NORMAN — When this year's Big 12 football schedule was released, Oklahoma's toughest stretch seemed to be early in the season.
The Sooners traveled to Notre Dame on Sept. 28, followed by back-to-back Big 12 games against TCU and Texas.
When those games rolled around, though, the Fighting Irish had already dropped a game and TCU and Texas had lost two each.
Next season, the Sooners start Big 12 play with the same three teams as in 2013 — West Virginia, TCU and Texas.
The Big 12 schedule was released Tuesday by the league and includes Oklahoma home games against Kansas State, Baylor, Kansas and Oklahoma State and road games at West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State and Texas Tech.
The Longhorns could have another coach next season, and TCU and West Virginia will be looking to bounce back from disappointing seasons, although the Mountaineers' win over the Horned Frogs last week kept West Virginia's bowl hopes alive.
Here are five other highlights of OU's 2014 schedule:
HIT THE ROAD
The Sooners will play three Big 12 games away from Norman before their home conference opener Oct. 18 against Kansas State.
Oklahoma will have already played three Big 12 games by that point — Sept. 27 at West Virginia, Oct. 4 at TCU and Oct. 11 against Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
Since the Big 12's inception, the Sooners have never played three conference games before their first home game against a conference opponent.
They've had their Big 12 home opener later once — Oct. 19, 2002, against Iowa State. This will be the fourth time they've opened Big 12 play on Oct. 18.
The Sooners also play at Tulsa in their final nonconference game Sept. 20, meaning OU will go more than a month between home games for the first time in the same season since 1999 and just the 10th time in the last 100 years.