The wait is over. The college football season has finally arrived, which means thrilling weekends in Oklahoma are on the way — especially for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and University of Central Oklahoma fanatics.
If you’re a fan of all football in Oklahoma, this could be a busy fall for you. 405 Magazine has the top three games from our three most prominent state schools to help you schedule your Saturdays.
2022 season record: 6-7, lost to Florida State in Cheez-It Bowl
At Cincinnati Bearcats, Sept. 23
The Sooners’ last go-round in the Big 12 begins against the conference newcomer Cincinnati Bearcats, which is expected to be quite the test. Yes, Cincinnati took a small step back in 2022 by finishing 9-4 following its College Football Playoff appearance in 2021, but its offense is still high-powered, averaging 29.2 points per game in 2022. However, they’ll be playing a (fingers crossed) much-improved Sooners squad, so it should be exciting to see whose upswing will prevail.
At Texas Longhorns, Oct. 7
The bad news is remembering last year’s brutal 49-0 shutout in the Red River Rivalry. The good news is that, unlike last season, Dillon Gabriel will (hopefully) be healthy, and OU’s team stands to be all-around better. That includes transfers Walter Rouse and Caleb Shaffer, who were both major contributors to their respective teams’ offensive lines last season. Wide receiver Austin Stogner, who started his college career at OU and then transferred to South Carolina alongside Spencer Rattler in 2022, is returning to Norman for his final season.
Defensively, OU’s additions of Reggie Pearson, Davon Sears, Jacob Lacey, Rondell Bothroyd, Kendall Dennis, Dasan McCullough and Da’Jon Terry should go a long way to address issues from OU’s defense from last season.
And as we know, nine times out of 10, this particular game will provide immaculate rivalry vibes.
At Oklahoma State, Nov. 4
The last Bedlam we’ll see in the foreseeable future will surely be full of fireworks, suspense and memorable moments. But this isn’t the first rodeo for OU transfer Trace Ford, a star defensive lineman who transferred from OSU this offseason. With a rivalry line crossed and legacy at stake for the final winner of the bout (for the time being, anyway), this should be a great night of football in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
2022 season record: 7-6, lost to Wisconsin in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Vs. Cincinnati, Oct. 28
Something about the Bearcats coming off two highly competitive seasons makes me nervous about this matchup. OSU head coach Mike Gundy tends to be iffy going into unknown games like these, and this could easily be a tricky late-season blunder for the Cowboys, who don’t have the highest of expectations in 2023 after a 7-6 record in 2022.
Last season, Oklahoma State started strong at No. 7 with a 6-1 record before a K-State blowout loss and quarterback Spencer Sanders’ injuries marked a devastating downfall. Now, with new quarterback Alan Bowman and a slew of offensive transfers, OSU looks to stay solid in a shifting conference.
Vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 4
Yes, this is the last Bedlam appointment for the foreseeable future, so there’s a ton of anticipation there, but there’s also been some animosity between the two squads since the Sooners made their decision to move to the SEC.
“When Oklahoma decided to leave the Big 12, they chose to end Bedlam — it’s a one-sided deal,” Coach Gundy told reporter Brett McMurphy with Action Network this July. “People were trying to decide what happened and what needs to happen to make it go on. They kept pushing Oklahoma State into it. We didn’t have jack to do with that. They left the conference. Bedlam goes with it.” That means both teams will be especially motivated to end the series properly.
At UCF, Nov. 11
Nov. 11 against Central Florida will surely be an entertaining road matchup for the Cowboys after Bedlam; this could allow the Cowboys to either bounce back from a loss to OU or go on a late-season surge following a Bedlam win and end the season on a run.
Central Florida went 9-5 last season, finishing second in the American Athletic Conference, and will offer an excellent test for the Cowboys.
University of Central Oklahoma
2022 season record: 6-5
UCO’s marquee games include a home matchup against Nebraska-Kearney to kick off the season, an always-tough matchup against NW Missouri State in Week 6, followed by a season finale against Pittsburg State.
Vs. Nebraska-Kearney, Aug. 31
After a narrow 18-20 defeat in 2022, the Bronchos are looking for revenge in a resurgent season. Nebraska-Kearney, meanwhile, is coming off a highly efficient 8-3 season and looking to capitalize on its veteran roster. This will surely be another entertaining game with one more year of experience on UCO’s roster.
At NW Missouri State, Oct. 7
NW Missouri State has been the school that other MIAA teams have complained about for years, as they consistently dominate their Division II counterparts.
However, last season’s biggest upset came when Central Oklahoma knocked off NW Missouri State 23-14 in Edmond. Note that the Bearcats were ranked No. 2 in the Division II AFCA Coaches Poll when that happened, so they’ll surely host the Bronchos with revenge on their mind in 2023.
At Pittsburg State, Nov. 11
In one of, if not the biggest rivalries in the MIAA, the Bronchos are looking to answer last season’s nightmare on homecoming night by the then-fifth-ranked Gorillas, when they fell 38-7. Pitt State is expected to be at the top of the ranking again next year. Will UCO upset them?