Oklahoma Football: What We Can Take Away From the 2017 Big 12 Schedule
A schedule is a schedule, right? As Bob Stoops likes to say, they schedule the games and we go play them. We’ve pulled out some of the notable nuances of the new Big 12 schedule for 2017, from the Oklahoma football perspective.
Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; A general view of an end zone marker prior to the game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
The biggest change, of course, is the move of the Bedlam game to the first weekend in November instead of the final weekend of the regular season. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have played in the regular-season finale in 11 of the past 12 seasons, and in a number of those years, the divisional or conference champion was determined by the outcome of the annual Bedlam game.
That was the big reason for moving the Oklahoma State back in the schedule, especially with the Big 12 championship game returning in 2017. The Sooners played in the last Big 12 championship game, defeating Nebraska 23-20 in 2010, and participated in eight of the 15 Big 12 championships, winning seven times, before the game was discontinued.
The Sooners will play seven home games next season and will be at home at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for five of their nine Big 12 games.
After the nonconference game at Ohio State on Sept. 9, OU’s second game of the 2017 season, the Sooners do not go back on the road until the Red River Showdown with Texas in Dallas on Oct. 14. In between is a nonconference home game with Tulane on Sept. 16, followed back-to-back home games against Big 12 opponents (Baylor and Iowa State) book-ending a bye weekend on Sept. 30.
Oklahoma’s nonconference slate next season won’t be near as daunting as the first three games in 2016. The game scheduled with Ohio State, which is all but certain to be ranked in the top 10, if not higher, when the Buckeyes host the Sooners, more than makes up for the two other non-con games on the OU schedule as far as strength of schedule is concerned.
The combined record of the three teams Oklahoma opened the 2016 season against (Houston, Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio State) was 27-6 the year before. The Sooners three opponents to begin the 2017 season, by contrast, were a combined 19-17 this season.
The past two seasons, OU has played Baylor as part of a critical three-game swing to end the regular-season schedule. In 2017, the Sooners and Bears will get together in the very first weekend of conference play, on Sept. 23.
Oklahoma travels to Kansas State (Oct. 21) the week after the Red River Showdown with Texas. The last time the Sooners played at K-State the week after the Texas game was in 2015. The Sooners were upset by Texas, 24-17, but rebounded the next week for a 55-0 whitewashing of the Wildcats in Manhattan.
The Oklahoma 2017 schedule is fairly balanced in terms of major conference games. The Sooners are at home against TCU and West Virginia, but must go on the road to play Baylor and Oklahoma State, and playing Kansas State in Manhattan is never an easy task.
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