College football is home to some of the best storylines in American sports. When Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for USC and Brent Venables replaced him, that was yet another juicy bit of drama in a sport where one coach called another coach a narcissist about seven times in the span of about three minutes.
There are more than a few teams I need to see the Sooners play now that Brent Venables is back where he belongs. Some teams are obvious ones, but there are some that may surprise you.
Here are the rules:
No SEC teams. We will see all of them eventually
That’s it, that’s the only rule
So who should the Sooners play in this new era of Oklahoma Football?
Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. This choice is obvious.
The marketing writes itself.
Riley vs. Venables, past vs. present, Trojans vs. Sooners. This would be an absolute banger of a matchup. However, it will probably be awhile before we get to see it.
I highly doubt USC will want to schedule Oklahoma at any point in the regular season, so the only way we’ll see this matchup is if both teams make it to the College Football Playoff.
Since the Trojans were a piping hot mess when Riley arrived, they’ll need a year or two or three before being able to meet Oklahoma in the postseason.
Ideally, a matchup between OU and USC would be in about three or four years. By then, both Venables and Riley will have their respective programs to their liking. Whether Alex Grinch and Jeff Lebby are still around by that time, who know?
I just can’t talk myself into thinking that USC will want to put OU on their schedule at any point. Can you imagine what it would be like at Gaylord Memorial if Lincoln Riley walked in?
Clemson running back Darien Rencher (21), left, linebacker James Skalski (47), defensive coordinator Brent Venables , and head coach Dabo Swinney smile during the alma mater after Clemson beat Syracuse 17-14 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, Friday, October 15, 2021.
Again, Obvious choice is obvious.
Oklahoma and Clemson are currently scheduled to play in 2035 and again in 2036
This home-and-home was scheduled back in 2019, so the Venables hire had nothing to do with these games.
That being said, I really don’t want to wait until I’m 34 years old to see Brent Venables go up against Clemson.
Firstly, we don’t know if Venables or Dabo Swinney will still be in their respective jobs by the time we get to 2030 let alone 2035.
I just want to see Venables go up against the school he called home for a decade. I want to see Venables’ players up against Swinney’s players.
Sadly, much like a USC matchup, the only way we’re getting this game, barring an unforeseen scheduling, is in the College Football Playoff.
That being said, a national championship between these two schools would be electric.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Apr 23, 2022; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman watches warmups before the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Hear me out on this one.
Brian Kelly’s departure from Notre Dame to LSU was another shocking move at the end of last season. Much like Oklahoma, head coaches don’t just up and leave Notre Dame. It’s unheard of.
So while Kelly was the subject of some very strange clips on social media, Notre Dame replaced him with their own defensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman, leading to this amazing video:
I’m an absolute sucker for this kind of video. The way the players immediately mobbed their new head coach was just amazing.
A matchup between the Sooners and Fighting Irish would be more compelling than you might think. There’s a few simmilarities between OU and Notre Dame’s new head coaches and how they were hired:
Their predecessors left very abruptly and uncermoniously
They played both linebacker during their playing days
They were both linebackers coaches
They were both defensive coordinators the year before getting hired as head coaches
They are both on their first head coaching stint
For awhile, it felt like every big hire in both college and NFL football was a young, offensive-minded guru. Not so for Oklahoma and Notre Dame. They both went with defensive coordinators who both seem to resonate with their players.
OU-Notre Dame at Southbend in the snow. Give me 60 minutes of good old-fashioned, smash-mouth, defensive football.
So that’s three teams I really want to see the Sooners play in the Brent Venables era. Who knows? College football is an ever-changing landscpae, so we could very see all three of these matchups happening soon.