Oklahoma football: Sooners might be catching Alabama at good time next season

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma football is 3-2-1 all-time against the Alabama Crimson Tide and even-up at 1-1 with Nick Saban as head coach.

Next season, OU and Alabama will play each other in the regular season for the first time since 2003 and for the first time in Norman since 2002. The Crimson Tide is part of a brutal three-game closing schedule during which the Sooners must face Missouri, Alabama and LSU to finish the season. Alabama is the lone home game in that stretch.

The last time Oklahoma and Alabama matched up on the gridiron was in the 2018 College Football Playoff semifinals played in the Orange Bowl in Miami. Top-ranked Alabama won a 45-35 shootout over Kyler Murray and No. 4 Oklahoma, Five years before that, the roles were reversed as the Sooners upset Saban's No. 3-ranked Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl.

Saban won't be with Alabama when the Crimson Tide travel to Norman on Nov. 23. The legendary head coach retired after last season. In his place will be Kalen DeBoer, who coached the Washington Huskies to the College Football Playoff championship game last season against Michigan. How much the coaching change will impact Alabama in the first season without the second-winningest head coach in its history on the sideline remains to be seen.

It's not unreasonable, however, to believe there will be some drop off with a new coach and staff along with a new philosophy and system, but it also might be late enough in the season that the growing pains will be worked out by the time the Oklahoma game rolls around on the schedule.

Nevertheless, Oklahoma could be catching Alabama at a good time given the changes and the opportunity to play the Crimson Tide at home in Norman. At least that's the prediction of Joey Hickey, who writes for Longhorns Wire, a website dedicated to Texas athletics, affiliated with the USA Today network. And what was the last time you heard of a Texas supporter having anything positive to say about Oklahoma football?

Hickey has made several bold predictions about the 2024 college football season, perhaps the most surprising of which is the one about Oklahoma knocking off Alabama. I'm not sure everyone would agree with that, but if it's coming from a Texas fan, you've got to take it to heart and run with it.

One thing we do know with certainty: Everyone in Oklahoma -- especially those associated with the Sooner football program -- has had Nov. 23 circled on the calendar since the 2024 SEC football schedule came out in December.

Bring it on!! Boomer Sooner!!