For the third year in a row, Sooners Illustrated breaks down Oklahoma’s most important 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.
2015 record: 0-12
Last year vs. OU: Oklahoma, 62-7.
Why this game is dangerous: Kansas will be better than last year. The Jayhawks have to be better than a winless season. But in the second year under David Beaty, Kansas will be a better team. There’s more experience all over the field. Again, there had to be more experience because there was almost none last year, when the Jayhawks had little chance of winning a game after losing to South Dakota State to open the season. The term trap game gets thrown around sometimes, but that’s not even the case this year against Kansas, who will come to Norman in between the Sooners’ contests against Texas Tech and Iowa State: Nothing really to worry about there. There isn’t a lot of danger in this game. Whereas the matchup against UL-Monroe had some uncertainty, the Sooners are very familiar with Kansas. One reason? Against a team that hasn’t won more than three games since 2009, the only worry is if Ryan Willis turns into the second-coming to Todd Reesing. Willis is good enough, but the talent around him might not be.
Opponent to watch: Willis might be the best quarterback the Jayhawks have had since Reesing, and he got a lot of experience as a true freshman – looking the part of a potential four-year starter. But it’s defensive tackle Daniel Wise that will be a guy to watch. He’s the best player on the defensive line and could be a solid tune-up/wake-up call for the Sooners interior' line, which will have two new starters and three new positional starters. A good refresher in the middle of the season is never a bad thing.
Prediction: There’s no reason to think that this won’t be the biggest blowout of Oklahoma’s season. It’ll be another game where Austin Kendall sees action early-ish. This time around, it's a little bit closer than last season, though. By the end, the Sooners have a 48-point spread in the fourth quarter, closing out the easy Big 12 Conference win, 58-10.