Strength of Schedule: Kansas

A matchup with the Jayhawks could be an encore for Perine and the Sooners

For the second year in a row, Sooners Illustrated breaks down Oklahoma’s toughest games for the upcoming season. The rating system is based on the importance of a win, the strength of the opponent and a general idea of how key the game will be in terms of scheduling and performance.

It starts with the easiest game and ends up with the toughest.

3. Kansas

There probably won’t be an easier three-game stretch in all of FBS this year than the part of Oklahoma’s schedule that the Jayhawks sit right in the middle of. Sandwiched in between home games against Texas Tech and Iowa State is a matchup with Kansas, which probably is still having Samaje Perine-based nightmares.

2014 record: 3-9

Last year vs. OU: 44-7, Oklahoma – and a record-setting day from Perine, who rushed for an FBS record 427 yards.

Why this game is dangerous: It will come at a lull in the season, which can be a scary hurdle. The toughest part could be in the unknown that is Kansas, which still doesn’t have a constant at quarterback and a few weapons that have yet to blossom into their potential. Montell Cozart could be a dangerous threat at quarterback if he can puts it together – sort of like the poor man’s Trevone Boykin with fewer weapons.

Players to watch: It’ll be tough not to focus on Perine to see what he does for an encore. This could be a special game for Eric Striker, though. The senior could use a couple big performances to secure his future beyond this season. He’ll be able to tee off in this three-game stretch – with a matchup against Kansas being one of the best chances. With its fourth coach in five years, Kansas has lost 48 games in the past five years and ranked in the bottom 15 in the FBS in points and yards last season. The Jayhawks are weak up front and lost their top four receivers. Striker should have a field day.

Prediction: Not another record, but this game should be a blowout from the start – even if all Oklahoma does is run. Without departing senior Ben Heeney, the Jayhawks’ best defensive player from last year, there won’t be too much that can stop Oklahoma, which wins 49-6 after scoring on its first three possessions.

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