Oklahoma and Houston will start their 2016 seasons with a bang when they face off in NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday at high noon. The Cougars will be playing in their own city, but expect plenty of Oklahoma fans to make the trip to Houston for what should be one of the best games of the Week 1 schedule.
Both programs are looking to repeat highly successful 2015 seasons that ended in conference championships. Oklahoma won the Big 12 and made it into the College Football Playoff before ultimately falling to Clemson in the semifinals and finishing 11-2. Houston went 13-1 in Tom Herman's first year in charge, winning the American title and beating Florida State by two touchdowns in the Peach Bowl.
The winner will immediately be one of the country's most talked-about Playoff favorites, and it's far better than what we'll get in the noon slate almost any other week, so be sure to tune in.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: Noon ET, ABC (Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy and Tom Luginbill)
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: Oklahoma is about a 10-point favorite.
Three big things to know
1. Which dual-threat quarterback will put on a bigger show?
Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Houston's Greg Ward Jr. are both capable of beating teams with both their arms and their legs. Mayfield is more of a passer (3,700 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2015), but Ward is a better runner (1,114 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns). Either way, they will both put the opposing team's defense under pressure in a variety of ways. And with Week 1 rust being a distinct possibility, a sharp performance by either one could prove decisive.
2. Can Houston’s 2015 mojo survive a huge test to start the season?
Houston's spectacular season was one of the biggest stories of 2015, and they've ridden that wave of positive momentum into a 2016 with big expectations. A loss to Oklahoma in this game in no way makes Houston a bad team, but it would take a lot of the air out of the Houston hype. This is by far the toughest game on the Cougars' schedule, so we'll get the measure of them right away.
3. Oklahoma has a chance to boost its Playoff resume early
The Sooners are favorites to win the Big 12 again this year, and they could add a big non-conference trophy to their wall by beating Houston. Oklahoma could also boost its already surging recruiting efforts by beating the hottest team in Texas in their own city.