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: 11-2
Last year vs. OU: Oklahoma, 30-29
Why this game is dangerous: This game doesn’t necessarily fall at an easy point on the schedule. That’s for sure. Oklahoma travels to TCU after the home matchup against Ohio State and before the Red River Showdown against Texas. The Sooners open the Big 12 Conference schedule against the Horned Frogs – a team that nearly upset the Sooners at home with a back-up quarterback, save for Steven Parker’s fingertips. Trevone Boykin is gone after one of the best seasons in TCU history for a quarterback, and top receiver Josh Doctson was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by Washington. Neither played against Oklahoma last season either. The Horned Frogs’ attack finished third in the nation in total offense and seventh in scoring offense. There are seven new starters on the offensive side of the ball, which means that there are a lot of question marks. Then there’s always that defense, which constantly is one of the best and should be even better this year with seven returning starters.
Opponent to watch: Who’s going to replace Boykin: Kenny Hill or Foster Sawyer? Leading rusher Aaron Green is gone too, and Trevorris Johnson and Kyle Hicks combined for just 262 yards on the ground. JuCo transfer Taj Williams and receiver KaVontae Turpin will try to replace Doctson as the top target. Defensive end Josh Carraway is a game-changer at defensive end and could be an All-American by the end of the year. But in the Big 12 Conference and against Oklahoma, pass defense comes at a priority. If TCU wants to finish near the top of the conference, where many think it will be, returning cornerback Ranthony Texada will be key. He’ll be TCU’s top cornerback after suffering a knee injury last season.
Prediction: The Horned Frogs were worse last season when they went on the road to Norman and nearly upset the Sooners, who eventually reached the College Football Playoff. Now, they’re better, and they’re at home. If there’s a game outside of the spotlight that could catch Oklahoma, it’s TCU. Although, most might argue that this game isn’t necessarily out of the spotlight after the last two results. The Horned Frogs have a few questions on offense, and they might not be figured out by the start of the Big 12 season. Then again, the Sooners might not have the answer on tape before the Big 12 opener either. Hill will likely win the starting quarterback job in a more balanced TCU offense than last season, and the TCU will hold up better against the Sooners’ attack. It’ll be a lower scoring game than last year’s 59-point combined total. Oklahoma will need this game, and thanks to a big late run by Samaje Perine and a strong late drive on the legs of Perine and Joe Mixon, Oklahoma gets its 24-20 victory.