Oklahoma Football: Sooners Have Never Shied Away From Power 5 Teams


The new Big 12 ruling requiring conference teams to schedule at least one nonconference football game every season with a team from a Power 5 conference will have no affect on Oklahoma football.

If anything, it should be a positive for the Sooners, because it will level the playing field in the future.

Every season since Bob Stoops’ second year at Oklahoma (in 2000), the Sooners have played at least one opponent in their nonconference schedule that was a member of a so-called Power 5 conference or was Notre Dame, which OU played in back-to-back home-and-home series in 2012-13.

Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners line up against the Oklahoma State Cowboys as they prepare to snap the ball at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Sooners defeated the Cowboys 58-23. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

That has not been the case with other Big 12 schools, however, some of which have even scheduled game with schools at the next level down as part of their nonconference slate, allegedly to pick up a presumably easy win and secure an additional home game in the process.

The Big 12 earlier this week announced that going forward its members would have to schedule at least one of their nonconference games in football with teams from one of the five major conferences or Notre Dame. In addition, Big 12 teams will be restricted from scheduling more than one FCS (Football Championship Series) opponent every season. Schools that want to be considered viable contenders for the national championship are better off not having a win over an FCS opponent on its season record, regardless, because of the negative impact it has on strength-of-schedule metrics.

The move by the Big 12 appears to be one more action designed to mitigate the criticism leveled on the conference for not holding a championship game in football.

“This move will strengthen the resumes for all Big 12 teams.” —Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner

“Schedule strength is a key component in (College Football Playoff) selection committee deliberations,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement released to ESPN and other members of the news media. “This move will strengthen the resumes for all Big 12 teams.

“Coupled with the nine-game full round-robin conference schedule our teams play, it will not only benefit the teams at the top of our standings each season, but will impact the overall strength of the conference.”

Next season, the Sooners will open up on the road with Houston, a top-25 team this season, and also play Ohio State in Norman in part one of a two-game home-and home series that moves to Columbus in 2017. Oklahoma has similar two-game series scheduled with UCLA and Nebraska in future years.