NORMAN, Okla. — The University of Oklahoma announced its non-conference football schedule for the 2014 season Wednesday. The Sooners’ out-of-conference slate for next year is highlighted by the first-ever visit by the University of Tennessee to Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Sept. 13.
The Oklahoma-Tennessee contest will mark the initial regular season contest between these two historic college football programs. The Sooners and Volunteers haven’t met since the 1968 Orange Bowl after playing their inaugural contest in the 1939 Orange Bowl, a game that marked the first of Oklahoma’s 45 bowl appearances. Oklahoma and Tennessee will meet again in 2015 when the Sooners travel to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
“We have always strived to feature marquee non-conference opponents on the Oklahoma schedule,” said OU vice president and director of athletics, Joe Castiglione. “Our longtime philosophy of scheduling high-caliber FBS opponents becomes even more important in 2014 with strength of schedule factoring into the College Football Playoff equation. Without question, the opportunity to schedule a two-game, home-and-home series with a program with the tradition of Tennessee is a win-win for both programs and their passionate fan bases.”
Oklahoma’s 2014 schedule begins with a home date against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 30. Oklahoma and Louisiana Tech will meet for the first time in 2014. The Bulldogs tallied a 9-3 record in 2012 after going 8-5 in 2011. The Sooners also play at Tulsa on Sept. 20 after registering a 51-20 victory against the Golden Hurricane in 2013. The Sooners own a perfect 7-0 record against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane under head coach Bob Stoops. Oklahoma will make its first road trip to face Tulsa since registering a 62-21 victory in 2007.
“We are excited to continue our in-state series with Tulsa as a way to acknowledge our appreciation for the tremendous support from our fans in that area of Oklahoma,” Castiglione continued. “Northeast Oklahoma has long been a prime source of talent for the Sooners, not to mention that Tulsa is a respected program that registered 11 wins, including a bowl victory last season.
“Louisiana Tech is coming off back-to-back winning seasons and is a program that has traditionally sent numerous players to the NFL ranks. The addition of the Bulldogs to our 2014 home schedule gives our fans a very strong slate of games at Owen Field next year.”
The renewal of the Oklahoma-Tennessee series should hold strong national appeal for fans of college football across the nation. Oklahoma’s first-ever bowl appearance came under head coach Tom Stidham against the Volunteers in the 1939 Orange Bowl, the first contest in that game’s illustrious history to feature two national powers entering the game undefeated and untied.
Oklahoma headed for Florida with a 10-0 record, with eight of those wins coming by a combined 150-0 margin. While numerous bowl representatives were courting the Sooners, the director of the Orange Bowl was actually seen on campus leaving chalk messages on sideways to entice Oklahoma and OU fans to travel to the game.
Unfortunately for OU, Tennessee’s powerful ground attack proved too much for the Sooners as the Volunteers claimed their 13th straight victory for Major Bob Neyland by a 17-0 margin. The game was considered to be the roughest of all bowl games played that year as both teams combined for more than 200 yards in penalties.
It would be nearly three decades before Oklahoma and Tennessee would square off again on the gridiron. The Sooners won the Big Eight title in Chuck Fairbanks’ first season as head coach in 1967, but No. 3 OU was still a slight underdog against No. 2 Tennessee in the 1968 Orange Bowl.Despite the loss of two-time All-America defensive line Granville Liggins in that game, other members of the vaunted Oklahoma defense stepped up when the Sooners desperately needed a defensive stand. The Volunteers then missed a potential game-winning field goal as time expired, preserving a 26-24 Oklahoma victory.