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Way-too-early ranking of Oklahoma Football’s 2024 opponents

For all but two teams, the 2023 college football season has come to a close. That means it’s time to look ahead to the 2024 season.

After making significant improvements on both sides of the ball in 2023, the Sooners jumped from six to 10 wins in Brent Venables’ second season. But now they move to the SEC and are breaking in new coordinators on both sides of the ball.

Additionally, they’ll have a completely new offensive line from the group that started for the majority of the season and a new starting quarterback after Dillon Gabriel left for Oregon.

Jackson Arnold takes the reins at quarterback for the Sooners. Despite his Alamo Bowl performance, the ceiling is very high for Arnold and the Sooners offense.

But they’ve got a difficult schedule in 2024, in particular when they get to SEC play. But how would you rank their opponents in 2024? Here’s how we ranked them here at Sooners Wire.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

When: Nov. 23

Where: Norman

Alabama may not have been the dominant force that they’ve been in years past, but they still made the College Football Playoff and were a few plays away from making the national title game. Alabama is still Alabama and Nick Saban is still one of the best coaches in college football. With Jalen Milroe returning, Alabama will be a force again in 2024.

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Ole Miss Rebels

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

When: Oct. 26

Where: Oxford, Miss.

Jaxson Dart returns and Lane Kiffin continues to add talent like Walter Noaln in the transfer portal to bolster the defense. Ole Miss will be a national title contender in 2024.

LSU Tigers

Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports

When: Nov. 30

Where: Baton Rouge

If things go well for the Oklahoma Sooners, this game could have College Football Playoff implications. It will no doubt be a night game that will put the Sooners young offense to the test. Baton Rouge is one of the more difficult places to play in the country. There will be no room for error when the Sooners make the trip on the final weekend of the regular season. The loss of Jaylen Daniels hurts, but LSU should be improved defensively with the addition of Blake Baker as their new defensive coordinator.

Texas Longhorns

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

When: Oct. 12

Where: Dallas, Texas

The Texas Longhorns always prove to be difficult, regardless of each team’s situation. Texas made the College Football Playoff in 2023 and had a really good team. Still, the Sooners beat them. It’s a coin-flip game each year, and Texas is losing a lot of what made them so good along the defensive line and at wide receiver and tight end. Now, there’s a lot of talent to fill the gap, but will they be able to remain a contender despite the turnover at those key positions?

Tennessee Vounteers

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

When: Sept. 21

Where: Norman

Josh Heupel’s Tennessee Volunteers has created some of the better offenses in the country over the last couple of years. They were first in FBS in points per game but fell to 37th in 2023. The defense continues to improve, which is making the biggest difference. The Volunteers will provide an incredibly tough matchup to break the Sooners into the SEC. OU will also provide a difficult road environment for first-year starter, former five-star QB Nico Iamaleava.

Missouri Tigers

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When: Nov. 9

Where: Columbia, Mo.

Missouri isn’t a traditional rival in the same sense Texas and Oklahoma State are, but this matchup has a chance to be significant on the national stage. The Tigers had a resurgent season in 2023. Is that a sign of what’s to come or an aberration after winning no more than six games in Eli Drinkwitz’s first three seasons at Mizzou?

Auburn Tigers

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

When: Sept. 28

Where: Auburn, Ala.

Oklahoma’s first SEC road trip takes them to a big-time venue to face the Auburn Tigers. Jordan-Hare holds a capacity of 87,451, which is 20,000 more than any true road stadium Oklahoma played in during their time in the Big 12.

Hugh Freeze’s Tigers took Alabama to the limit at the end of the 2023 regular season. So it won’t be an easy road matchup for the Sooners.

South Carolina Gamecocks

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

When: Oct. 19

Where: Norman

South Carolina went 0-4 on the road in 2023 and, like Oklahoma, will have a new starting quarterback after Spencer Rattler declared for the NFL draft.

Houston Cougars

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

When: Sept. 7

Where: Norman

Oklahoma’s first test of the season comes in week two against the Houston Cougars. The Sooners will face Willie Fritz, who coached Tulane back in the 2020 matchup that took OU to the brink. If he can retool on the fly, Willie Fritz and the Cougars could give the Sooners fits.

Tulane Green Wave

Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

When: Sept. 14

Where: Norman

Tulane has been one of the better Group Of Five teams in college football for the last several years. However, gone are head coach Willie Fritz and quarterback Michael Pratt. Now, they’re still a talented team that the Sooners can’t look past ahead of their inaugural SEC matchup with Tennessee.

More: 5 takeaways from the Oklahoma Sooners 2024 schedule

Temple Owls

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

When: Aug. 31

Where: Norman

Temple provides Jackson Arnold and the Sooners an opportunity to wipe the slate clean from the Alamo Bowl and start fresh in the first week of the season.

More: Sooners full 2024 schedule

Maine Black Bears

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

When: Nov. 2

Where: Norman

The Black Bears went 2-9 in 2023. Late in the season, this should be a fantastic opportunity for Oklahoma to rest anyone that’s dealing with a nagging injury ahead of their final stretch of the season.

More: Way-too-early 2024 schedule prediction

Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire