Sooners face tough road ahead
2009 Football Schedule Breakdown
If we learned anything from last season it is that even though strength of schedule is said to not be a factor in BCS rankings, it really is.
The Sooners’ difficult 2008 schedule may have given them the bump over Texas to make the trip to last year’s Big 12 Championship Game, and they look to use another tough schedule this year to make their case for another national title run.
Sept. 5: No. 24 Brigham Young University @ Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
Both BYU and OU have a lot to prove in this exciting season opener. The Sooners have to show that they can bounce back from a national championship loss and handle their first major test of the season. The Cougars get an early opportunity to show that they and Mountain West Conference can hang with the big boys in 2009.
Sept. 12: Idaho State
The Sooners should be able to just show up, let the starters play a half and win this game. Obviously they cannot overlook the Bengals, but if the starters do their job the game should be over by the end of the first quarter.
Sept. 19: Tulsa
Tulsa lost its quarterback David Johnson and running back Tarrion Adams to graduation, which means a week three matchup in Norman that should fare favorably for the Sooners.
Oct. 3: @ Miami
The Hurricanes will not be the same pushover that they were when the Sooners beat them 51-13 during the 2007 season. This will be head coach Randy Shannon’s third year at the helm, and last season he turned a sub-.500 team into a bowl-bound contender. Expect more improvement and a tougher opponent out of the Hurricanes at Land Shark Stadium this season.
Oct. 10: Baylor
The game plan is simple: contain and limit sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin III to little productivity, and a victory is in hand. In 2008 Griffin totaled a mere 177 yards – 75 passing and 102 rushing – but he should find more success, but not enough to beat OU, with more experience under his belt.
Oct. 17: No. 2 Texas @ Cotton Bowl
Whether there are airplanes with signs or asterisks, the Big 12 title will have to be determined on the field. This year, like many others, it will have to be determined at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Longhorns are returning a good portion of their lineup, which means another very tough Red River Rivalry and an entertaining game that may be one of the best ones in recent years.
Oct. 24: @ Kansas
The Sooners will be looking to either continue their Big 12 dominance or recover from a loss to Texas heading into their seventh game, so look for a dangerous OU squad taking the field in Lawrence, Kan.
Oct. 31: Kansas State
Even though the Wildcats are back under the direction of legendary head coach Bill Snyder, don’t expect a huge comeback. The Sooners should be able to take care of them with ease, especially at home.
Nov. 7: @ No. 22 Nebraska
Any Big 12 road game is difficult, but going to Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium may be the toughest road game of the season. The Corn Huskers are predicted to represent the Big 12 North in the conference title game, so the game should revert from the first-quarter blowout that it was last year to the classic games that made the rivalry as historic as it has grown to be.
Nov. 14: Texas A&M
Under the leadership of head coach Mike Sherman last year the Aggies looked as bad as they have in a long time, and there is no reason why they should be able to climb out of the Big 12 South cellar this year. The Sooners should be able to have their way with Texas A&M at home, and build more confidence leading into the final two games of the regular season.
Nov. 21: @ Texas Tech
Don’t be fooled by the Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree-less Red Raiders. They may not have the exact firepower that those two players brought to the table, but they have always have good quarterbacks and receivers waiting for their opportunity to shine.
Plus, playing at Jones AT&T Stadium is never an easy task. The last time Texas Tech lost at home was on Oct. 27, 2007.
Nov. 28: No. 11 Oklahoma State
The Sooners have won six straight Bedlam matchups by a total of 132 points. The Cowboys should want revenge for last season’s beating in Stillwater, and their big three – quarterback Zac Robinson, wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back Kendall Hunter – should give the Sooners’ defense all it can handle.
Playing in Norman should give the Sooners a significant advantage, but neither the team nor its fans should overlook OSU.