Oklahoma football: Sooners prepare for home stretch

oklahoma football

Going into Week 11 of the college football season, the Sooners are currently staring down the home stretch of conference as they go through their bye week. With only three games left, Oklahoma football still has to face three strong league contenders with Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Baylor to finish out the season.

Luckily for the Sooners, ending the season this way is something they tend to see every year. Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Baylor have been their last three games for multiple years with the three of them typically being strong contenders.

The only thing that makes this year different is the position Oklahoma football is currently in. Normally when the Sooners reach the home stretch of their season, they typically sit at the top of the Big 12 with somewhat of a comfortable lead. However, Oklahoma State is currently sitting ahead of Oklahoma with West Virginia biting at their heels.

Following the Kansas blow out this past weekend, head coach Lincoln Riley seemed just as much at ease as any other year coming into their final weeks of the season.

“I think you kind of just take it as it is. I think we would be expected to play well whether we had a bye week or not and we do have one so let’s take advantage of it,” Riley said.

Riley emphasized the importance of the bye week to capitalize on past mistakes and ensure their readiness for the next few weeks. The Sooners are not necessarily sitting in a bad place in the Big 12 right now. The issue is five out of the 10 teams in the Big 12 aren’t sitting in a bad position.

Iowa State currently leads the division at 5-1 followed by Oklahoma State, who is 4-1, with the next three teams (including the Sooners) all sitting at 4-2. By now in the Big 12 there tends to be a much more clear divide between the top and the middle of the division than what we are seeing this season.

It is fair to say that Big 12 is a competitive conference especially considering it is a part of the Power 5. Nonetheless, we certainly have not seen the Big 12 this competitive from top to (almost) bottom in quite some time.

Riley once again is not concerned for the next coming weeks even with the level of competitiveness we have seen in the last three months.

I think it’s been pretty deep in the last several years so I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I don’t know that there’s anybody that you look at and say didn’t think they’re gonna be very good and all of a sudden they’re really good. I think everybody’s pretty solid,” Riley said.

Though Riley expanded on one thing that appears to be unique this year is the ample amount of returning quarterbacks. With so many teams having quarterbacks with a full season under their belt, the Sooners in a way are put at an offensive disadvantage with Spencer Rattler a QB due to his inexperience.

I think any time you have a league that’s got as many returning starting quarterbacks as this one did. I think that’s a big starting point. There’s a lot of good defenses and good defensive players in this league. It’s always tough and always tough to predict too. Especially in a year like this,” Riley said.

All in all, Oklahoma football is clear there is one goal in mind for the remainder of the season - it has to win out. With two losses so early on, for the Sooners to make it to postseason play and secure a spot in the Big-12 Championship plus a solid bowl game, it is important they remain on top of their game just like we have seen in the past few weeks.