Updated shell projections from USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners have two games left in the 2022 season. Two more opportunities to look their best as Brent Venables and his staff work towards the future.

They can take a positive step in that direction on Saturday night in Norman. They can end a two-game losing streak and eliminate their rival at Oklahoma State from the Big 12 contest. More importantly, Oklahoma’s sixth win can earn them an opportunity to play another game.

While simply making it to a bowl game isn’t good enough, that’s the last remaining metric by which the team can evaluate its 2022 season. Whether it’s against Oklahoma State this week or against Texas Tech in primetime next week, USA TODAY Sports’ Erick Smith believes the Sooners will play in a bowl game.

Let’s see where his latest predictions take the Sooners and the rest of the Big 12, and what the college football playoff field looks like.

Clemson wide receiver Joseph Ngata (10) celebrates a catch against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday September 24, 2022 in Winston-Salem, NC. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

After their loss to Notre Dame, it looks like Clemson will get some love again if they can close out the season on a winning streak and win the ACC Championship. They may need to fend off USC, Tennessee, and either an Ohio State or Michigan with a loss to reach last place in the playoffs.

11/12/2022; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Christian Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnson (1) catches a touchdown pass against the Texas Longhorns in the second half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

TCU appears to be in the driver’s seat for a berth in the College Football Playoffs. All they have to do is keep winning. They will finish the season at Baylor and at home against Iowa State. The Bears aren’t exactly a gimme, and they’ll want revenge for the Horned Frogs knocking them out of the playoffs a year ago.

10/29/2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (18) makes a pass during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats appear to be on track for a New Year’s Six Bowl, and a matchup with Tennessee would be great fun. This game doesn’t feature Hendon Hooker, but it would be another opportunity for Will Howard, who was a revelation to the state of Kansas.

11/27/2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy (left) speaks with Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley before a game at Boone Pickens Stadium. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Could Mike Gundy and Spencer Sanders end another season of Lincoln Riley in defeat?

We don’t ask much.

Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Collin Clay (93) punches Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) after a pass during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Texas Longhorns at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, ok , Saturday, October 22, 2022. Oklahoma State won 41-34. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Florida State’s resurgence has been a funny story this season. Texas looked like they were on the rise but have since slipped back into the middle of the Big 12 pack.

WACO, TX – NOVEMBER 13: Baylor Bears head coach Dave Aranda watches his team play the Oklahoma Sooners in the second half on November 13, 2021 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 27-14. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

A Southwest Conference rivalry between Arkansas and the Baylor Bears renewed. Dave Aranda is very familiar with the Razorbacks from his time at LSU. Both teams have had some high-scoring affairs this season that could make for a fun bowl game.

11/27/2021; Colombia, South Carolina, United States; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer guides his team in the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium against the Clemson Tigers. Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

There were so many projections with this matchup that it just feels like it has to happen. Oklahoma players would get a chance to see former teammates Spencer Rattler and Austin Stogner and reunite with former assistant Shane Beamer.

10/23/2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold leads the team onto the field before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Defense is optional for this game as both Kansas and Maryland can score points but haven’t been great on defense this season. Lance Leipold has stamped his job security at Lawrence for as long as he wants after returning the Jayhawks to bowl season.


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