Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Listed by 247Sports as ‘Program Facing Pivotal Season in 2023’

The 2022 season was one to forget in Norman, Oklahoma. For the first time since 1998, Oklahoma finished the year with a losing record at 6-7 after a heartbreaking 35-32 loss to No. 11 Florida State in the Cheez-It Bowl.

It was a true “rebuilding year” for the Sooners, and every part of the team’s DNA proved that to be the case as the season progressed. OU lost five games by seven points or less, and four games by exactly three points.


There were promising moments, flabbergasting mistakes, and downright confusing outcomes over the course of Brent Venables’ first season in Norman. However, the 2022 season will not define Venables’ legacy at Oklahoma, nor will it define a program that has been the gold standard for college football since the modern era began.

At the same time, expectations are high at Oklahoma and that will not change in 2023 as Sooner Nation will expect its team to turn things around in a hurry and be back to competing for Big 12 Championships after a two-year hiatus. So, while 2022 didn’t define Venables’ legacy at OU, 2023 just might.

247Sports’ Brad Crawford named Oklahoma as a “college football program facing a pivotal season in 2023,” along with Ohio State, Miami, and Texas A&M among others. Here is what Crawford had to say about the Sooners’ upcoming season and why things might be looking up.


Oklahoma’s overhaul on defense may take longer than expected for Brent Venables, whose loss during bowl season sent the Sooners to their first losing season since 1998. Signing a top-five recruiting class for 2023 is absolutely the best offseason news Oklahoma could have received, however. Not only did the program land five-star quarterback Jackson Arnold, who will be “the guy” in 2024, following the departure of returning starter Dillon Gabriel this coming season in 2023. It made tremendous strides defensively with the arrival of five-star flip Peyton Bowen, five-star edge Adepoju Adebawore and several immediate impact Day 1 starters in the transfer portal, including defensive end Dasan McCullough. The Sooners gave up 461 yards per game and 30 points per game last season, their worst marks since the 2018 season under Lincoln Riley.

Brad Crawford, 247Sports

The Sooners have made some big-time additions through the transfer portal and in their fourth-ranked 2023 class, meaning that help is on the way. However, it also means that folks in Oklahoma will expect some major improvements in year two under Brent Venables, and that means the pressure is on in 2023.

As I mentioned earlier, Oklahoma lost five one-score games in 2022. The Sooners likely don’t need to improve that much to turn those games in their favor, and in doing so would’ve been an 11-team in 2022. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that 6-6 is the new standard in Norman, because things will likely be headed upward in 2023 and going forward.

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