Save for allowing a couple long kick returns, missing a couple extra points and giving up a couple big screen passes, Oklahoma has been flawless a fourth of the way into the season. So far, nobody can block Gerald McCoy, nobody can cover Ryan Broyles, and Sam Bradford, ridiculously, has nearly as many touchdown passes (12) as he does incompletions (17). Clearly, this team possesses all the elements needed to win a third consecutive Big 12 title and challenge Southern California and the winner of the SEC bonanza for national title consideration. But make no mistake, the toughest tests lie ahead. A schedule that seemed somewhat innocuous at the season's beginning no longer seems so benign heading into OU's off week. The Sooners' remaining opponents are a combined 21-3, underscoring the overall strength of the Big 12. That doesn't even include Big 12 North favorite Missouri, which has crept into the top 5 and leads the nation in scoring at 57.7 points per game. Here's a breakdown of OU's improved remaining schedule: •Sept. 27: TCU (3-0) The Horned Frogs trounced a decent Stanford team 31-14 over the weekend and could challenge Brigham Young for the Mountain West title. Gary Patterson's teams are usually stalwarts defensively, and this team appears to be no different. •Oct. 4: at Baylor (2-1) Freshman quarterback Robert Griffin and first-year coach Art Briles have the Bears talking bowl game after a 45-17 victory over Washington State. In high school, Griffin came within one-hundredth of a second of tying the national prep record in the 300-meter hurdles. •Oct. 11: No. 7 Texas (2-0) A sturdy offensive line has done wonders for quarterback Colt McCoy, who resembles his freshman self after a sophomore slump. This is Texas' best squad since the Vince Young title team of 2005. •Oct. 18: No. 19 Kansas (2-1) The Jayhawks had South Florida down and out, but couldn't hold onto a 20-3 first-half lead. Still, with Todd Reesing at quarterback and Mark Mangino on the sideline, KU remains a force to be reckoned with. •Oct. 25: at Kansas State (2-0) The Manhattan juco project is working well thus far, even though Tennessee-Chattanooga has played a far tougher schedule than the Wildcats. Still, K-State is a dangerous team — just ask Texas. •Nov. 1: Nebraska (3-0) Already, the Cornhuskers are vastly improved defensively under Bo Pelini. Winning in Norman is unlikely, but it's a safe bet Nebraska won't give up 76. •Nov. 8: at Texas A&M (1-1) The Aggies are terrible under first-year coach Mike Sherman, having dropped the opener to Arkansas State. Still, College Station hasn't been kind to the Sooners over the years. •Nov. 22: No. 11 Texas Tech (3-0) Quarterback Graham Harrell will lead the nation in passing yards, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree will lead the nation in receiving. Slowing them down will be a big challenge for the Sooner defense. •Nov. 29: at Oklahoma State (3-0) The Triplets are back in Stillwater with quarterback Zac Robinson, running back Kendall Hunter and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Because of its location, this could end up being OU's toughest regular-season game.
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, left, slaps hands with OU fans after Saturday's victory. Bradford and the Sooners are 3-0, but a tough road lies ahead. by NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN