Strength of Schedule: West Virginia

Strength of Schedule: West Virginia

Sooners must open Big 12 schedule with focus against upstart Mountaineers

Big 12 play opens in Week 4 with a new – yet formidable – opponent for the Sooners. West Virginia, the fifth-ranked team on this list, has been a thorn for Oklahoma the previous two years. The Sooners have come away with a two victories but by a combined 10 total points. Led by Dana Holgorsen, Oklahoma State's former offensive coordinator, the Mountaineers will be the second of two challenges early in the season.

5. West Virginia

2013 record: 4-8

Last year vs. OU: 16-7, Oklahoma

Why this game is dangerous: West Virginia has been knocking on the door for two years now. The Sooners held on in a shootout two years ago in Morgantown, WV, for a one-point victory. Last year, quarterback Trevor Knight was exposed, but Oklahoma's defense held firm for a 16-7 victory. A trip back to Morgantown could be a sign of trouble for the Sooners, especially if Oklahoma has a hangover from its game against Tennessee or West Virginia still is riding a monsoon of momentum after an upset of Alabama in its season-opener.

Players to watch: West Virginia starting quarterback Clint Trickett, who transferred from Florida State, is a dynamic playmaker. Injured for much of last year, Trickett is a wild card and for the first time on this list could give Oklahoma a challenge. He might also be the best quarterback the Sooners will have seen up until that point of the season.

Prediction: While it's low on the list, this might be the best chance for Oklahoma to suffer an unexpected upset. West Virginia has athletes that the Sooners haven't had to face with the first four teams on the list, especially at running back, a position where the Mountaineers' No. 3 and No. 4 backs were both starters at one point. Ultimately, there are too many holes on defense for Oklahoma to exploit. This one will be more of a shootout that last year, but expect a wider margin – something in the neighborhood of 42-28.

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