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Berry Tramel: A plan to save college football

by Berry Tramel Modified: September 25, 2009 at 9:06 am •  Published: September 25, 2009
Idaho State received $500,000 to play at OU. Some payouts to lower Division I-A schools have approached $1 million. Cut the demand for those dates and you cut the price.

Such a system would require some sacrifice on the part of the major-conference schools. Namely, win-loss record. Schools will be saddled with more defeats, and fans would have to understand that goes with the territory.

OU could have been 3-0 right now simply by not playing BYU, a late addition to the schedule. The Sooners could have written an $800,000 check to Louisiana-Monroe or New Mexico State or somebody and guaranteed a spotless September record.

But there is no honor in purchasing victory. OU-BYU was a fantastic spectacle and a wonderful game, and just because the Sooners came out on the short end is no reason to wuss out and play only automatic-victory games.

Some schools also would have to sacrifice a home game or two. Under the minimum-requirement plan, no more eight home games, like OSU, Auburn, Michigan and others enjoy this season.

Teams could play seven home games if they desired, and they also could maintain some power over who they schedule, even within the mandates.

Iowa State already plays Iowa every year, so the Cyclones could try to schedule someone closer to their level. A Vanderbilt or UNLV or Washington State.

Texas A&M has an extensive contract with Arkansas. The Aggies wouldn’t have to play Southern Cal; they could try to arrange a series with UCLA.

This simple mandate would double the number of legitimate September games.

"I think it would be worth pursuing,” Stoops said. "I don’t know how you could get people to do it.”

It would have to come through the conferences. Conference cooperation is absolutely necessary. And for the conferences to come aboard, individual schools will have to support it, which will require some arm-twisting.

OSU athletic director Mike Holder was not enthusiastic about the idea. "It’s a balancing act,” Holder said. "We’re in the Big 12 South. The Big 12 as a whole is brutal. There’s wear and tear. That’s a pretty big mountain to climb.”

Except look back three weeks ago to what victory over Georgia did for the Cowboy program.

That’s the kind of success major-college football teams should desire. The other kind, the victories over Rice and Utah State, over Idaho State and Grambling, are hollow.

They are not fair fights, and they are suffocating a wonderful sport. Time for the caretakers to return to duty.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.

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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