Oklahoma owns three of college football’s longest winning streaks, but what is . the longest Oklahoma football losing streak in its storied, 125-year history?
To begin with, let us state a blinding flash of the obvious: The Sooners don’t lose many games. Oklahoma has a .726 winning percentage all time, which means the team loses 27 percent of the time or a little less that three times out of every 10 games.
Under Lincoln Riley, the Sooners have lost just six times in 42 games and just 49 times in 268 games in the last 20 years.
Bob Stoops did something remarkable in his 18 seasons as the winningest Oklahoma football coach. He never lost two regular-season games in a row. He is the only one of the four legendary Sooner head coaches who won more than 100 games in their career who can make that claim.
In 125 years of Oklahoma football, the longest losing streak by an OU team is five games, and that happened on two different occasions.
Bud Wilkinson coached some of Oklahoma’s greatest teams of all time, including three national championship teams. Between 1948 and 1958, the Sooners did not lose more than one game per season for 11 consecutive years. Over than period Oklahoma compiled a record of 107-8-2 under Wilkinson.
The Sooners were virtually unbeatable for most of the 1950s, but the tide turned for the Sooners as the calendar rolled over into the 1960s. A team that averaged 10 wins a season in the 1950s, didn’t reach 10 wins combined in the 1960 and ’61 seasons.
Wilkinson’s 1960 Sooner team suffered a four-game losing skid in winning just 3 of 10 games that season. And that bad fortune carried over to the next season, when the Sooners lost their first five games to start the season. Over a 10-game span stretching from the end of the 1960 season through the first five games in 1961, Oklahoma posted a highly atypical one win in 10 straight games, something that unprompted you would never associate with a Wilkinson-coached Sooner team.
The other Oklahoma five-game losing streak came during the John Blake coaching era. Blake, who passed away a week ago at the age of 59, coached the Sooners from 1996 to 1998. Unfortunately, those three years were among the worst in OU’s highly celebrated history. The Sooners won just 12 games and lost 22 under Blake’s direction.
The Sooners lost five consecutive games in 1998 and they lost four straight times in both the 1996 and 1997 seasons.
Barry Switzer never lost more than two games in a row during the regular season in his 16 seasons as the Sooners’ head coach. In 1976, Oklahoma’s only two losses that season happened in consecutive weeks — at home to Oklahoma State and at Colorado the following weekend. In 1981, OU fell to Missouri and Nebraska in consecutive weeks.
In 1982 and 1988, Switzer’s final season coaching the Sooners, Oklahoma lost its regular-season finale and a month later lost in its postseason bowl game. That same sequence of events happened to Bob Stoops in 2003 and 2014.
Bennie Owen, Oklahoma’s longest tenured head coach at 22 seasons, lost four consecutive games two different times, in 1916 and 1924. Owen’s 1919 Sooner team also made some history. That team played to three consecutive ties.