Oklahoma and Houston will open the 2016 season on Sept. 3 in the Advocare Texas Kickoff at NRG Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans. The Cougars will then make a return trip to Norman to play at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019.
“The greater Houston area has long been a stronghold of support for OU,” said OU vice president and director of athletics, Joe Castiglione. “We are excited to showcase our program in one of the nation's largest markets and an NFL venue that has hosted the Super Bowl.”
The Sooners were originally slated to begin the 2016 season at home against ULM. That game has now been moved to Sept. 10, 2016.
The 2016 Advocare Texas Kickoff will mark Oklahoma's second visit to NRG Stadium. The Sooners defeated Colorado by a 29-7 margin in the 2002 Big 12 Championship Game to earn OU's first-ever berth in the Rose Bowl. Three-time All-Big 12 honoree Quentin Griffin carried the Sooner offense in the victory, totaling 29 rushes for 188 yards with two touchdowns. Oklahoma's defense allowed a mere 193 total net yards in the win.
The Sooners are 2-0 in two previous meetings against the Cougars. In the lone contest between the two schools during the tenure of head coach Bob Stoops, Oklahoma claimed a 63-13 win at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 11, 2004. The initial contest in series history was the 1981 Sun Bowl as head coach Barry Switzer guided the Sooners to a 40-14 victory in El Paso, Texas.
The Sooners' roster is perennially laden with some of the top prep players from the state of Texas. A distinguished litany of Oklahoma Football alumni call the Houston area home. The list of All-America OU players who have hailed from the Houston area include the likes of Joe Washington (Port Arthur), Greg Pruitt (Houston), Darrell Reed (Cypress), Cedric Jones (Houston) and Quintin Griffin (Humble).
Oklahoma's initial contest in Houston came in the 1968 Bluebonnet Bowl as the Sooners lost a 28-27 decision to SMU. The Sooners made a return trip to the region for the 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl against head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and the University of Alabama. Oklahoma's Bruce Derr connected on a 42-yard field goal late in the game as the Sooners registered a 24-24 tie against the Crimson Tide.
Houston is the latest opponent added to Oklahoma's non-conference schedule in the upcoming seasons. That slate includes contests against Tennessee (2014 & 2015), Ohio State (2016 & 2017), UCLA (2018 & 2019), Army (2018 & 2020), Nebraska (2021 & 2022) and Michigan (2025 & 2026).