With four of the Sooners’ first five games at home, they have a chance to get off to a fast start in 2018
Oklahoma overcame a daunting slate of games in 2017 to win the Big 12 and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. The squad has to regroup this fall with legendary quarterback Baker Mayfield and other key contributors gone to the NFL. The Sooners will have the good fortune of doing so with three non-conference games at home, along with some of their toughest foes from the Big 12.
Highlights of OU’s 2018 slate include a date with a Pac-12 foe, the annual Bedlam and Red River games, and a holiday trip to Morgantown.
Oklahoma Sooners 2018 Schedule
Bye: Week 7
Week 1 – Sept. 1 vs. Florida Atlantic (Norman, Okla.)
The Sooners’ beleaguered defense gets an early test when college football provocateur Lane Kiffin brings his Owls and their high-octane offense to Norman for the season opener. Ironically, Chris Robison, who was dismissed from OU prior to the start of his freshman season in 2017, will likely be making the first start of his career at quarterback for FAU.
Week 2 – Sept. 8 vs. UCLA (Norman, Okla.)
Speaking of scary offenses, Chip Kelly and the Bruins visit OU in the second week of the season. Seeing as it will only be Kelly’s second game as UCLA’s head coach, he could still be breaking in his team. Even so, the Bruins’ up-tempo, spread-to-run scheme will represent a major challenge.
Week 3 – Sept. 15 at Iowa State (Ames, Iowa)
OU lost its only regular season game in 2017 to the Cyclones. The Sooners will seek their revenge in the opening game of Big 12 play.
Week 4 – Sept. 22 vs. Army (Norman, Okla.)
The Sooners begin a home-and-home series with the Black Knights in 2018. OU will make its trip to West Point in 2020.
Week 5 – Sept. 29 vs. Baylor (Norman, Okla.)
Baylor stretched the Sooners to the limit in Waco last season before succumbing in a 49-41 shootout. If OU is looking ahead to its annual grudge match with Texas, an upset by head coach Matt Rhule’s young Bears won’t be out of the question.
Week 6 – Oct. 6 vs. Texas (Cotton Bowl - Dallas)
Behind the heroics of Baker Mayfield, OU held off a furious comeback effort from Texas in the Cotton Bowl last season. With the Heisman Trophy winner now off to the NFL, the Longhorns have to feel confident in their chances of getting back on the winning side of one of the best rivalries in the sport.
Week 8 – Oct. 20 at TCU (Fort Worth, Texas)
OU and TCU squared off twice last year, including a tilt in the reborn Big 12 Championship Game. That means the Sooners currently own a four-game winning streak over the Horned Frogs, which can’t sit well with feisty TCU head coach Gary Patterson. Expect a wild one between the two teams this fall.
Week 9 – Oct. 27 vs. Kansas State (Norman, Okla.)
Continuing a theme, the Wildcats are looking to avenge last year’s nail-biting loss to the Sooners. Notably, KSU has won two of the last three times that it has visited Owen Field.
Week 10 – Nov. 3 at Texas Tech (Lubbock, Texas)
The series between the Sooners and Red Raiders loses some heat following Baker Mayfield’s departure. Given that Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury could again be coaching for his job in 2018, his team will almost definitely start pulling out all the stops in hopes of a high-profile upset.
Week 11 – Nov. 10 vs. Oklahoma State (Norman, Okla.)
The Cowboys squandered a prime opportunity to score a Bedlam victory last season when they went up and down the field on the Sooners in Stillwater. Unfortunately, 52 points just weren’t enough to get the win. OSU will try to get revenge this fall to wash away that disappointment.
Week 12 – Nov. 17 vs. Kansas (Norman, Okla.)
The Jayhawks won’t get a warm reception in Norman after the ugliness that led to Baker Mayfield’s infamous crotch-grabbing spectacle in Lawrence last year. If Lincoln Riley can pour it on David Beaty’s team late in the game, he might go for it.
Week 13 – Nov. 23 at West Virginia (Morgantown, W.Va.)
The Mountaineers might enter the 2018 season as the favorites in the Big 12 thanks to the return of quarterback Will Grier and wide receiver David Sills IV. It’s entirely possible that OU’s Black Friday game against WVU will be a prelude to the conference title game a week later.
— 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.