Perhaps Oklahoma’s trip to West Virginia wasn’t meant to be.
The Big 12 announced the 11th-ranked Sooners and Mountaineers’ meeting on Saturday is canceled. This time, it’s West Virginia dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, which has forced it to shut down operation for seven days.
OU and West Virginia were scheduled to meet in Morgantown on Nov. 28 before the contest was ultimately delayed due to the Sooners’ recent outbreak.
OU’s attention is now on the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 19 after learning midway through its Thursday practice that its final regular-season game is off.
“You would have loved to have found out sooner, but West Virginia was great, they were in contact with us the whole way. We knew [Wednesday] that this was a possibility,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said.
“So, they were they were great as far as communication and these things aren’t easy. I know they wanted to play, too. But we’ll start getting into Iowa State as soon as we can.”
The Sooners are happy for the extra weekend to prepare for the Cyclones, who beat OU in Ames two months ago.
It’s easy to look around the country, however, and see the likes of No. 4 Ohio State and Texas A&M also without a game because this Saturday because their scheduled opponents canceled. But OU won’t look to add a game on Saturday.
Had the cancellation come sooner, it’s possible the Sooners would have considered scheduling an opponent at the last minute.
“Hard to say,” Riley said. “Had that scenario come up, maybe it’s something you look at it. But by the time we knew it was a possibility here, it wasn’t a part of our conversations.”
Asked if Ohio State coach Ryan Day were to call Riley to play on Saturday, the four-year OU head coach said his team would be up for the challenge.
The program logistically won’t be able to make it happen, though, as much Riley would like to get in a game this week.
“From a competitive standpoint, we would love to play,” Riley said. “There’s no doubt about it. But I mean, the feasibility of doing something on that late a notice, with all the procedures and all that, I don’t see it happening.”
So, the Sooners will focus on the Cyclones, who finished atop the Big 12 standings and will make their first conference championship game appearance in program history.
OU is playing in its 12th Big 12 championship game, going 10-1 over its first 11 trips.
The Sooners have won five consecutive conference titles, dating back to 2015. The Cyclones will be the fourth different opponent OU has faced in the Big 12 championship game since the conference revived the postseason event in 2017.
OU and Iowa State are scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff on ABC next Saturday.