The Oklahoma Sooners have two games remaining in the 2022 season. Two more opportunities to put their best foot forward as Brent Venables and his staff build toward the future.
On Saturday night in Norman, they can take a positive step in that direction. They can end a two-game losing streak and eliminate their in-state rival, Oklahoma State, from Big 12 contention. More significantly, for Oklahoma, they can earn an opportunity to play one more game with their sixth win.
Though simply making it to a bowl game isn’t good enough, that’s the last remaining measuring stick the team can use to evaluate its 2022 season. Whether it’s this week against Oklahoma State or next week in primetime against Texas Tech, Erick Smith of USA TODAY Sports believes the Sooners will play in a bowl game.
Let’s see where his latest projections are taking the Sooners, the rest of the Big 12, and what the College Football Playoff field looks like.
First Responders Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Washington State
Sep 24, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Joey McGuire sings the school song after the Red Raiders defeated the Texas Longhorns in overtime at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Texas Tech has rallied to the edge of bowl eligibility. A win this week against Iowa State would get them into the postseason in Joey McGuire’s first year at the helm.
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Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Kansas vs. Maryland
Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold leads the team onto the field before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Defense is optional for this one, as both Kansas and Maryland can put up points but haven’t been great on defense this season. Lance Leipold has stamped his job security in Lawrence for as long as he wants it after returning the Jayhawks to bowl season.
Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina
Nov 27, 2021; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer directs his team against the Clemson Tigers in the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
There have been so many projections with this matchup that it just feels like it needs to happen. Oklahoma players would get a chance to see former teammates Spencer Rattler and Austin Stogner and reunite with former assistant Shane Beamer.
Texas Bowl: Baylor vs. Arkansas
WACO, TX – NOVEMBER 13: Head coach Dave Aranda of the Baylor Bears watches his team play against the Oklahoma Sooners in the second half at McLane Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 27-14. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
A Southwest Conference rivalry renewed between Arkansas and the Baylor Bears. Dave Aranda has a lot of familiarity with the Razorbacks from his time at LSU. Both teams have played some high-scoring affairs this season, which could make for a fun bowl game.
Cheez-It Bowl: Texas vs. Florida State
Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Collin Clay (93) hots Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) after a pass during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Texas Longhorns at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Oklahoma State won 41-34. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Florida State’s resurgence has been a fun story this season. Texas looked like they were on the come-up, but has since slid back into the middle of the Big 12 pack.
Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. USC
Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy (left) talks with Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley before a game at Boone Pickens Stadium. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Could Mike Gundy and Spencer Sanders end another Lincoln Riley season with a loss?
We don’t ask for much.
Sugar Bowl: Kansas State vs. Tennessee
Oct 29, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (18) makes a pass during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
The Wildcats look to be on pace for a New Year’s Six bowl and a matchup with Tennessee would be a lot of fun. This game may not feature Hendon Hooker, but it would be another opportunity for Will Howard who has been a revelation for Kansas State.
Fiesta Bowl - College Football Playoff: TCU vs. Ohio State
Nov 12, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Christian Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnson (1) catches a touchdown pass against the Texas Longhorns during the second half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
TCU looks to be in the driver’s seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff. All they have to do is keep winning. They’ll close the season at Baylor and at home vs. Iowa State. The Bears aren’t necessarily a gimme, and they’ll want some revenge for the Horned Frogs knocking them out of playoff contention a year ago.
Peach Bowl - College Football Playoff: Georgia vs. Clemson
Clemson wide receiver Joseph Ngata (10) celebrates a catch against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
After their loss to Notre Dame, it looks like Clemson may start getting some love again if they can close the season on a winning streak and win the ACC Championship. They’ll potentially have to fend off USC, Tennessee, and either a one-loss Ohio State or Michigan to get the final berth in the playoff.