NORMAN — The last time a lower-division team dared tread on Owen Field, nobody knew much about Indiana State except this: Larry Bird went there. Now come the Chattanooga Mocs, known as the Tennessee-Chattanooga Moccasins when their basketball team played Billy Tubbs' epic 1988 Sooners in the NCAA Tournament. And again, this team is known for an alum. Terrell Owens. "TO went there,” said OU flanker Quentin Chaney. "That's one thing we all know.” There's something else we all know. This is going to be a non-competitive football game. This is the biggest mismatch in modern OU history. Where is the adult supervision? What kind of a system produces this kind of a game? Please don't take this as criticism of Chattanooga. The Mocs should be saluted for taking on the challenge and providing an opponent at all. OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said this week that if Chattanooga hadn't agreed to play, the Sooners might not have found a foe for this season opener. It was getting that desperate. But this is nowhere close to a fair fight, and not just because of the scholarship differences (OU can give out 85, Chattanooga 65). Can't really say about the dusty days when Bennie Owen's Sooners would hang a hundred on Kingfisher College or Central Normal. But since World War II, there has not been an OU game matching teams with such a talent gulf. Larry Bird's alma mater wasn't very good in 1999, a mediocre Division I-AA program, but Indiana State went against Bob Stoops' first OU squad, which was offensively scary but not close to the overall powerhouse the Sooners are today. These Sooners are loaded with playmakers, veterans and potential NFL talent. Meanwhile, Chattanooga is the Baylor of the lower division. Chattanooga plays in one of the best I-AA conferences but hasn't had a winning conference record since 1991. Chattanooga's best overall record in the last 25 years is 7-4. The Mocs have stepped up to play an occasional major-conference opponent, including Arkansas last season, but in four games against Memphis this decade, Chattanooga's average defeat is 47-15. This matchup is so bad, the television networks passed, and you all know by how rarely TV skips an OU game. Empowered by Appalachian State's monumental upset of Michigan last season, the Sooners this week embraced the any-given-Saturday theme. "A football team's a football team,” said OU o-lineman Trent Williams. "Anybody can beat anybody.” Maybe that's true with teams from the same universe. But U.S. Grant can't beat Tulsa Union. The Tulsa 66ers can't beat the Celtics. The Woonsocket Sentinels can't beat the Dallas Cowboys. And Chattanooga can't beat Oklahoma. So how did this game come to be? College football non-conference scheduling has grown increasingly squishier in the last decade. The reasons are many: * Bowls. The proliferation of bowls has produced many tie-ins with the major conferences, so schools know if they can just get to six victories, they will make a bowl game. Thus schools schedule to win rather than to compete. * Coaches. The big contracts make coaches protective of their jobs, so padding a record increases job security. * Money. Playing more home games has been a priority for many schools trying to make a budget. Many major-conference teams play seven home games; a few play eight. All of the above has created a supply-and-demand problem. Not enough mid-majors to soften the schedule of major-conference teams, so schools are going further down the food chain. Hence OU gets all the way down to Chattanooga. After an agreement to host Middle Tennessee fell through, Castiglione said, "We were calling everybody . Biggest response was ‘no.' A resounding no. They simply didn't want to play the University of Oklahoma in Norman.” But Chattanooga was willing, so tonight at Owen Field, we have a mismatch for the ages. A sellout crowd will wildly cheer it, the media will breathlessly report it and coaches will studiously analyze it, as if it was a championship game and not an exhibition game. Who's to blame for this historic mismatch? Start with us all.