Paul Finebaum explains what strong seasons would do for Texas, Oklahoma as they enter SEC

On3 imageby:Barkley Truax04/24/23


Texas and Oklahoma will be in the SEC before we know it, and 2023 is the final season before it’s official. Having a strong college football season heading into a new conference is the best way for either program to assert itself in the mix.

Paul Finebaum explained why he believes the Longhorns are closer than the Sooners when it comes to competing in the SEC. A respectable 8-5 season under head coach Steve Sarkisian in 2022 is a good start.

“Even though by normal Texas standards, what Sark did was not considered great but it did look like an improvement,” Finebaum said on McElroy and Cubelic In the Morning. “I think that fans have been in the middle for so long that they appreciate that, they see Arch Manning and others show up and Texas seems to be on track.”

Oklahoma on the other hand was not as fortunate this past season. The Sooners (6-7, 3-6 Big 12) failed to win eight games in a single season for the first time this century.

The Sooners were demolished by Texas 49-0 in 2022. The same happened against eventual national runner-up TCU 55-24. Other than that, all five of Oklahoma’s other losses came by a touchdown or less. Kansas State defeated OU 31-24, but lost to Baylor, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Florida State all by three points in each matchup.

Flip those four scores and Brent Venables is a 10-win head coach in his first season.

“I have deep concerns for the trajectory of Oklahoma,” Finebaum continued. “I talked to a local columnist and I did not get a good vibe from that program. There just seems to be a concern that in the aftermath of Lincoln Riley, they can put the pieces back together quickly. That did tremendous damage.

“Not only did Lincoln Riley leave and take Caleb Williams with him, but it also took a line of others players out of there. No one is convinced that the Brent Venables hire is going to work. There’s equally no one as convinced that it is not going to work. I know that sounds contradictory, but [fans] are tired of being right in the middle.”

Texas and Oklahoma won’t be officially joining the SEC until July 1, 2024. In the meantime, the two Big 12 stalwarts have one last shot of capturing a conference championship. Oklahoma will be looking for its 15th conference title, while Texas seeks its fourth. On their way out, both teams will pay early withdrawal fees to the Big 12 Conference combined for $100 million a full season earlier than originally planned.