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Oklahoma State football: Debunking Mike Gundy's scheduling philosophy

COMMENTARY — Mike Gundy thinks playing one decent non-conference football game a season damages OSU's recruiting and national title hopes, which would be interesting if only it were true.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 9, 2013

Mike Gundy says Oklahoma State's scheduling philosophy — playing at least one decent non-conference game a season — compromises his vow to recruits that the Cowboys are in the hunt for a national championship.

Gundy might have had a point in the old days. Not in the new.

Don't look now, but the fast-coming Football Four, the new playoff format that arrives with the 2014 season, is having a sobering effect on college football.

With various meetings that will produce a basketball-like selection committee come more and more clues that strength of schedule will weigh heavily in the process.

And schools are responding. Alabama-Wisconsin, Tennessee-Southern Cal, Texas A&M-Oregon, Ohio State-Oregon, Ohio State-Texas and Michigan-Arkansas are just a few of the series that have been scheduled in recent months.

“I think that's great for college football and the people trying to fill seats in college football and for the players,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. “At least now there's an incentive to start scheduling better than they have.”

But Gundy still doesn't buy it. Which is why, he says, he flirted with Tennessee and Arkansas last December.

“I have a great job here,” Gundy said. “I'm very happy, very well-paid and been fortunate to be where I'm at.

“But ultimately, at the end of the day, when I go recruit, and I go into meetings with these guys (fellow coaches) every day, and tell 'em this is what I believe in and this is what I want them to believe in, if it's not that way, then I can't do it. I've got to go do something else.”

I don't follow Gundy's reasoning. Especially with recruits. Hey, you don't get to play Savannah State this year, you have to go play Florida State at Jerry World. Yep, that's a real turnoff to anyone with a pint of competitive juice.

And besides, though Gundy said one of his two suitors is going against the grain on scheduling, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Tennessee is playing Oregon in 2013, OU in 2014-15, Nebraska in 2016-17 and Southern Cal in 2021-22.

Arkansas, a notorious light scheduler, has on the docket TCU in 2015-16, Michigan in 2018-19 and Texas in 2021.

In fact, Holder, more than most athletic directors, seems to be following Gundy's philosophy. The Cowboys play Mississippi State in Houston to open the 2013 season, then that Florida State game in 2014. After that, OSU has nothing but a series of Texas-San Antonios, Missouri States, Central Michigans and South Alabamas.

What are you guys feuding about?

Check out Michigan State, which in the next 10 years has Notre Dame scheduled six times, Oregon twice, Alabama twice, Miami twice and Boise State twice.

Check out Texas A&M, which dabbled in softball scheduling but now has added home-and-home series with Southern Cal and Oregon, plus will take on the Longhorns as soon as DeLoss Dodds' successor gives the OK.

Few schools are on the other side. Kansas State is, because Bill Snyder is like a tree planted by the waters. He shall not be moved, although K-State hosts Auburn in 2014.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist and Reporter
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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