Oklahoma’s slate is set for 2021, and while of course there were no surprises on who the Sooners were played, the layout brings some interesting notes to breakdown.
Does the order truly matter? Probably not, but I’m bored and semi-useless storylines are fun.
Thanksgiving Bedlam is Back
For just the second time since 2015, Bedlam returns to its semi-traditional slot as a Thanksgiving weekend game tilt, once again in Stillwater. The Pokes look to be down in 2021, but this will inevitably be a night game in Stillwater and more different than it should be.
While I personally wish the Big 12 and Big Ten would have decided to get weird with it and put OU-Nebraska here instead (the way the football gods intended), I also realize that is way too much to ask for in a non-conference game. Speaking of which…
Tulane Highlights Non-Conference Season
Before the mob gets at me for this header, let me start by saying: I love OU-Nebraska. The tradition, the programs, and the profound respect between the two universities makes this game truly unique and deeply missed in this sport. Tulane might legitimately be a better team.
No knocks against the decision to play the Huskers: Nebraska sunk its own ship football quality wise and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century was a must. Even two years ago, this game had promise with the return of Scott Frost, but they aren’t ready to compete yet.
On the service, Tulane’s 6-6 record makes the Green Wave look like a non-challenge, nothing more than an excuse for OU fans to visit New Orleans. However, nearly half those losses came by a single possession, two of them in overtime against SMU and Tulsa, two of the better AAC teams. Tulane isn’t on OU’s level, but the road season opener is absolutely the tougher matchup.
Rounding out the non-con schedule is a garbage Western Carolina game, which is an incredibly frustrating move given that we all knew the state of Nebraska and Tulane at the time of its scheduling. Just put some G5 team here and I’m happy. Instead, we get another made for PPV game.
Return of The Trap
Of course Oklahoma’s trip to Manhattan had to occur a week before Texas. Of course!
After last season’s shocking home loss to the Wildcats transformed the 2019 matchup from a blip to a losing streak, I highly doubt the Sooners will overlook K-State. With that being said, the shine from the Golden Hat has proven to be blinding. 30% of Oklahoma’s conference losses since 2014 have taken place the week before Texas.
It isn’t just the timing: it’s time to recognize K-State as a legitimate heel to Oklahoma. The Wildcats have more wins against Oklahoma than any other team since the Big 12 entered round robin play. Yes, even counting Texas.
It isn’t just history to be wary of: Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman has proven to have brought his giant killer mentality with him from Fargo as the first coach to win his first two meetings with Oklahoma since Les Miles won his program first two Bedlam games in 2001 and 2002.
The nerves will be real on October 2nd.
Perfectly Balanced, As All Schedules Should Be
Quick: when was the last time OU played two October home games in Norman
The answer: 2017! That’s a long time that Oklahoma fans have been without a stretch of true Fall weather football at home.
It’s been a long time since OU has had a schedule this balanced between road and home games. Aside from the usual home game heavy September run and the @K-State/OU-Texas combo, this year’s schedule alternates between home and away quite nicely. This is a delightful improvement over the 42 day stretch between home games last season, a near program record.
The Big Ticket
Despite having a tepid home slate at best competition wise, it is safe to say the best single matchup of the season will be taking place in Norman.
With Matt Campbell, Brock Purdy, Breece Hall and Chalie Kolar all back together in Ames next season, how could Iowa State not be the game of the year? The Cyclones brought the gang back for one last run at the Big 12 title and potential Playoff glory. It is only fitting that this battle takes place on the second to last game of the Big 12 season in Championship November.
This game may be a prequel for another Big 12 rematch, but until then, it is quite possibly the match of the season for the Big 12.