Oklahoma Odds and Ends: SEC Schedule and Portal Updates

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Sooners’ 2024 SEC schedule was announced amid much fanfare. Oklahoma will be playing seven of their twelve games in Norman and the Red River Rivalry will once again be played in Dallas. So, that means OU will only play four true road games in their first season in the SEC.

Oklahoma’s 2024 Schedule

Aug. 31: vs. Temple, Sept. 7: vs. Houston, Sept. 14: vs. Tulane, Sept. 21: vs. Tennessee, Sept. 28: @ Auburn, Oct. 12: vs. Texas (in Dallas), Oct. 19: vs. South Carolina, Oct. 26: @ Ole Miss, Nov. 2: vs. Maine, Nov. 9: @ Missouri, Nov. 23: vs. Alabama, Nov. 30: @ LSU

The first thing that jumps out about the schedule is the matchup against the Auburn Tigers. It would have been hard to find a tougher environment for the Sooners to play in for their first-ever road SEC game. Jordan-Hare Stadium is always one of the loudest stadiums in the country, regardless of how good Auburn is. While the Tigers may have had a down year in 2023, expect their fans to bring lots of energy when Oklahoma rolls into Auburn.

Despite the difficulties that come with playing at Jordan-Hare, Oklahoma should realistically be 5-0 entering their Red River matchup against the Texas Longhorns on October 12. Not only should OU have done well before Red River, but they also have a bye week before the game so that everyone can have a chance to heal and be healthy for one of the biggest contests of the season.

After Texas, the Sooners could be favored in their next four games prior to their momentous game versus the Alabama Crimson Tide. Road games at the Ole Miss Rebels and Missouri Tigers could prove troublesome, especially considering those games are a year away. A lot can change between now and then, but given Oklahoma’s current trajectory, they figure to be favored against the South Carolina Gamecocks, Ole Miss, the Maine Black Bears, and Missouri.

The season finishes with two great matchups: a home game against Alabama and on the road against the LSU Tigers. The Crimson Tide are sure to be in College Football Playoff contention next year and will probably be the preseason favorites to win the SEC and possibly the national championship. The Sooners are going to find out very quickly how well they can stand up to the SEC’s best when they clash with the Crimson Tide and things won’t get any easier the following week.

LSU had a subpar season in 2023, but they still went 9-3 and their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy, so it’s safe to say that they will also present a difficult challenge for the Sooners. Tiger Stadium is also known to be a raucous environment, which, at the very least, should provide an entertaining conclusion to OU’s 2024 regular season.

All things told, the Sooners have a very exciting schedule lined up for next season and will surely be tested in their first season in the Southeastern Conference. It’s not hard to envision Oklahoma winning ten games again, but things can change so quickly in-season, but it’s best not to speculate on that yet.

Transfer Portal News

Since our last Sooners’ portal roundup, a few players have announced their decisions regarding Oklahoma and the portal. Most notably, freshman All-American offensive lineman Cayden Green announced his decision to enter the portal after just one season with the Sooners.

Before Green left, he was to be the only returning starter on the OU offensive line. But now the Sooners are going to have to dip into the portal and their bench players to replace their entire line. Green’s decision caught everyone by surprise, including his coaches and teammates, but that’s just the way college football works in the era of the transfer portal. 

Oklahoma has already snagged one lineman from the portal, Spencer Brown from the Michigan State Spartans, who was the most sought-after tackle in the portal. They are almost sure to take at least one more lineman to bolster their depth.

The good news for the Sooners is that they received three commitments from other portal players: Dezjhon Malone, a defensive back from San Diego State Aztecs, Deion Burks, a receiver from the Purdue Boilermakers, and Sam Franklin, a running back from the UT-Martin Skyhawks. 

Malone is a rising senior from Fresno, California, who was very productive in the Mountain West. He played cornerback for the Aztecs and has four interceptions in his career. He was also named to the 2023 Honorable-Mention All-Mountain West team.

Burks was the highest-rated wide receiver in the portal and should help bring the OU receiving corps to an even higher level. He is a rising redshirt junior from Belleville, Michigan, who is electric after the catch. He hauled in 47 balls for 629 yards and seven touchdowns this season for the Boilermakers. The 5’11, 195-pound receiver profiles as a slot player with high-end speed and absolutely improves an already talented group of skill players for Oklahoma.

Franklin, who hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, brings much-needed depth to Oklahoma’s running back room after it was depleted by the portal. The rising redshirt junior was lights out for the Skyhawks and was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the best offensive player in the FCS. This year, he finished with 1,386 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Expect him to compete for the backup running back job with Jovantae Barnes.

That gives Oklahoma four commitments from the transfer portal, and with national signing day just around the corner, the (almost) offseason is just beginning to heat up for Sooners.


Main Image: © NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

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