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Way too early 2024 schedule prediction for the Oklahoma Sooners

We’ve known for a while who the Oklahoma Sooners would face in their first season in the SEC. Now we know when they will face those teams, and, boy, is it going to be tough.

Just to recap, the Sooners will face the Tennessee Volunteers, Auburn Tigers, Texas Longhorns, South Carolina Gamecocks, Ole Miss Rebels, Missouri Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers in conference play. They will get two bye weeks next year and will have a nonconference at the end of the season.

In my opinion, Oklahoma needs to go 8-4 or 9-3. Anything worse is a bad season. Anything better is icing on the cake. I know fans don’t want to hear that because they are used to Oklahoma dominating its conference, but that’s a realistic expectation based on where the program is today.

So, let’s take a look at how I think the season will go next year as we sit here today.

Aug. 31, 2024 vs. Temple Owls -- Norman, Oklahoma

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners start their season on Aug. 31, 2024, at home against the Temple Owls. Obviously, in the age of the transfer portal and with the incoming recruiting classes, it’s hard to predict what a team will look like next season. Still, this isn’t a game the Sooners should struggle with.

Could there be some first-game jitters? Sure. Ultimately, the Sooners should start the year off the right way.

Result: Win

Sept. 7, 2024: vs. Houston Cougars -- Norman, Oklahoma

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners and the Houston Cougars never faced off as Big 12 foes, but they get to play in Norman on Sept. 7, 2024. Houston is going with an all-new coaching staff, hiring Willie Fritz away from Tulane. That’s a big hire I think will pay dividends for Houston in the future, just not right now.

The Sooners should win this one pretty handily, and ironically that coaching hire affects the next game for the Sooners as well.

Result: Win

Sept. 14, 2024: vs. Tulane Green Wave -- Norman, Oklahoma

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

As I was saying, the Green Wave lost their head coach to Houston, so it will probably be a completely different team that visits Norman next season.

The Sooners and Tulane faced off in 2021; the Sooners narrowly escaped at home. But these are two different teams. I thought this had a chance to be OU’s toughest nonconference game. After the coaching change, I’m not so sure anymore.

Result: Win

Sept. 21, 2024: vs. Tennessee Volunteers -- Norman, Oklahoma

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to be an emotional one for both teams. On Sept. 21, 2024, Josh Heupel and his Tennessee Volunteers return to Norman. Heupel is Oklahoma’s last national championship quarterback but his departure as offensive coordinator after the 2014 season left a crack in the relationship.

I’m sure Oklahoma will do something to honor and welcome Heupel back to Norman, at least it should. But this will be Oklahoma’s toughest test early in the season. Tennessee will be breaking in a new quarterback like the Sooners. But we know Heupel will have that offense playing well. I could see this one going either way, but I’ll lean toward Oklahoma.

Result: Win

Sept. 28, 2024: vs. Auburn Tigers -- Auburn, Alabama

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners’ first road trip in the SEC will be the Auburn Tigers. I know everyone’s immediate thought is this should be an easy win, but Auburn is a very good team at home.

It lost to Alabama and Georgia by a combined 10 points at home in 2023. This is a team that absolutely can knock off the Sooners. Ultimately, I said I went back and forth on the Tennessee game because I think they lose one of these two. So, I have the Sooners falling here.

Result: Loss

Oct. 5, 2024: BYE WEEK

Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Going into the bye week after a loss to Auburn would be bittersweet, but 4-1 heading into the Red River Rivalry isn’t a bad place to be. The Sooners will not have much margin for error the rest of the way, but this Week 6 bye allows the team to reset and Jackson Arnold to evaluate his own play over the first five games of the season.

Oct. 12, 2024: vs. Texas Longhorns (Cotton Bowl, Dallas)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Red River Rivalry. There is just nothing like it. This game will come after a bye week for both teams. The Sooners will be looking to knock off Texas once again, while Texas will be looking to avenge this season’s loss.

I like where the Sooners sit heading into the SEC more than I do Texas, simply because of how many key players the Longhorns are expected to lose. Now, we’ll see what happens in the portal. But I’m going to go with the Longhorns only because Oklahoma has not performed great after a bye in the Brent Venables era.

Result: Loss

Oct. 19, 2024: South Carolina Gamecocks -- Norman, Oklahoma

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

This is another homecoming of sorts as Shane Beamer makes his return to Norman. The South Carolina Gamecocks already lost some players that were key for them this season, but they’ve done a nice job with recruiting.

Still, until I know who their quarterback will be and if the offensive line has improved from a season ago, I’m picking the Sooners.

Result: Win

Oct. 26, 2024: at Ole Miss Rebels -- Oxford, Mississippi

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

This might be the game I’m looking forward to the most. The Sooners head to Ole Miss to take on Lane Kiffin, Jaxson Dart and the Rebels.

We know how much of an offensive genius Kiffin is, so he’ll have the Sooners on their toes. They also don’t have that tough of a schedule. This is another one I could see going either way, but I’ll take the Sooners in a close, hard-fought game.

Result: Win

Nov. 2, 2024: Maine Black Bears -- Norman, Oklahoma

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

This one is pretty easy and straightforward. If you don’t win this one pretty handily, you’ve got major problems. I know anyone can beat anyone on any given day.

We saw New Mexico State dominate Auburn at home in 2023 just for the Tigers to be a fourth-and-31 away from beating Alabama. Still, Sooners should roll.

Result: Win

Nov. 9, 2024: at Missouri Tigers -- Columbia, Missouri

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners take on an old Big 12 foe for the first time since the Missouri Tigers left for the SEC. This will be a November matchup at Missouri, so it’s bound to be cold, and weather could play a factor.

The Tigers had a surprising 10-2 season in 2023 and have the nation’s top player committed as well. We’ll see how they address the portal because they are going to lose their star running back.

I could see the Tigers winning this, but there are just too many question marks as we sit here today.

Result: Win

Nov. 16, 2024: BYE WEEK

Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Heading into the final two games 8-2 is a great place for the Sooners to be. The SEC title game is still on the table and so is a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Nov. 23, 2024: vs. Alabama Crimson Tide -- Norman, Oklahoma

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/players/323486" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jalen Milroe;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jalen Milroe</a> #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes away from Jacobian Guillory #90 of the LSU Tigers during the fourth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 04, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

There might not be a hotter team in all of college football right now than the Alabama Crimson Tide. So many people were ready to say their dynasty is over, but here they are back in the College Football Playoff.

The Sooners once again get a big-time game after a bye week. This will be a late November day, so it’s bound to be cold in Norman as well. Ultimately, you would have preferred to get Alabama earlier in the season. By this point, the Tide usually have found their groove.

Result: Loss

Nov. 30, 2024: LSU Tigers -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/players/322267" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Garrett Nussmeier;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Garrett Nussmeier</a> #13 of the LSU Tigers looks to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 4, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At this point in the season, the Sooners with three losses are still hanging in there for a possible College Football Playoff berth. Now they have to head to Death Valley to take on the LSU Tigers.

You hope this isn’t a night game because that could make this the toughest game of the season for the Sooners. This is another game I can see going either way. But until I find out how they replace Jayden Daniels, I’m going with the Sooners.

Result: Win

Analysis

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 9-3

Going 9-3 in the first season in the SEC isn’t a bad year, especially considering the turnover on the offensive line Oklahoma will have to deal with this offseason. If Brent Venables can pull this off, it’ll be a nice start to Oklahoma’s tenure in their new conference digs.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire