven opponents that would seem to have a legit chance to beat Oklahoma. Some would need to play really well, some would need some help from OU and some will stand toe-to-toe with the Sooners.
Some can dream about impossible upsets, but the truth is, Idaho State, Tulsa, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Baylor are just not physically able to compete with OU right now. But that leaves seven opponents that can at least hang in there: BYU, Miami, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech and OSU.
Of those seven foes, only one comes to Norman. That’s OSU for Bedlam. The other six games are away from Norman — Brigham Young and Texas in Greater Dallas, the others on the road, starting with Miami and then L-city cubed: Lawrence, Lincoln and Lubbock.
OU plays this rotation of the schedule once every four years, starting with 1997, so this is the fourth time since the formation of the Big 12. The Sooners never have swept the KU/Nebraska/Tech trio in road-game years. They went 1-2 in 1997 (beating Tech), 2-1 in 2001 (losing at Nebraska) and 1-1 in 2005 (losing at Tech and beating KU in Kansas City).
Texas and OSU have much easier road schedules. The Cowboys play only four games away from Stillwater: Texas A&M, Baylor, Iowa State and OU. Texas plays six games away from Austin: Wyoming, OU in Dallas, Missouri, OSU, Baylor and A&M.
The Sooners are virtually unbeatable at home: Bob Stoops is 60-2 at Owen Field, losing to OSU in ’01 and TCU in ’05. But away from Norman, the Sooners are 49-22 under Stoops, which while still being a fine record isn’t juggernaut status. Stoops is 26-8 in Big 12 road games (not counting neutral sites). That’s an excellent record but doesn’t indicate the Sooners will roll everyone no matter where they play.
One scheduling item in OU’s favor is that it plays neither of its chief rivals for the Big 12 South title — Texas and OSU — on their campus. OSU comes to Norman, and OU gets Texas in Dallas. OSU has to go to Norman, and Texas has to go to Stillwater.
But those six games away from Norman, six of the seven toughest games the Sooners play, will be landmines set to derail OU’s championship hopes.
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