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Ranking 2019 Big 12 Non-Conference Games, No. 9: Oklahoma at UCLA

NCAA Football: UCLA at Oklahoma

Over the coming days, we will have some fun ranking the top 10 non-conference games in the 2019 Big 12 football season. Of course, there was plenty of debate, but this list was compiled by HCS writers Pete Mundo and Derek Duke. Some we agreed on, others we didn’t, and we simply averaged out our differences to find the top 10 games in September that Big 12 fans will have a chance to start anticipating as the college football season (finally!) approaches.

Previously ranked

No. 10: Kansas at Boston College

 

No. 9: The Oklahoma Sooners at the UCLA Bruins

Despite both being nationally-recognized brands, this was not much of a game during the 2018 season as Lincoln Riley and the Sooners dominated the Bruins in Norman 49-21 behind over 370 total yards from Kyler Murray. But that was also Chip Kelly’s first season in Los Angeles, which was clearly a rebuilding year, as they went on to a 3-9 finish.

Granted, the Bruins probably won’t have things completely turned around this fall, but Kelly is making strides. First off, the team started 0-5 before closing the season with a big win over Cal as well as tight victories against Arizona and USC. The offense returns most of its two-deep, led by QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and RB Joshua Kelly. Plus, this game in 2019 is at UCLA, which gives them some semblance of an advantage as well.

Meantime, OU will still be a double-digit favorite heading into this game, but it’ll be our first look at (likely) starting QB Jalen Hurts in an OU uniform against a Power 5 opponent. Last season UCLA had a bend-but-don’t-break defense that seemed to break too often, so this won’t be Hurts’ toughest test, but it’ll be a good first test as he gets comfortable operating under Lincoln Riley.

While we wish this game had more hype to it, based on the history of each program, it’s still going to be a good benchmark for both teams and a telltale sign of what’s to come in conference play.

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