The Main Event: Most major schools use the opener as a tuneup

Berry Tramel Modified: August 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm •  Published: August 16, 2009
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Consider yourself lucky, football fans in this great state. When the 2009 college football season opens, it really opens.

That is not true everywhere.

Oklahoma State-Georgia and Oklahoma-Brigham Young are two of only four games matching top-25 teams in Week 1.

Sixty-six teams comprise the BCS conferences, plus Notre Dame. Only nine openers match BCS-league teams, though OU (BYU) and Oregon (Boise State) are playing established mid-major powers.

Twenty-three of the 66 schools are playing teams from the lower-scholarship Division I-AA.

The evidence is clear. Most major schools use the opener as a virtual exhibition game.

"It makes it much more difficult to prepare," OSU coach Mike Gundy said of an opener against a tough opponent.

"When you're working young players out here, you don't have as much leeway with inexperienced players."

Gundy's first two OSU teams, 2005 and 2006, opened against Montana State and Missouri State.

"In the back of your mind you're saying, 'Well, we'll just work them in the first two games and see how they do,'" Gundy said of young players. "You don't have that option now, when you play a team that's as talented as Georgia."

Meanwhile, OU coach Bob Stoops didn't really agree. Stoops has opened against vastly-inferior opponents in all but two of his previous 10 seasons (North Carolina 2001, TCU 2005).



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