Oklahoma Sooners 2016 Football Schedule and Analysis

The Sooners will face Houston and Ohio State before navigating their nine-game Big 12 slate

Oklahoma enters the 2016 season as one of the favorites to make it back to the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row. To do so, head coach Bob Stoops will need to find players to replace studs such as wide receiver Sterling Shepard, cornerback Zack Sanchez and linebacker Eric Striker.

 

Related: Oklahoma Sooners 2016 Spring Football Preview

 

He also will need his team to navigate one of the toughest schedules in college football. In addition to the Big 12’s typically daunting nine-game slate, Stoops and OU athletic director Joe Castiglione have lined up a rough group of non-conference games that include a perennial power and one of the best mid-major programs in the country.

 

If the Sooners do find their way back into college football’s final four, they will have earned it.

 

Oklahoma Sooners 2016 Schedule

 

Byes: Week 4, 13

 

Wk Opp. Date Location
1.

Sept. 3

12 PM ET

ABC

Houston, TX

No easing into the season for the Sooners this time around as they take on fast-rising Houston in the season opener. The Cougars and star quarterback Greg Ward Jr. will be looking to knock off their second major power in a row, building off of a season-ending Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl blowout of Florida State in December. I can’t imagine Stoops and Castiglione had this kind of test in mind when they put this game on the docket, but it should help keep the team sharp through fall camp.

2.

Sept. 10

7 PM ET

FS OK

Norman, OK

A date with the Warhawks in the home opener gives OU one of the few cakewalks in this year’s schedule. The last meeting between these two was a 34-0 rout in OU’s favor. If the Sooners don’t massacre ULM, something will have gone very, very wrong for Stoops’ squad.

3.

Sept. 17

7:30 PM ET

FOX

Norman, OK

In the showcase game of OU’s season, the Buckeyes travel to Owen Field for the first installment of a home-and-home series with the Sooners. Even with a gaggle of attractive matchups in week three, this will be one of the marquee games of the day, if not the season. A win here for either team has the dual effect of knocking off a potential Playoff participant and putting a headline win on the resume.

5. Oct. 1 Fort Worth, TX

After a well-deserved week off, Big 12 play kicks off for the Sooners with a trip to TCU. The Horned Frogs have given Stoops’ teams fits ever since Gary Patterson became head coach and nearly ruined OU’s Playoff aspirations a year ago. By the end of the season, this game could ultimately determine the Big 12 crown.

6. Oct. 8 Dallas, TX

Revenge game. Historically, the Red River Shootout tends to run in streaks. The last three editions have belonged to the Longhorns, which won two and clearly outplayed the Sooners in the third. Stoops needs to figure out how to keep his team focused on a game that it has stumbled through lately.

7. Oct. 15 Norman, OK

No team better exemplifies the loss of OU’s vaunted home-field advantage than the Wildcats, who have won two consecutive games on the Sooners’ turf. K-State will enter the game still smarting from the whooping administered by OU last season and sporting what is sure to be a fantastic game plan from Bill Snyder. If the Sooners’ minds are still in the Cotton Bowl, watch out.

8. Oct. 22 Lubbock, TX

The Big 12’s round-robin scheduling format makes rough stretches like this one close to an inevitability. Ending this four-game stretch in one of the conference’s wilder venues only adds to the challenge. If the Red Raiders beat OU, it will give Kliff Kingsbury some needed goodwill for later in the season when his job status could be in jeopardy.

9. Oct. 29 Norman, OK

KU football won’t be quite the laughing stock it was a year ago, but this game still looks like a laugher. OU’s second-stringers should be ready to rock.

10.

Nov. 3

7:30 PM ET

ESPN

Ames, IA

The Sooners will take the field for their ninth game of the season in the unfamiliar position of playing on a Thursday night. OU’s not accustomed to a short turnaround, which could give the coaching staff problems when it comes to preparing a game plan.

11. Nov. 12 Norman, OK

The upside of playing on Thursday the week before is that it gives everyone a couple of extra days to prepare for the Bears. Baylor stomped OU the last time the two teams squared off in Norman, but the Sooners exacted their revenge last season. Can the visitors continue to hold serve? Baylor and its high-octane offense will be raring to find out.

12. Nov. 19 Morgantown, WV

Since joining the Big 12, the Mountaineers have failed to get over the OU hump. This might be the year they pull it off, drawing a potentially flat group of Sooners in Morgantown. Much like Kingsbury, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen could use a signature win like this to enhance his job security.

14. Dec. 3 Norman, OK

Once again, Bedlam will be played a week after Thanksgiving. The move should help keep the Big 12 near the forefront of the national conversation if either squad has a shot at earning a Playoff bid. OSU will want payback for the brutal beating dished out by the Sooners last season in what was the de facto Big 12 title game.

 

— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.

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