Oklahoma State football: Benefits of playing Florida State
OSU opens its 2014 season with a JerryWorld game against Florida State, all the parties announced Wednesday. The parties? OSU, Florida State, ESPN and the Dallas Cowboys. Here are some thoughts:
* I guess Mike Holder wins this round in the great Holder/Mike Gundy debate. Of course, this round probably was already won by Holder, which might have led to Gundy’s I’ll-show-them-interview with Tennessee.
* The matchup is obviously great for OSU. So great, that it’s sort of silly to even entertain the idea that the Cowboys shouldn’t have agreed to the showdown. Let’s just talk marketing. This Jerry Jones/ESPN partnership in 2011 matched Oregon-LSU and in 2012 Alabama-Michigan. Wonder if it’s beneficial for Oklahoma State football to be lumped into a group with Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Michigan and Florida State? You are known by the company you keep.
That home-and-home series OSU played with Georgia in 2007 and 2009 got the Cowboys on the cover of Sports Illustrated when they spanked the Bulldogs in ’09. The Arizona series — no big deal at all, really — still got OSU an ESPN Thursday night prime time slot. Big-time programs play big-time games.
* The only downside, in my mind, is the continuing trend of taking great non-conference games off campus. The only thing better than OSU-Florida State in Arlington would be OSU-Florida State home-and-home. As a matter of comparison, the Sooners did play a home-and-home with Florida State in 2010-11, and it was fabulous. That Georgia series for OSU was great, going to Athens and getting the Bulldogs to come to Stillwater.
In general, I support neutral-site games if they are rooted in history — Army-Navy, OU-Texas, Georgia-Florida. Otherwise, I would like to see campuses rewarded with the best games. However, if a neutral site is the only way to get the likes of OSU and Florida State to play, then sign me up.
* Coaches’ attitudes on these games are very disappointing. And I’m not just talking about Gundy and his public wish to play a soft schedule. Even some of the coaches who play a tough schedule don’t like it. Bob Stoops is fond of saying those tough games “only help you if you win.”
I don’t get the attitude. I don’t know how a coach who gets on the practice field and pushes and screams and motivates his players to compete, then gets behind a microphone and basically says, “What if we lose?” That’s a sorry attitude. How much better to stand up and say, look what we can win.
* Here’s what I love about games like this. I’ve never once — I swear, never ONCE — heard a player bemoan a tough schedule. Never once heard a player talk about how a soft September schedule would help the team glide gently into a conference season. Never once heard a player talk about what a defeat might cost. The players want to play games like this. The players aren’t worried that losing to Arizona might send them to the Heart of Dallas Bowl instead of the Houston bowl. The players aren’t worried about losing a September game that might send them tumbling from 21st in the polls to out of the rankings.
No way this game does anything except enhance OSU recruiting. The Cowboys can use it in their current class and the next class.
* Do you have any idea what kind of marketing this game will bring OSU in summer 2014? OSU-Florida State will be talked about throughout the summer during the dog days. ESPN will build up the game incessantly. You can’t buy that kind of advertising, for the football program or the university.
* If OSU wants a homefield advantage, it can get one. It’s 904 miles from Tallahassee, Fla., to Arlington, Texas. Stillwater to Arlington is a four-hour drive.
* In 2014, Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh or heck, maybe both, will be juniors with a ton of quarterbacking experience.
* Who knows? By 2014, maybe the Big 12 will have 12 teams and the Cowboys can end the regular season in JerryWorld, too, playing for a Big 12 championship against Boise State or Brigham Young.
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