The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

August 29, 2010

Are the Sooners needlessly facing too many tough teams too early?

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s had a scheduling philosophy for nearly a decade that’s been pretty simple: If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

It’s meant just about every September it’s face multiple ranked teams before entering Big 12 Conference play.

This year is no exception with the Sooners hosting No. 20 Florida State Sept. 11 and going to Cincinnati Sept. 25.

But even OU coach Bob Stoops admits he doesn’t know how wise it is for the Sooners to expose themselves to those kinds of non-conference games.

“I’m not so sure that I embrace it anymore,” Stoops said. “I don’t know how much it helps you. It all gets down to if you lose one game by a point to one of those teams, and someone else plays four teams that are easy, and at the end of the year you have one more loss than they don, they’re going to be ranked ahead of you.”

Texas faces Rice, Wyoming, UCLA and Florida Atlantic as its non-conference schedule. None of those teams are ranked and only the Bruins seemingly have a chance of cracking the Top 25 at some point this year.

Nebraska goes to Washington Sept. 18. It’s other three non-conference foes are Western Kentucky, Idaho and South Dakota State.

There might be a benefit for the Sooners if strength of schedule were still a major component in the BCS standings. It still factors into the computer rankings. Perhaps, some coaches who vote in their poll or some in the Harris Poll electorate give it some credence. But who beat hasn’t been as important as winning since the strength of schedule component was eliminated after the 2003 season.

If it were still there, OU could enter the 2010 season knowing if it won all its regular-season games it’s path to the national championship game would be clear.

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