Before the season, Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Iowa State looked to be one of the top matchups of the season in the Big 12. It still might be, but with each team suffering an early loss there is a different tone to the contest in Ames, Iowa. For No. 18 Oklahoma, it is almost an elimination game.
The Sooners have won five consecutive conference titles and have reached the College Football Playoff for three consecutive seasons, but their ability to continue either of those streaks is in doubt after last week’s 38-35 loss to Kansas State. It was the first September loss for the Sooners since Lincoln Riley replaced Bob Stoops as head coach in 2017.
The Sooners have a long track record of bouncing back from losses. The last time Oklahoma dropped consecutive regular-season games was in 1999, Stoops’ first season. The Sooners haven’t started 0-2 in Big 12 play since the year before that. The Cyclones bounced back from that opening-game disappointment, starting conference play with a 37-34 win over TCU last week.
The series has been largely lopsided with the Sooners winning 20 of the last 21 meetings and 24 consecutive games in Ames since 1961. But since Matt Campbell’s arrival, the Cyclones have been competitive against Oklahoma. Each of the last four meetings has been decided by 10 or fewer points and Iowa State pulled off an upset at Oklahoma in 2017.