OU football: Eight different schedule models under consideration

The release date is coming, and it might be this week. A variety of details still must be finalized.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: February 12, 2012
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NORMAN – Lemme guess. You're frustrated that the Big 12 football schedule has not yet been released. Join the club. Who isn't in this part of the country?

And if you find it distressing, with respects to your tailgate and travel plans, just imagine the conference and school officials. Don't you think they would like to know?

Instead, we're all left panting on the edge of our seats. Some, it seems, are too close to the edge.

Take those at Texas Tech, for example. Athletic director Kirby Hocutt said Thursday that he expected the schedule to come out the following day. And it did at his school – but only at his school. Oops.

A hiccup Friday morning prevented the league-wide release, but Tech's schedule did reach those who use that school's mobile application.

The leak did not please those around the conference. Hocutt was being optimistic, but naively so. It was an act of gun-jumping – and another blemish that the Big 12 could have done without.

I presumed the latest holdup was related to West Virginia's lingering legal entanglements as it tries to wiggle from the Big East. Turns out, though, that it was more than just that.

As of Friday, one Big 12 official told me there were still eight different schedule models being kicked around. Eight. The release date is coming, and maybe even this week, but there are still a variety of details to be finalized.

There are about a dozen schools still looking for games because of the latest round of realignment. Officials at those schools, including Oklahoma, are looking for the “best worst options.”

Overscheduling is a danger. Coaches growl. So is underscheduling. Fans yawn.

It's a certain mess, frustrating those inside and outside the universities' walls.

That said, those I have spoken with tell me discussions are far enough along to allow for some general expectations about OU's schedule. Of course these items come with a subject-to-change disclaimer, but many expect the bulk of these things to come to pass.

Expectation 1: The Sooners will start the season on the road.

Brace yourselves for this one, and maybe you already have been.

At this juncture, just about the only teams willing to come to Owen Field the first week are FCS schools. That's not an overly appealing proposition, to fans or the Sooners, so officials have scouted any and all road options.

The Rutgers game reported in recent weeks ultimately was torpedoed because it would have resulted in too much early season travel for the Sooners (see Expectation 2).

Opening week travel for fans is made more palatable in OU's eyes because it's a holiday weekend and, well, it's the opening week and anticipation for football will be at its height.

UTEP is the name we continue to hear, though officials have declined to confirm it. (They also did not deny it.) Hey, the Sun Bowl was good to the Sooners in their last visit.

Expectation 2: The Sooners will start the Big 12 season at West Virginia.

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