One thing hits you immediately when you first take a look at the 2013 Oklahoma Sooners football schedule: That will not be easy — at all. Never a team to back down from adversity, the Sooners will certainly encounter their share of it this fall as they face tough tests both at home and on the road against non-conference and Big 12 opponents.
Here is that schedule, a breakdown will follow:
08/31 Louisiana-Monroe Norman 09/07 West Virginia Norman 09/14 Tulsa Norman 09/21 Open 09/28 at Notre Dame South Bend, Ind. 10/05 TCU Norman 10/12 Texas Dallas, Texas 10/19 at Kansas Lawrence, Kan. 10/26 Texas Tech Norman 11/02 Open 11/09 at Baylor Waco, Texas 11/16 Iowa State Norman 11/23 at Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. 11/30 Open 12/07 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, Okla.
Right out of the gate things get interesting. Although they finished with an 8-5 record, the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks made plenty of noise in 2012, knocking off the Arkansas Razorbacks in Week 1 and giving the Auburn Tigers and Baylor Bears all they could handle over the next two weeks following. They certainly will not lie down for the Sooners and will give them all they can handle. Who knows, maybe the Duck Dynasty clan will be there for moral support just to add some extra, er, flavor.
The West Virginia Mountaineers make their first trip to Norman the following weekend in what promises to be an interesting matchup. Although the Mountaineers will be dependent on a new quarterback and a cadre of new skill players, they’ll be looking to prove they can succeed in Texas and Oklahoma after long road trips after largely failing to do so in 2012.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane appear to be the weakest point on the schedule, but you can hardly make that assumption given their 11-3 finish in 2012 — which included a regular season Conference USA Championship and Liberty Bowl victory over the Iowa State Cyclones. The Golden Hurricane may in fact be the most underrated team in Oklahoma, and you can bet they’ll be looking to make a statement on September 14th.
A home contest against the TCU Horned Frogs on October 5th is book-ended by road trips to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and to Dallas for the traditional Red River Rivalry tilt against the Texas Longhorns. This is a ridiculously difficult three game stretch for the Sooners that will undoubtedly tell the tale of their success this fall, and, ultimately, where they could land in the overall BCS picture.
One more small “break” comes following this three game meat-grinder when Bob Stoops’ troops make the trip to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on October 19th before beginning an equally-as-tough five game finish to the season with the toughest of the three games coming on the road against the Kansas State Wildcats, Baylor Bears, and Oklahoma State Cowboys.
If the Oklahoma Sooners are looking for an opportunity to quiet critics and prove they are still among the nation’s elite programs after a rough for them 2012, they certainly have the opportunity to do so this fall, but you can be certain there will be plenty of adversity involved in order to get there.