The idea that Oklahoma plays better during the day than at night is a piece of conventional wisdom around Sooner country. I've never seen it tested, though.
Given that this weekend's clash with Notre Dame kicks off in the afternoon, no better time than the present.
For the purposes of this exercise, I went back through the results from the last five seasons (2009-13). The Sooners have an overall record of 43-13 (.768) during that period. Any contest that kicked off by 3:30 p.m. ET qualified as a day game. The data set comprised 22 match-ups.
The key findings:
- OU has a 20-2 record (.909) in day games during that period;
- OU hasn't lost a day game since November '09 when the Sooners were routed at Texas Tech;
- In the 20 Ws, the average margin of victory is 22.3 points.
Cool, but what if OU has run up this great record during the day by playing teams that suck? Let's try to address that by limiting the games to ranked teams. The Sooners have played a total of 23 games during that five-year period against teams that were ranked at the time, running up a 14-9 record (.609). Eleven were played during the day, with OU going 10-1 (.909) in those contests.
Another possibility for assessing performance would be to look at how the Sooners have done against the spread, using the line as a rough barometer of expectations for performance. Per usual, the linesmakers know their stuff: OU is 27-27-1 ATS since 2009. In day games, the Sooners have gone 14-7-1 against the number during that stretch. Again, that suggests OU tends to hit its stride before sundown.
Now the usual caveat: None of this proves anything. Still, the results do indicate that there's something to the idea that the daytime is the right time for the Crimson and Cream.