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Oklahoma football: Sooners keep up their strength of schedule

OU is consistently scheduling opponents that are ranked among college football’s winningest programs.
By Cody Stavenhagen, Staff Writer Published: July 15, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma's Damien Williams (26) tries to get past Notre Dame's Bennett Jackson (2) in the first quarter during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Damien Williams (26) tries to get past Notre Dame's Bennett Jackson (2) in the first quarter during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma Sooners’ future nonconference lineup has become a checklist of the best programs in college football history.

OU added Michigan to that list Monday, announcing a home-and-home series with the Wolverines in 2025 and 2026.

Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione called it a commitment “to playing games that celebrate the history and excitement of college football.”

It’s a commitment to confidence. The Sooners aren’t afraid of playing the big boys.

It also commitment to strategy. OU thinks building tough schedules will help pave the path to national championships.

But it’s really about pride.

Scan the list of college football’s winningest programs — OU is going after them all.

The Sooners play Tennessee, No. 11 in all-time wins, in 2014 and 2015.

In ’16 and ’17, OU plays Ohio State, No. 6 all-time. In 2018 and 2019, it plays UCLA — not the most prestigious program, but no slouch.

The Sooners play Army in 2018 and go to West Point in 2020.

Then it’s back to the national powers.

No. 5 Nebraska in 2021 and 2022. Now No. 1 Michigan in 2025 and 2026. And OU and LSU are trying to reschedule a home-and-home previously set for 2018 and 2019.

The Sooners faced No. 4 Notre Dame in 2012 and 2013, and beat No. 8 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

They’ve also played No. 3 Texas a time or two over the years.

So from 2013-2025, OU, which is No. 7 in all-time wins, will have played eight of the other top 15 teams in history. Keep in mind Ivy League teams Yale, Harvard, Penn and Princeton make up four of the remaining teams on the list. So the Sooners have checked off all the other opponents besides USC and Georgia.

That’s unprecedented.

No school in the Big 12 can compare. TCU has slated future games against Minnesota, Arkansas and Ohio State. Texas will play Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Maryland before 2023.

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