The Oklahoma Sooners became overnight contenders to make an appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff after their win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in last season’s Sugar Bowl. And contrary to popular belief, the Sooners may even be a better pick than the Crimson Tide to win the national championship this season.
Whether or not they will actually be a better team in 2014 has yet to be seen, but the Sooners have one major advantage over the Crimson Tide and some other potential playoff contenders — their schedule.
The Big 12 may not be a pushover, but the SEC it is not. Without facing the same grind from week to week, the Sooners have a very good chance to make it through the season with no more than one loss. Oklahoma’s toughest non-conference test will likely come at home against the Tennessee Volunteers, who went 4-8 last season. Oklahoma’s two other non-conference games are at home against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the Tulsa Hurricane.
More importantly though, the Big 12 portion of Oklahoma’s schedule shakes out pretty favorably for the Sooners. They will play five of those nine games at home, and they get to host the Texas Longhorns, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and perhaps the next best team in the league, the Baylor Bears.
In Big 12 play, Oklahoma will only have to hit the road to play the TCU Horned Frogs, the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Iowa State Cyclones and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Some of those games will be difficult, but with the possible exception of Texas Tech, they probably won’t be the class of the Big 12.
Oklahoma is by no means the favorite to win the national championship this season. The Florida State Seminoles still appear to have the best odds right now. But the Sooners might be the next best bet.
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