The Oklahoma Sooners get the benefit of home-field advantage against the top teams of the Big 12 in 2022. After going on the road to face Baylor and Oklahoma State last season, they’ll get the 2021 Big 12 championship representatives in the friendly confines of Owen Field.
An early-season clash in Lincoln against the Nebraska Cornhuskers will provide a huge test to the new-look Sooners. Late season road trips to Iowa State, West Virginia, and Texas Tech loom large as well.
Every year in the Big 12 provides a tough slate of games, but the Sooners coaching staff is no stranger to preparing for and playing in tough environments and big-time matchups.
In an early look at the 2022 schedule, let’s see how the Oklahoma Sooners stack up as we rank their matchups from worst to first.
vs. UTEP Miners - Sept. 3
Nov 20, 2021; El Paso, Texas, USA; UTEP Miners offensive lineman Bobby DeHaro (73) speaks to his teammates before facing the Rice Owls at Sun Bowl Stadium. Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
In 2021, the UTEP Miners went 7-6 and 4-4 in Conference USA. They were the 70th ranked offense and the 35th ranked defense. While the Miners might be a solid team in Conference USA, they’ll be walking into a fired-up Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for Brent Venables’ first game as the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.
vs. Kent State Golden Flashes - Sept. 10
Dec 21, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes running back Bryan Bradford (31) runs the ball during the second half against the Wyoming Cowboys at the 2021 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertsons Stadium. Wyoming defeats Kent State 52 to 38. Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
The Kent State Golden Flashes went 7-7 and 6-3 in the MAC last season. They’ll be rolling out a new starter at quarterback. They were No. 4 in the nation in 2021 in total offense. Do they take a dip with the change at the most important position on the field?
vs. Kansas Jayhawks - Oct. 15
LAWRENCE, KS – OCTOBER 23: Jalil Farooq #14 of the Oklahoma Sooners is tackled by Kenny Logan Jr. #1 of the Kansas Jayhawks in the third quarter at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
There’s zero chance the Oklahoma Sooners sleepwalk into a home matchup against the Kansas Jayhawks in 2022 the way they did last season. Kansas will continue to improve under Lance Leipold, but the Sooners won’t punt the first half of the game away as they did in 2021.
After the Jayhawks beat Texas and the Sooners had to rally in the second half, players who were around for last season’s matchup will have a chip on their shoulder as they welcome the Jayhawks to Owen Field.
at West Virginia Mountaineers - Nov. 12
Nov 19, 2016; Morgantown, WV, USA; Oklahoma Sooners players celebrate after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Visions of Samaje Perine and Dede Westbrook streaking through the snowy scene in Morgantown in 2016 pop into my head when I think of a Sooners’ road trip to West Virginia.
It will be a difficult place to play for the Oklahoma Sooners, and while they still have Akheem Mesidor on the defensive interior, they lost All-American Dante Stills. Can they find another pressure player upfront to get after Dillon Gabriel?
at Texas Tech Red Raiders - Nov. 26
Oct 30, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Drake Stoops (12) celebrates with wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) after catching a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
While I recognize that playing Texas Tech in Lubbock is a different animal, and Joey McGuire has reinvigorated a Red Raiders program that had lost some steam, I don’t think they’ll have the talent to compete with the Sooners. Donovan Smith showed he was a capable player at the end of last season, but the Sooners roster is better on paper.
vs. Kansas State Wildcats - Sept. 24
Oct 27, 2018; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Kennedy Brooks (26) celebrates with quarterback Kyler Murray (1) after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Klieman was a problem for Lincoln Riley, who went 1-2 against the Kansas State Wildcats with Klieman at the helm. Kleiman is a really good coach who seemed to have great game plans for Riley’s offense and Grinch’s defense. Will that trend continue under new leadership?
They’ll bring Adrian Martinez to Norman now that Skylar Thompson is gone. Martinez and the Wildcats could be a threat with an improved roster to play with.
at TCU Horned Frogs - Oct. 1
Oct 20, 2018; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Lee Morris (84) celebrates with running back Kennedy Brooks (26) after catching a touchdown pass during the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
One team that could be a sneaky challenge for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2022 is the TCU Horned Frogs. With new head coach Sonny Dykes, expect the offense to take a step forward, whether it’s Max Duggan or Chandler Morris at the helm.
Dykes had Tanner Mordecai playing like one of the best quarterbacks in college football in 2021, and there’s no reason to think he can’t do the same with TCU.
at Nebraska Cornhuskers - Sept. 17
Oklahoma’s Eric Gray (0) carries the ball during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN
How fun was it to see the Oklahoma Sooners and the Nebraska Cornhuskers lock up last season?
While traveling to Lincoln will make for a challenging environment, this Sooners team will be just as fired up to renew the rivalry. Who knows the next time the historical foes will meet up again?
Casey Thompson is the likely starter, a guy the Sooners are familiar with, but it will be the first real test of the season for Venables and his crew. Thank goodness we get to do it again in 2022.
at Iowa State Cyclones - Oct. 27
Nov 9, 2019; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (2) catches a touchdown pass past Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Justin Bickham (7) during the first quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The venue here feels more intimidating than the matchup between the two teams. It’s a Thursday night game in Ames, which could create some drama. However, the Sooners will be coming off of 12 days rest and should be the more talented team.
The Cyclones lost Brock Prudy, Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar, Will McDonald, and Mike Rose. This was a team that was supposed to contend for the Big 12 title after starting the year as a preseason top 10, and they lost arguably five of their six best players to the NFL draft.
vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys - Nov. 19
Dec 3, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) runs for a touchdown during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Two new defensive identities will be at work for the Sooners and the Cowboys as Derrick Mason takes over for Oklahoma State and Brent Venables and Ted Roof lead the Oklahoma defense into Bedlam.
A new quarterback and new offensive play caller in Norman help wipe away the memory of a poor second half performance for the offense in 2021.
vs. Baylor Bears - Nov. 5
20 Oct 2001: Jason White #18 of the Oklahoma Sooners passes the ball during the game against the Baylor Bears at the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Bears 33-17. Ronald Martinez/Allsport
Baylor’s excellent on both sides of the line of scrimmage and should be once again in 2022. Jeff Lebby is no stranger to calling offenses against strong defensive fronts from his time in the SEC.
Though Ole Miss didn’t contend in the conference, his teams were some of the best offenses in the country during his two seasons with the Rebels.
Texas Longhorns (Cotton Bowl) - Oct. 8
Oct 9, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Billy Bowman (5) and defensive back Justin Broiles (25) tackle Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson (5) during the first half at the Cotton Bowl. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The names change, but the Red River Showdown remains the same. Last year, a battle between Casey Thompson and Spencer Rattler turned into a Caleb Williams comeback story.
In 2022, the rivalry will get two new faces at quarterback. Presumably, Quinn Ewers will start for the Longhorns, and Dillon Gabriel will be starting for the Oklahoma Sooners.
It’s a game that consistently defies expectations. The records don’t matter, and it annually offers surprises. What will we be in store for in this year’s edition of the Red River Showdown?