No. 7 Oklahoma capped off its regular season with 34-16 win over No. 21 Oklahoma State on Saturday, and now have a rematch with No. 9 Baylor (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) in the Big 12 Championship game.
The Sooners (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) are looking to win their fifth-straight conference title, and potentially reach their third-straight College Football Playoff. Coach Lincoln Riley talked about the recruiting struggles with the conference championship week, the health of CeeDee Lamb, among other things at his weekly press conference.
Here are three takeaways from Riley's presser:
Recruiting during the conference championship
Along with having to prepare for a top 10 opponent, Riley and his staff also have to deal with the challenges of recruiting with the early signing period beginning on Dec. 19.
The vast majority of teams aren't playing a game this weekend, so they can spend the home stretch of the early recruiting cycle focusing on landing 2020 prospects. But the teams who are preparing for a conference title game have no such luxury.
Riley was open about his frustration with the process and said Oklahoma petitioned the NCAA to allow extra recruiting days for teams playing for a conference championship.
"It's tough, but we knew this was coming," Riley said. "We even petitioned the NCAA a while back trying to make it if you qualify for your conference championship game, then you should get one or two games of recruiting.
"It's challenging, and it's not good for the sport. It makes zero sense that you qualify for your championship game, but you're penalized in maybe the most important recruiting point of the year."
CeeDee Lamb's drop in production
Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has been the Sooners' most consistent and dominant player for much of the 2019 season, but his production has declined in recent weeks. In the last two games, he has totaled six receptions for 52 yards.
Lamb missed the first game against Baylor, a 34-31 Sooner win on Nov. 16, with an injury, but Riley said he is fully healthy. The Biletnikoff finalist's lack of involvement in the offense the last two games likely has to do with a general offensive shift to the run game over the pass game.
"He's been fine and he's handled things well," Riley said. "He understands ... you're going to have games where you get really involved and games where it just doesn't find it your way. That's just the nature of this game and being an offensive skill player."
Challenges of facing Baylor for the second time
The Big 12 is unique in the sense that it is the only conference guaranteed to have a rematch in its championship game. This is because it's the only conference where teams have to play every other team in the conference during the regular season.
Although it can be difficult to beat a good team twice, Riley has led the Sooners to rematch wins in the conference title in each of the last two years, which he said has made his team familiar with playing the same team again.
"These games the last few years have probably helped us in that you normally don't play the opponent twice in the same year, and that felt very different," Riley said. "I'm glad our team has done well enough that it feels regular. I think it's not a whole lot different than studying a team from the past. That's the back and forth you go through as a coach — how much you analyze, how much to scheme, how much not to."