Every Thursday, the SoonerNation staff will answer a roundtable question about OU football. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.
Today's question: Which game in 2013, outside of at Notre Dame and at Oklahoma State, should be considered a land mine for the Sooners?
• The Sooners have one of the toughest schedules in the country, with 11 of their 12 opponents coming off bowl appearances. The three-game gauntlet of Notre Dame (Sept. 28), TCU (Oct. 5) and Texas (Oct. 12) will be the defining stretch of the season. But another game OU ought to be wary of is a Nov. 16 trip to Waco. Baylor ended the 2012 season as one of the hottest teams in the country, and while QB Nick Florence and WR Terrance Williams are gone, the Bears return plenty of firepower. The last time the Sooners went to Waco they lost in dramatic fashion, and Kansas State and Oklahoma State found out how tough it is to win there this past season. The Sooners are capable of escaping October unscathed. That visit to Baylor, however, is capable of derailing them, too.
- Jake Trotter
• Oklahoma's schedule is littered with potholes. Road tests at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State stand out; Texas will always be a battle; Baylor is improving; and TCU at home sandwiched between ND and UT could be a trap game. Yet, it could be West Virginia that ends up being the land-mine matchup for the Sooners. How could it possibly be WVU after the Mountianeers lose quarterback Geno Smith, receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin? Well, for one, that sounds an awful lot like OU's secondary, which only returns cornerback Aaron Colvin and nickelback Gabe Lynn. Secondly, the Mountaineers will step on the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium turf on Sept. 7. That's an early date for a Sooners secondary that will be inexperienced. And, against WVU, five mental busts in the secondary could result in five touchdowns. It would be different if WVU came to Norman in November, after OU's secondary had some quality experience. But with Dana Holgorsen's offensive attack arriving in September, it could be a nightmare matchup for OU's inexperienced defense.
- Brandon Chatmon
• The road game at Notre Dame is circled. The Red River Rivalry is always emotional, regardless of win-loss records. But nestled right in between those games is an Oct. 5 home date against TCU. The Horned Frogs showed in 2012 they can compete in the Big 12. And with quarterback Casey Pachall expected to return in 2013, nobody would look at you crazily saying TCU is a favorite for the conference championship behind that defense. Three home losses in two seasons has taken away some of the mystique at Owen Field, as the Sooners have looked normal in Norman lately. If OU struggles with the Irish, the TCU game won't be a week in which the Sooners can get things figured out. The Horned Frogs will give OU a battle every step of the way.
- Bob Przybylo