Our long regional nightmare is over.
The Big 12 football schedule has finally been released, blasted out by the conference offices mid-morning on Tuesday.
And in case anyone thinks I’m overstating the “nightmare” part of this whole thing, think again. When the schedule was going to come out was easily the No. 1 question that I — or anyone else in the sports media in these parts — has received in the past couple months.
Everyone has wanted to know when they could mark their calendars to be able to, um, mark their calendars.
It’s a nod to how much life in this neck of the woods revolves around football in the fall. Want to get married? Want to have a bake sale or a fall festival or a community parade? Better not do it when Oklahoma State or Oklahoma is playing.
Unless, of course, you don’t want anyone to come to your shindig.
Now, everyone can look and see when those really big games are on the schedule.
The Sooners open Big 12 play hosting Kansas State on Sept. 22, an open date for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys open conference play the following week with a huge game against Texas. That’s a weekend that the Sooners currently have open, but unlike the Cowboys, they didn’t release their entire schedule Tuesday morning. That leaves open the possibility that the Sooners could play one last non-conference game that weekend.
Wedding planners and civic leaders, you might want to avoid Sept. 29.
Another day to avoid? Oct. 13.
That’s when OU plays Texas, and while OSU is playing a much less appealing game at Kansas, much activity ceases in the state that weekend. Best to avoid.
I’d also steer clear of Oct. 20 and Nov. 10. Both teams are home those weekends, the only times that happens during the entire Big 12 slate. OSU has Iowa State and OU has Kansas in October, so neither are marquee games, but still, trying to get people to do anything that isn’t football-related that weekend will be a stretch. The same goes for that weekend in November when West Virginia is at OSU and Baylor is at OU. That might end up being the best two-game weekend of football in the state next fall.
There are other big weekends, of course. The Cowboys host TCU on Oct. 27 and Texas Tech on Nov. 17. The Sooners go to West Virginia on Nov. 17, then finish the season at TCU on Dec. 1.
But, of course, there’s no bigger weekend to avoid than Nov. 24 — Bedlam.
Think that game in Norman will be kind of a big deal after last year?
Yeah, me, too.
So, if you’re looking to plan something in the fall, your best bets are Oct. 3, Nov. 3 and, well, maybe you should just go with a summer wedding.