With the college football season a week away, we take a look at the Sooners schedule. This covers the final six games of the 2013 season. Check out the first half of the Sooners' season here.
Game Seven: October 19, Away vs. Kansas
The fact the Jayhawks have been pretty awful the past several years has not been lost on coach Charlie Weis, who referred to his team as "a pile of crap" at Big 12 Media Days last month. Weis has attempted to improve the team by bringing in 19 junior college transfers for some immediate impact. BYU transfer Jake Heaps will take over at quarterback and he'll have one of the best backs in the Big 12, James Sims, behind him. The offensive line and wide receivers lack experience, but there are several talented options at receiver, including former Oklahoma player Justin McCay. Defensively, KU is hoping a line made up entirely of junior college prospects provides some punch up front. Linebacker Ben Heeney will be the anchor of the unit, while the secondary will be looking to gain experience on the fly. If the junior college recruits pan out how Weis and the Jayhawks hope they will, Kansas could surprise some people in 2013.
Game Eight: October 26, Home vs. Texas Tech
Kliff Kingsbury takes over at his alma mater, easily one of the most intriguing hires of the offseason. Kingsbury hopes to continue the Air Raid tradition at Tech that began when he was the starting quarterback for the Red Raiders. Michael Brewer takes over at quarterback and will have more than enough weapons to work with, most notably running back Kenny Williams, receiver Eric Ward and tight end Jace Amaro. The main concern on offense is the offensive line, which returns two starters from last season. Defensively, the Red Raiders are set in the front seven as all starters return from a year ago, led by defensive tackle Kerry Hyder. The secondary is completely new, but not without experience. Things won't be different for Texas Tech in 2013, but a lot hangs on the development of the offensive line and defensive backfield.
Game Nine, September 7 (Thursday), Away vs. Baylor
The Bears are no longer the punching bags of the Big 12, not with Art Briles as head coach, one of the most powerful offenses in the country and a brand new stadium on the way for 2014. Quarterback Bryce Petty steps up as the next in line after Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence. Running back Lache Seastrunk looks to back up his prediction of winning the Heisman Trophy after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last season. The Bears have plenty of weapons on the outside as well, most notably receiver Tevin Reese. The offensive line has some holes to fill, but Cyril Richardson is a solid anchor to build around. The defense has been bad the past few seasons, but returns eight starters from last year's unit and is more athletic across the board. In an offensive-minded league, good defense doesn't mean the same as it does in other parts of the country. If the Bears can find just enough defense to keep opponents at bay, they very well could challenge for a conference title.
Game 10: November 16, Home vs. Iowa State
The Cyclones seem to face the same problems every season—suspect skill positions on offense, not enough athletes on defense—but almost always defy expectations anyway. 2013 will be no different, as the Cyclones come into the season hoping junior college recruit Aaron Wimberly can be a force in the running game. Iowa State hasn't had a 1,000 yard back since 2009. Sam Richardson took over at quarterback down the stretch of 2012 and is firmly entrenched as the starter this season. The receiving corps is young, so Richardson will have to work on developing chemistry with the new group. Defensively, the loss of linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott definitely hurts, but the presence of Jeremiah George should bring some stability to the position. The Cyclones will really need some people to step up on the defensive line while relying on the secondary, which should be the strength of the unit.
Game 11: November 23, Away vs. Kansas State
The biggest rule in college football: never underestimate Bill Snyder. While it may seem unlikely the Wildcats will duplicate last season's run to the Fiesta Bowl, Kansas State has a lot of talent returning and a fantastic coach to lead them. Collin Klein is gone, but Daniel Sams or junior college transfer Jake Waters will be plenty capable of leading the KSU offense. Running back John Hubert and receivers Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett return to give the Wildcats a plethora of skill position players. The offensive line also returns four starters. If the Wildcats can get consistent quarterback play, the offense shouldn't see much of a drop off. Defensively, the Wildcats don't return a single defensive lineman that made a start a year ago. Linebacker Tre Walker will have to lead the unit along with safety Ty Zimmerman, one of the best in the country. This unit was stingy a year ago, but KSU may be relying on its offense to carry the day while developing depth and talent on defense.
Game 12: December 7, Away vs. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys were picked to win the Big 12 for the first time since the conference's inception and the main reason is its powerful offense. Senior quarterback Clint Chelf returns as the likely starter, although coach Mike Gundy has yet to officially name him as the starter. Chelf started the last five games of the season for Oklahoma State after starting the year third on the depth chart. He's surrounded by a plethora of wide receivers led by Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore. The Cowboys will miss running back Joseph Randle, but Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland will be able to fill the void at running back. On defense, the Cowboys are preaching an aggressive approach under new coordinator Glenn Spencer. The interior of the defensive line will be a strength, led by Calvin Barnett. Shaun Lewis anchors the defense from the middle linebacker position. The secondary has the potential to be very strong with three seniors and sophomore Kevin Peterson, who will play opposite Justin Gilbert at cornerback. With the Cowboys' wide-open offense, they're as good a bet to win the Big 12 as any team in the conference.