1. Timely off-weeks-- I contended yesterday that extended periods of time to prepare for games typically benefit the road team. Well, the Sooners have not one, but two bye weeks in 2011, and they both fall on weeks before they're set to travel. The first comes on Sept. 10, a week before perhaps OU's most difficult game this year at Florida State. Later, OU gets an idle date on Nov. 12 before heading to Waco, Texas to take on the Baylor Bears the following weekend.
2. Road trips are spaced out-- Very rarely is a schedule set up this way, but the Sooners don't have to play in road venues on back-to-back weeks once the entire season. In fact, the only time OU is away from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for two consecutive contests is the week of OU-Texas in Dallas, followed by a trip to Lawrence, Kan., to battle the Kansas Jayhawks. But the annual Red River Rivalry is on a neutral setup, not a true road environment. Outside of these two weeks, the schedule alternates between home and away on a week to week basis. That's pretty beneficial scheduling.
3. A pair of OU's toughest conference foes are home games The Sooners draw two of the other four Big 12 teams that figure to be ranked at home. First, OU hosts Missouri on Sept. 24. Then, Texas A&M, who will likely be in the Top 10, makes the trek to Norman on Nov. 5. These two teams were responsible for both of OU's losses in 2010, so it'll be nice to have them at home.
1. A week less to prepare for Bedlam than its counterpart-- The Sooners have a date with the Iowa State Cyclones on Thanksgiving weekend. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, has a full 15 days to get ready for the Crimson and Cream and will be licking its chops after hosting the Cyclones Friday, Nov. 18. The Cowboys couldn't have drawn a better bye week, and OU couldn't have picked up a worse scenario here.
2. Two probable Top 10 matchups on the road-- It's not out of the realm of possibility that each of these contests could end up being Top Five away battles. But when the Sooners take on FSU in Tallahassee, Fla., on the third week of the season, it'll without a doubt be a battle between teams in the Top 10. Same story when OU heads to Stillwater. These are both going to be grinders in hostile environments should the Sooners come out victorious.
3. Back-to-back trips to Stillwater Nevermind the fact that OSU will likely be a Top 10 team when the Sooners head to Boone Pickens Stadium. Regardless of rankings, it's hard to play and win in consecutive years on a bitter rival's field. But because Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12, forcing schedule changes, that's just what OU will have to do if it hopes to run the table. It will certainly be a tall task.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's version of the series.