Where do Oklahoma and their 2022 opponents rank in updated ESPN SP+ ratings?




 

It's projection season, and the Oklahoma Sooners are the favorites in the Big 12 several months from the start of the 2022 regular season. According to ESPN's SP+ ratings (ESPN+), the Sooners look like one of the best teams in the country.

SP+ considers returning production, recent recruiting results, and recent history of success. With departures for the NFL and through the transfer portal, the Sooners were No. 71 in returning production in February.

Their recruiting has been excellent in the last five years, regularly finishing with top 15 classes. While they lost quite a few of those recent signees to the transfer portal, Brent Venables and his staff did an excellent job of retooling their roster through the portal to account for the losses on the roster. That's part of why the Sooners are still so highly thought of.

And despite not winning the Big 12 in 2022, the Sooners still finished the season with 11 wins, the seventh time they accomplished such a feat in the last nine seasons. They had nine wins during the COVID-19 season. Though they were never able to break through to a national championship game, the Sooners have been one of the most successful teams in the country over the last decade.

Heading into 2022, the Sooners' strength of schedule should allow for them to stack up quite a few wins. According to the FPI, the Sooners' strength of schedule ranked No. 42 in the country and No. 8 in the Big 12. 247Sports ranked it as the sixth easiest among 2022 contenders.

Some of that can be reflected in their schedule for 2022 relative to ESPN's SP+ ratings. They have three opponents on their schedule that rank outside the top 100 in SP+; Kansas, UTEP, and Kent State. The highest-ranked team on the schedule is the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Though they won just three games in 2021, they're a team that many think highly of heading into 2022 (for some reason).

The highest-ranked Big 12 team is the Texas Longhorns. With their offense, Texas should be really good in 2022. If they can improve upon one of the worst defenses in the country from 2021, they'll be a contender in the Big 12 as long as Quinn Ewers lives up to the hype.

Defending Big 12 champion Baylor comes in at No. 40, the fifth highest-rated team in the Big 12. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL, like the Sooners did, but seem like a team due for a bit of regression after going from two wins to Big 12 champs in one season.

Taking a look out west, the USC Trojans look like a team that will depend heavily on their offense. They rank 24th in offensive SP+ and 84th in defensive SP+. While it will take time for Riley and the Trojans to rebuild a four-win team from 2021, some of the same problems may persist for Oklahoma's former head coach.

Let's take a look at how Oklahoma's 2022 opponents (and USC) rank in ESPN's SP+ ratings.

5. Oklahoma Sooners

 

Oklahoma's Ethan Downs (40) during the University of Oklahoma's annual spring football game at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, April 23, 2022. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Offense SP+ Rank: 5

Defense SP+ Rank: 24

29. Nebraska Cornhuskers

 

Sep 18, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker David Ugwoegbu (2) tackles Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Zavier Betts (15) during the first quarter at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 34

Defense SP+ Rank: 35

31. Texas Longhorns

 

April 23, 2022; Austin, TX, USA; Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) throws a pass during Texas's annual spring football game at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on April 23, 2022. Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY NETWORK

Offense SP+ Rank: 19

Defense SP+ Rank: 47

32. Oklahoma State Cowboys

 

Nov 2, 2019; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy looks back towards his bench during the fourth quarter of the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated TCU 34-27. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 49

Defense SP+ Rank: 22

38. Kansas State Wildcats

 

Oct 30, 2021; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn (22) is tackled by TCU Horned Frogs cornerback Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (1) during the third quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 43

Defense SP+ Rank: 36

40. Baylor Bears

 

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears running back Abram Smith (7) runs the ball against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half of the 2022 Sugar Bowl at the Caesars Superdome. Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 61

Defense SP+ Rank: 21

45. TCU Horned Frogs

 

Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) during the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 12

Defense SP+ Rank: 85

48. Texas Tech Red Raiders

 

Dec 28, 2021; Memphis, TN, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Donovan Smith (7) reacts after a touchdown during the second half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Liberty Bowl Stadium. Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 35

Defense SP+ Rank: 69

51. USC Trojans

 

Mar 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC football head coach Lincoln Riley attends the USC Trojans and the Arizona Wildcats men's basketball game at Galen Center. The Wildcats won 91-71. Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 24

Defense SP+ Rank: 84

56. Iowa State Cyclones

 

Dec 29, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson (8) reacts after a reception against the Clemson Tigers during the first half of the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 59

Defense SP+ Rank: 57

75. West Virginia Mountaineers

 

Nov 20, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Winston Wright Jr. (1) catches a pass for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 71

Defense SP+ Rank: 76

102. UTEP Miners

 

Nov 20, 2021; El Paso, Texas, USA; UTEP Miners offensive lineman Bobby DeHaro (73) speaks to his teammates before facing the Rice Owls at Sun Bowl Stadium. Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 112

Defense SP+ Rank: 82

103. Kent State Golden Flashes

 

Dec 21, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes running back Bryan Bradford (31) runs the ball during the second half against the Wyoming Cowboys at the 2021 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertsons Stadium. Wyoming defeats Kent State 52 to 38. Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 66

Defense SP+ Rank: 125

109. Kansas Jayhawks

 

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks cornerback Cam'Ron Dabney (16) celebrates after a touchdown against the Oklahoma Sooners during the second half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Offense SP+ Rank: 88

Defense SP+ Rank: 117

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