Scheduling idea for OSU football
OSU football is contemplating moving its Oct. 4 home game against Texas A&M to a Thursday night, Oct. 2, for ESPN. Personally, I hope the Cowboys do it, because that means I could get to both games that week, OSU-A&M and OU-Baylor. Not that I’m in any hurry to see Baylor, but I like to see both teams as often as possible. That’s what was cool about 2007: OSU played Troy on a Friday night, and I made it back to Norman to see the OU-Utah State classic; then OU played Tulsa on a Friday night, so I also could go over to Stillwater for the OSU-Texas Tech thriller.
Much more important is this question: Should the Cowboys move the game? I can go either way. Whatever Mike Gundy decides is best, I have no problem with it.
A Thursday night game against a foe like A&M is great exposure for the Cowboys and the Big 12. Thursday night games are the college equivalent of Monday Night Football. Everyone in America who cares about college football watches. The game would be in Stillwater, with the stadium complete, and lots of positive talk about all the good things going on at O-State. That’s a winning move.
But it’s not great for fans. Saturday college football is an all-day experience for many fans. Strolling campus. Tailgating. Meeting old friends. Eating at the Hideaway. Be it a 2 p.m. or a 6 p.m. kickoff, game day in Stillwater (and most every other major college) is an event itself. That would be dramatically changed for Thursday night. The game atmosphere would be the same and maybe better, but fans would not be coming into Stillwater all day long. There would be mad dashes from OKC and Tulsa in the afternoon. It would be in and out of town quickly for thousands and thousands of fans. Merchants would not be pleased.
On the other hand, it’s probably a great thing for students. OSU has a big portion of students who do not live close to Stillwater. Those students have a tough choice on home games; go home for the weekend or stay on campus for football. A Thursday game would let students do both and would create quite a buzz on campus that day.
From a competitive standpoint, athletic director Mike Holder was absolutely correct when he said he wanted to make sure A&M didn’t have an open date on Sept. 27, the Saturday before the OSU-Aggie game. OSU is scheduled to host Troy; A&M is scheduled to host Army. So long as both are playing, then it’s a level playing field.
But while we’re on this subject, here’s another idea for OSU, and this is a good one. Why not approach ESPN about moving the OSU-Baylor game to Fridaynight, Oct. 17, and televising the game from Boone Pickens Stadium? I know, all schools in the Friday Night Lights culture of high school football are loathe to play on Friday night. OSU and OU both did it reluctantly for road games last season but never have tried it for home games and probably wouldn’t consider it.
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