After months of anticipation and reported haggling behind the scenes, the Big 12 finally released its 2023 football schedule on Tuesday.
In what may be their final season in the conference, the Oklahoma Sooners will travel for games against Big 12 newcomers BYU and Cincinnati. OU will take on one of the other new additions, Central Florida, in Norman. The Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys may stage the last edition of the Bedlam rivalry game for the foreseeable future when OU ventures north to Stillwater on Nov. 4.
The moment you have all been waiting for since September 10, 2021…— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) January 31, 2023
Introducing the 2023 #Big12FB Schedule
️ https://t.co/JXIqy2hBYK pic.twitter.com/myhFjT9K2v
This year will see OU and the Texas Longhorns tangle at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during the first weekend of October, a periodic anomaly in the annual Red River Shootout.
OU fans will undoubtedly complain about the 2023 package of home games. At the request of the SEC, the Sooners’ game against two-time defending national champion Georgia got wiped off this season’s schedule. Instead, OU replaced what would have been one of college football’s marquee non-conference showdowns with a matchup against SMU in Norman on September 9. The remainder of the home slate:
- Arkansas State (September 2)
- Iowa State (September 30)
- UCF (October 21)
- West Virginia (November 11)
- TCU (November 24 - Black Friday)
Additionally, the fact that OU-Texas will be the Sooners’ only appearance in the Lone Star State probably isn’t appreciated by anyone in the athletic department – not that the Big 12 office cares. OU generally enjoys the opportunity to play in front of recruits multiple times per season in one of college football’s biggest hotbeds of talent. Besides OSU, true road games this year include:
- Tulsa (September 16)
- Cincinnati (September 23)
- Kansas (October 28)
- BYU (November 11)
The glass-half-full members of Sooner Nation might look at 2023 as a rare chance to visit Provo and Cincy, though. And a game at Tulsa will likely feel like something closer to a home date for OU.
From a competitive standpoint, the Sooners don’t have too much argue with here. First, they miss a trip to defending Big 12 champ Kansas State. The Wildcats have had OU’s number since they hired head coach Chris Klieman prior to the 2019 season. Their wins over the Sooners include last year’s 41-34 victory in Norman.
Additionally, the Sooners avoid games against improving squads from Texas Tech and Baylor and one of the more promising prospects among the teams moving to the Power 5 level in Houston.
If you’re looking for possible landmines, keep an eye on OU’s date with the Bearcats on September 23. The Sooners play in Cincy a week after they visit Tulsa – the trip up the turnpike to T-town isn’t a long one, but it’s still back-to-back road trips. Notably, Bedlam is also the second of consecutive road games for OU, while the Pokes will be playing their second straight home contest.
Finally, with the schedule release now complete, don’t be surprised if the announcement of an agreement for OU and Texas to leave the Big 12 comes soon.