The 2022 college football season is so close we can almost taste it. The Oklahoma Sooners held their first practice of fall camp on Friday, meaning the home opener against UTEP will be here before we know it.
Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners are looking to open the season strong in a year where expectations remain high after missing out on the Big 12 championship game in 2021.
The Big 12 looks tough this season. While Oklahoma will be among the favorites in the league, defending champion Baylor will be good on defense yet again, and if they can keep their running game going will be tough to beat in 2022. Oklahoma State has the most experienced quarterback in Spencer Sanders and, despite the losses on defense, should be one of the teams in contention.
Quinn Ewers, one of the least experienced quarterbacks in the Big 12, leaves the Longhorns as a wild card. They should be good again offensively, but that wasn’t necessarily the problem last year. It was the defense.
Throw in teams like Kansas State and West Virginia, who could be dark horse contenders, and there’s a solid six teams that could be in contention into November.
A lot of how the 2022 season transpires could simply come down to scheduling. The Oklahoma Sooners will play Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State at home. They have the neutral site game against Texas and have road games against Nebraska, West Virginia, and Iowa State that could prove difficult.
As we get set for the 2022 season, Pro Football Focus released their season preview (premium), and this is how they ranked the Big 12 according to strength of schedule.
Oct 2, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Xavier Worthy (8) goes for a catch as TCU Horned Frogs safety Nook Bradford (28) defends during the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: Louisiana-Monroe, Alabama, UTSA
West Virginia Mountaineers
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: at Pittsburgh, Towson, at Virginia Tech
Oct 16, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Jason Bean (17) hands off to running back Devin Neal (4) against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: Tennessee Tech, at Houston, Duke
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Dec 28, 2021; Memphis, TN, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Donovan Smith (7) reacts after a touchdown during the second half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Liberty Bowl Stadium. Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: Murray State, Houston, at N.C. State
Kansas State Wildcats
Jan 4, 2022; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn (22) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the LSU Tigers during the 2022 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: South Dakota, Missouri, Tulane
TCU Horned Frogs
Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: at Colorado, Tarleton State, at SMU
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) throws a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the first quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: Central Michigan, Arizona State, Arkansas – Pine Bluff
Oklahoma’s Key Lawrence (12) forces a fumble as he hits Iowa State’s Brock Purdy (15) during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Iowa State Cyclones at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Nonconference Schedule: UTEP, Kent State, at Nebraska
Dec 4, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second quarter in the Big 12 Conference championship game at AT&T Stadium. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: Albany, at BYU, Texas State
Iowa State Cyclones
Nov 21, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers (12) reacts after rushing for a touchdown against the Kansas State Wildcats at Jack Trice Stadium. Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports
Nonconference Schedule: Southeast Missouri, at Iowa, Ohio