By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Big 12 Conference released its 2013 football schedule on Tuesday and Oklahoma announced its entire schedule as well.
The Sooners will open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 at Owen Field against Louisiana-Monroe. The conference schedule will begin earlier than it ever has. West Virginia will come to Norman on Sept. 7.
“Our scheduling philosophy has been well documented over the years. We work annually to ensure that our schedule is challenging and gives our team an opportunity of competing for championships,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are excited about opening our Big 12 Conference schedule at home and look forward to facing quality competition throughout the year.”
OU will play the first three weeks of the season. The three-game run ends on Sept. 14 when Tulsa comes to Owen Field.
After the open date, the Sooners close out their non-conference schedule on Sept. 28 at Notre Dame.
TCU makes its first appearance in Norman as a member of the Big 12 on Oct. 5.
The 108th meeting between Oklahoma and Texas will be held in Dallas on Oct. 12 as the Sooners look for their fourth straight win in the storied Red River Rivalry played in the Cotton Bowl. The OU-Texas game will be followed by a trip to face Kansas on Oct. 19. Texas Tech visits Owen Field on Oct. 26.
OU enjoys an open date on Nov. 2 before resuming its schedule on Nov. 9 at Baylor. Oklahoma returns home to host Iowa State on Nov. 16.
The Sooners finish their regular season schedule with back-to-back Big 12 road contests for the first time since 2010. Oklahoma visits Kansas State on Nov. 23. The regular season concludes on Dec. 7 as the Bedlam Series returns to Stillwater.
Sticking up for the D: OU wide receiver Kenny Stills took up for the Sooners when asked about the unit’s issues last week against West Virginia.
“You guys are tough on the defense but there’s not a lot of defenses out there that can stop Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey and Geno Smith,” he said. “Those guys are the real deal. It wasn’t anything that had to do with our players. They were just unstoppable. I wouldn’t say anything is wrong with our defense but we’ve been there, we’ve had our struggles. I’ve told all the guys on defense, plenty of times since Saturday, those guys were unstoppable. Every once in a while we’re going to have to trade points and come out on top.”
However, Oklahoma State held the Mountaineers at bay when it beat them, 55-34 on Nov. 10.
Goal is still out there: The Sooners’ hopes of winning the Big 12 championship were rekindled by Kansas State’s loss to Baylor last Saturday.
The Wildcats still hold the tiebreaker over OU, but both teams have one conference loss.
“With these last couple weeks with how college football’s been going, anything could happen,” defensive tackle Casey Walker said. “Who thought K-State was gonna lose to Baylor? I didn’t. You’ve just gotta keep going forward and keep playing good football from here on out, because you never know what’s gonna happen.”
No doubt: OU quarterback Landry Jones picked up the one individual achievement his career lacked against West Virginia: he led the Sooners to a come-from-behind victory.
Jones always believed he was capable of doing that. Now he heads into the Bedlam game knowing he can do it again if needed.
“It was a confidence booster. I don’t know if I’ve ever doubted myself in those situations,” he said. “Those situations are a matter of executing football. It’s not any different than any other situation. It’s about going out there and playing ball and playing ball at a high level. It was a confidence booster, but I don’t know if I ever doubted myself in those situations.”
John ShinnFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.