The Norman Transcript

September 25, 2013

Big games are a big lure for Sooners

Playing traditional powers sells the program

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma has made it a point to play at least one non-conference game against a traditional power over the last dozen years. Saturday’s game with Notre Dame completes a home-and-home series that adds to that long list.

In addition to the Irish, there have been games with Alabama in 2002 and 2003, UCLA in 2003 and 2005, Oregon in 2004 and 2006, Washington in 2006 and 2008, Miami in 2007 and 2009, and Florida State in 2010 and 2011. Also, OU will be playing Tennessee, Ohio State, LSU and Nebraska in years to come.

Undoubtedly, playing a schedule like that will help the Sooners when strength of schedule becomes a major component of the college football playoff system set to begin in 2014.

But there’s another reason OU has shown a willingness to play major powers in the non-conference schedule.

“This is why you come here. You come here to play in big games,” OU offensive lineman Bronson Irwin said. “You play Oklahoma State and Texas every year and those are obviously big games. But you throw in a non-conference game like Notre Dame; or we played against Florida State twice and it was big. It’s very enticing to a young recruit that wants to come in and play against the best.”