OU football: Three takeaways from Sooners' 2021 schedule
NORMAN — The Big 12 football schedule was released Thursday, filling in the conference portion of OU's schedule.
Here are three quick takeaways from the schedule announcement:
The only bye on the Sooners schedule comes Nov. 6, the week after hosting Texas Tech.
This can go one of a couple directions but after playing nine consecutive games to start the season, OU figures to need a bit of a breather to get ready for a tough closing stretch that includes a game at Baylor, home against Iowa State and a regular-season Bedlam finale in Stillwater, which brings us to...
Bedlam back at the end
With Nebraska on the Sooners schedule, it would've been nice for that game to be Thanksgiving weekend but since the Cornhuskers left the Big 12, Bedlam has become a staple of that weekend.
It makes sense — on Thanksgiving weekend, it's better to limit travel so having schools that are close by makes sense. And recently, this game has had plenty of Big 12 Championship Game implications.
The game was scheduled to be played much earlier in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic altered the schedule and wound up with Bedlam played Nov. 21.
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Tough early slate
Once again, the Sooners don't have a slow ramp-up to their Big 12 schedule.
In 2020, with just one non-conference game, that hurt OU as it lost to Kansas State and Iowa State before getting things back on track and making (and winning) a fourth consecutive Big 12 Championship Game — fifth consecutive overall — and winning the conference for the sixth consecutive season.
The Sooners start Big 12 play with West Virginia at home Sept. 25. OU didn't play the Mountaineers last year as the game in Morgantown was first postponed and then canceled due to COVID-19 issues with one of the teams.
West Virginia hasn't beaten the Sooners since joining the Big 12, but the gap hasn't been large generally.
Then the Sooners play at Kansas State Oct. 2. The Wildcats have beaten OU in each of the last two seasons, including a 48-41 victory on Oct. 26, 2019 in Manhattan.
That comes a week before the Sooners take on Texas on Oct. 9 in their annual showdown in the Cotton Bowl.
Sept. 4: at Tulane
Sept. 11: Western Carolina
Sept. 18: Nebraska
Sept. 25: West Virginia
Oct. 2: at Kansas State
Oct. 9: Texas at Dallas
Oct. 16: TCU
Oct. 23: at Kansas
Oct. 30: Texas Tech
Nov 13: at Baylor
Nov. 20: Iowa State
Nov. 27: at Oklahoma State