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.
4. Kansas State
2015 record: 6-7.
Last year vs. OU: Oklahoma, 55-0
Why this game is dangerous: Two words: Bill Snyder. Two years ago, Kansas State shouldn’t have been able to compete with the Sooners when the two teams played in Norman. Instead, Kansas State walked away with a victory. But last year, Oklahoma set things straight with one of the more dominant victories in recent memory. There’s a lot up in the air for Kansas State this season, starting with whoever the starting quarterback will be. Snyder has a great way of motivating young players and getting the most out of those players. The mix of those two things will keep Oklahoma focused.
Opponent to watch: Many Kansas State fans will be watching the quarterback competition between Jesse Ertz, Alex Delton and Joe Hubener, but Kansas State will also have to re-build its offensive line. Receiver Tyler Lockett is finally gone – and the Sooners are probably cheering. Keep an eye on his likely replacement: Byron Pringle, a junior college transfer who will become the Wildcats’ primary target. The 6-foot-2 had been an off-the-field problem for much of his career, but if he can walk the straight-and-narrow, then he could be one of the conference’s most dangerous playmakers.
Prediction: Last year’s 55-0 shutout victory against Kansas State was Oklahoma largest conference shutout since 2003 against Texas A&M. Don’t expect a second-straight shutout, although it could be pretty close. There’s a lot up in the air this season for Kansas State, which comes to Norman on Oct. 15. Oklahoma will be coming off the Red River Showdown and starting a four-game stretch against the four weakest teams in the Big 12 Conference. There’s a pretty good chance that Bob Stoops won’t be happy about the result in Dallas against the Longhorns. He’ll take it out on his mentor: 48-7.