Ranking the '09 Schedule (12-7)

The schedule's been complete for awhile, and it's getting to the time of year where people are starting to analyze it with opening day just more than two months away.

As a result, Sooners Illustrated is ready to rank the games in terms of their importance on the national stage in 2009.

We will count down from 12 to 1, with the six least important coming in the first part and the top six to follow.

12. OU vs. Idaho State, Sept. 12: Can you say Tennessee-Chattanooga all over again? This should certainly be over by halftime, if not by the end of the first quarter. It will be a good break after a grueling opening game against Brigham Young University.

11. OU vs. Texas A&M, Nov. 14: The Aggies were awful last year and shouldn't be a whole lot better next season, making for an anticlimactic matchup. This home game comes in between a couple of monster road games for the Sooners, which include a trip to Lincoln to face the Cornhuskers and a road date with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

10. OU vs. Baylor, Oct. 10:Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin is something to see with his incredible size and athletic ability as the Bears' leader. He has the potential to cause some problems for the Sooner defense in their Big 12 opener, but it shouldn't be much of a game on OU's home field.

9. OU vs. Kansas State, Oct. 31: Perhaps the only reason this game jumps over the other two Big 12 matchups below it is because K-State head coach Bill Snyder came out of retirement in the offseason and is set to make a return to Norman against a couple of OU coaches that grew up around him in the Kansas State system. OU head coach Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Brent Venables grew early in their careers under Snyder, and this adds hype to a game that otherwise would be a big blowout.

8. OU vs. Tulsa, Sept. 19: It may not be OU-OSU, but it's still two intrastate teams squaring off in a nationally televised game. For the Sooners, it's likely an easy win, but the Golden Hurricane have a different mindset. They would like to put up more of a fight than the last time the two took to the gridiron against each other in what turned out to be a 62-21 OU shellacking of Tulsa on the Golden Hurricane's home field.

7. OU @ Kansas, Oct. 24: A year ago this likely would have been in the top three, but Kansas will drop off a little bit nationally, and most people won't see this as an upset. Nevertheless, senior quarterback Todd Reesing is back, and look for him to have some success throwing the football and leading his team like he did a year ago. While many won't believe it, the Jayhawks are a team that could potentially sneak up and beat the Sooners. They are a team that could compete for the north title again, so it does have some importance.

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