Sooners miss out on New Year’s Six, land Alamo Bowl date with No. 14 Arizona

Sooners miss out on New Year’s Six, land Alamo Bowl date with No. 14 Arizona

No. 12 OU will close Year 2 under Brent Venables at the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28.

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

| Dec 3, 2023, 2:38pm CST

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

Dec 3, 2023, 2:38pm CST

NORMAN — Oklahoma will close its second season under Brent Venables in the Alamo Bowl against No. 14 Arizona. 

The Sooners (10-2) stayed put at No. 12 in the final College Football Playoff rankings Sunday afternoon, keeping OU out of the New Year’s Six and securing the program’s second trip to the Alamo Bowl in three seasons. The Sooners will kick off with Arizona (9-3) at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 28 in San Antonio.

Here’s what you need to know:

At No. 12 in last week’s College Football Playoff rankings, the Sooners sat on the outside looking in of the New Year’s Six bowl picture, needing to climb after Championship Saturday to secure a New Year’s Day game. 

Favorable results via Texas and SMU’s conference title game win, and Florida State’s exclusion from the four-team playoff field seemed to open the door for the Sooners to sneak into the New Year’s Six. Instead, OU held at No. 12 Sunday with two-loss peers No. 8 Oregon, No. 9 Missouri, No. 10 Penn State and No. 11 Ole Miss landing in the New Year’s Day games ahead of the Sooners.  

The CFP selection committee held a consistent view on the Sooners’ resume following losses to Kansas and No. 20 Oklahoma State. November blowouts of West Virginia and TCU didn’t push the needle. On paper, the distinction the committee appeared to make between the Sooners and the other two-loss program came down to quality losses.

Where the Sooners stood among their two-loss peers (ranked wins based on final CFP rankings): 

No. 12 Oklahoma

Ranked wins: No. 3 Texas, No. 24 SMU

Losses: Kansas, No. 20 Oklahoma State

No. 11 Ole Miss

Ranked wins: No. 13 LSU,

Losses: No. 4 Alabama, No. 6 Georgia

No 10. Penn State

Ranked wins: No. 17 Iowa 

Losses: No. 1 Michigan, No. 7 Ohio State

No. 9 Missouri

Ranked wins: No. 21 Tennessee, No. 25 Kansas State

Losses: No. 6 Georgia, No. 13 LSU

No. 8 Oregon

Ranked wins: No. 19 Oregon State

Losses: No. 2 Washington (Oct. 14, Dec. 1)

Left out of the New Year’s Six, OU’s attention turns to the Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl and a matchup with one of the best turnaround stories this season. After a 3-3 start under third-year coach Jedd Fisch, the Wildcats won their final six games to secure their first bowl game appearance since 2017. 

The Alamodome clash will mark the third all-time meeting between OU and Arizona. The Sooners topped the Wildcats in a 28-10 home win in September 1988. OU lost at Arizona in 1989.

The Sooners return to the Alamo Bowl chasing an 11th win in 2023 two years after the program’s first-ever trip to the bowl game. Interim coach Bob Stoops led OU to a 47-32 win over Oregon in the 2021 Alamo Bowl with Venables, hired weeks earlier, on the sidelines. 

With an Alamo Bowl victory, Venables would join Barry Switzer, Stoops and Lincoln Riley as the fourth coach in program history to reach the 11-win mark within his first two seasons.

Ticket information: OU season ticket holders can purchase Alamo Bowl tickets through online accounts beginning at 10 a.m. Monday. Student tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Per OU, a public sale for tickets will be held at 10 a.m Tuesday. 

 

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Eli Lederman reports on the University of Oklahoma for Sellout Crowd. He began his professional career covering the University of Missouri with the Columbia Missourian and later worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before two years writing on the Sooners and Cowboys at the Tulsa World. Born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York, Lederman grew up a rabid consumer of the New York sports pages and an avid fan of the New York Mets. He entered sportswriting at 14 years old and later graduated from the University of Missouri. Away from the keyboard, he can usually be found exploring the Oklahoma City food scene or watching/playing fútbol (read: soccer). He can be reached at [email protected].

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