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Berry Tramel  


Oklahoma football: Don’t play the scheduling martyr

by Berry Tramel Published: February 14, 2012

The Big 12 schedule finally is out, and some fans believe that OU has been rooked by a rugged finishing stretch: at West Virginia on Nov. 17, home for Bedlam on Nov. 24 and at TCU on Dec. 1. Of course, when it looked like OU might be going to West Virginia as early as Sept. 8, that wasn’t acceptable, either.

Can we all just get off the notion that anyone is mistreated by the schedule? What goes around comes around. The chaos of conference realignment wrecked the rhythm of Big 12 scheduling, but no one was mistreated.

Of course, Bob Stoops believes he was. “It takes awhile to get it right,” Stoops said of waiting on the schedule. “With the all the realignment that’s happened, that’s been cause to delay it this way. They’re trying to be right about it, to make sure, too, that certain teams aren’t hurt maybe the way we were a year ago having to go on the road to your in-state rivals back to back and down to Baylor as well. To look at things like that. To make it equal to everybody as much as you can.”

Let me get this straight. OU had to play at OSU in back-to-back years, and that’s some kind of injustice, even though the Sooners hadn’t lost in Stillwater since 2002. And even though the Cowboys had to play at Texas in consecutive years, even though until those consecutive years OSU had NEVER won in Austin. And even though the Sooners got to play Texas Tech two straight years in Norman, relief of high levels since the Sooners haven’t won in Lubbock since 2003?

And Stoops bringing up Baylor? Having to go to Waco in consecutive years? Until November 2011, Oklahoma had never lost to Baylor anywhere. So suddenly the Big 12 is supposed to be gentle with where the Sooners face the Bears?

Here’s the truth about Big 12 scheduling. It’s been a mess. Changes have had to occur. The only promise is that if you get five home games this year, you’ll only get four next year. Get a bad draw on having to go to Waco the year Robert Griffin wins the Heisman Trophy and Baylor has its best team in 30 years? Well, tough.

If you ask me, OU got a scheduling break in 2011. If the rotation had been as usual, then the Sooners would have gotten Baylor in Norman and almost certainly would have won. But OU would have lost at Tech, since the Sooners always seem to lose in Lubbock and lost to Tech in Norman anyway. And OU wouldn’t have won Bedlam at Owen Field. OSU was that much better than the Sooners in 2011.

Going to Stillwater twice in a row actually was a blessing for OU, because that means the Cowboys go to Norman in 2012. And 2012 shapes up as a year when OSU could use homefield advantage in Bedlam. State didn’t need it in 2011.

So enough persecution complex. Enough playing the martyr. Show up when and where you’re supposed to play and don’t blame Big 12 schedule-makers if your season doesn’t go as you wished.


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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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