Starting off a season with five straight wins is more difficult than it might seem, but in Oklahoma football history it generally has been a sign of great things to come.
With just four days to go before the Sooners kick off a brand new college football season, all attention is appropriately focused on coming out of the gate strong and posting a season-opening victory.
Historically, Oklahoma has won 73 percent of the 1,288 games the Sooners have played over 125 seasons. Perhaps not surprisingly, their record in season openers is even better.
Oklahoma has opened the season with a win 97 times. The Sooners’ overall record in opening games every season is 97-23-5, and it has been fairly consistent throughout the team’s history.
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In the Sooners’ first 54 seasons (1895-1949), they were 40-11-5 in the first game of the season. Since 1950, Oklahoma is 57-12-1 in its season opener.
The best of the legendary big four of Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and Bob Stoops in season-opening games was Switzer, who compiled a near-perfect record of 15-1 in his 16 seasons as the Sooner head coach. Owen had the next best record, going 19-3 to start the season. Owen actually won 18 season-openers in a row before losing three consecutive time late in his 22-year coaching reign.
Stoops was15-3 in opening games, while Wilkinson was just 11-5-1 to begin the season over 17 years.
It’s great to start off a season with an opening-day win, but it’s even better to be able to keep the momentum and winning ways going as deep into the season as you can.
Oklahoma has gone 5-0 or better to start the season 29 times in program history. In eighteen of those 29 seasons, the Sooners went on to win the conference championship and six times it resulted in a national championship.
This year, to get through the first five games without a defeat, the Sooners aren’t only going to have to get by Missouri State for what should be a 98th season-opening win, but also navigate through a difficult first half of the schedule that includes a home game against Kansas State, followed by three straight games away from Owen Field.
Oklahoma travels to Iowa State on Oct. 3 for its first road game of the season. At the risk of stirring up some bad karma, the Sooners have won 24 of their last 25 true road contests.
The following weekend OU heads to Dallas for the annual Red River game against archrival Texas for what could be a preview of the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners then have an extra week off to get ready for what should be another difficult road test, against TCU.
If Oklahoma can get by that difficult five-game gauntlet, they will be well on their way to securing one of the two spots in the Big 12 title game and a chance for a sixth consecutive conference crown. The only team they face in the second half of the season that is expected to finish in the upper half of the conference is a home affair hosting Oklahoma State and Bedlam.