The later part of a football season brings forward different challenges. First, injuries and fatigue begin to mount up as you conclude the grueling schedule. Then, teams are mostly through with the non-conference portion of the season and you get down to coaches and teams that know your scheme and personnel much better. FOor this reason, tough games on the road, in particular, become less about style points and more about a win and advance mentality. Now, let’s conclude the final six games of the season as we continue previewing Oklahoma’s 2019 schedule.
Previewing Oklahoma’s 2019 Schedule
Saturday, October 19th vs West Virginia
Familiarity once again hits the Sooners as the first game of the second half of the schedule brings the Mountaineers to Norman. Even though West Virginia and Oklahoma are familiar with one another on the field, it will be a storyline off the field that could be interesting to watch in this matchup.
In late winter, Riley blocked the transfer of former Sooner quarterback Austin Kendall to West Virginia. In one sense, Riley shouldn’t be blamed for blocking a three-year player that is familiar with the inner workings of Riley’s offense to a rival school within the conference. But, conventional wisdom prevailed and Kendall was permitted to enroll with West Virginia. If Kendall wins the starting job, expect an interesting dynamic to present itself with the reloading Mountaineers behind first-year head coach Neal Brown.
Saturday, October 26th at Kansas State
Name the last good Kansas State football team not coached by Bill Snyder. Go ahead, I’ll wait. There hasn’t been one. Enter Chris Kleiman for the Wildcats this year. The Sooners will be heavy favorites in Manhattan, but this could be closer than the experts think. Kansas State tends to play the Sooners tougher when they come in as heavier underdogs.
With the Alex Delton transfer to TCU, the quarterback position is unquestionably Skylar Thompson’s to have. Thompson has been somewhat inconsistent in his career at Kansas State. But, he was the prototypical Snyder dual-threat quarterback. However, he must put up better stats if the Wildcats have any dreams of getting back to the postseason after missing out last year.
Saturday, November 9th vs Iowa State
Now, this is another strategically placed bye week for the Sooners as the schedule-makers gave them two weeks to prepare for the Cyclones. One of the best, young coaches in America resides in Ames, Iowa with Matt Campbell. Most preseason prognosticators, have the Cyclones finishing no worse than fourth in the league. However, a healthy amount of predictions call for Iowa State to play for the Championship in December.
With that being said, the Cyclones have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Brock Purdy. Purdy threw for over 2200 yards while tossing 16 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. While the Cyclones return eight starters on offense, it might be the two starters that are lost in David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler that has the most impact. Even so, this could be the Cyclones best team under Campbell.
Saturday, November 16th at Baylor
This will be my call for the toughest pure road game in the conference season. Baylor has improved under Matt Rhule in each of the last two seasons. The Bears went from a 1-11 campaign to a 7-6 bowl winning team last season. Coupled with the fact that Oklahoma has not played particularly well in Waco, this could be a nailbiter.
Baylor has a strong nucleus on offense returning with eight starters including quarterback Charlie Brewer. The top three rushers and eight of the top nine receivers also return as the Bears should have a strong offensive team. Comparatively, the defense was still poor last year. The Bears will look to improve off the 66 points given up against Oklahoma last year.
Saturday, November 23rd vs TCU
2018 was a down year for Gary Patterson and the Frogs. Even so, TCU rallied to win four of its last five to make and win a bowl game. All signs point to the aforementioned Delton starting at quarterback for Patterson’s club this season.
The one consist facet of the TCU program under Patterson has been the defense. Last year was no exception as the Frogs only allowed 23 points a game. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon. With two solid running backs in Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua and a game breaker in Jalen Reagor at wide receiver, the quarterback play could be the determining factor on how far TCU goes in 2019.
Saturday, November 30th at Oklahoma State
We conclude with Bedlam as continue previewing Oklahoma’s 2019 schedule. You can bet that this Saturday after Thanksgiving will be critical for both teams. The Sooners will likely be challenging for a Big 12 Championship and Playoff berth. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be battling for bowl positioning and could very well be facing the possibility of a Big 12 Championship berth itself.
Oklahoma State didn’t miss much of a beat last year with Taylor Cornelius at the quarterback position for Mason Rudolph. However, the fifth-year senior is gone and the Cowboys have a bit of a competition in fall camp between Spencer Sanders and Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown. Most expect Sanders to win the job. The Cowboys have an outstanding receiver in Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard could be the next great running back. Defensively, they only return five starters but must continue to improve to challenge for a championship.