Nonconference scheduling is tricky for Oklahoma State

The question's been raised by more than a few Cowboys fans:"Why would we ever go play in Lafayette, Louisiana?"
by John Helsley Modified: October 7, 2010 at 11:08 am •  Published: October 6, 2010

The question's been raised by more than a few Cowboys fans:

"Why would we ever go play in Lafayette, Louisiana?"

The answer: to get the Ragin' Cajuns back in Stillwater, twice.

Non-conference scheduling isn't easy. And it's about to get more difficult, with realignment spurring the Big 12's shift to nine-game league schedules.

So a 2-for-1 deal that offers 3-win appeal, even if the one return trip could get tricky, is a deal worth doing.

"A lot of it is you're just trying to find teams that will come here 2-for-1," said Dave Martin, Oklahoma State's associate athletic director who oversees scheduling. "Not that many schools will do it anymore."

OSU's philosophy on non-conference scheduling has, and will going forward, aim for an annual formula.

* Play enough non-league foes at home to give the Cowboys seven home games overall.

* Play one marquee team among the non-conference lineup.

* Keep it financially feasible.

And the latter is why making 2-for-1 arrangements with schools such as Louisiana-Lafayette, or Texas-San Antonio and South Alabama in the future, makes sense. Simply buying home games is expensive, with costs driven way up by schools that draw larger crowds than OSU.

"Not many will come in for single games, unless you pay a hefty guarantee," Martin said. "And it's hard to compete in that arena with schools who draw 80,000 to 100,000 fans.

"Sometimes if you can go 2-for-1, you can get a pretty reasonable price."

With Louisiana-Lafayette, the Cowboys get two home games, in 2011 and 2012, as well as a national television spot Friday night on ESPN2.

For that, they'll make a trip into Cajun country, even if most of the players might need a map.

"There's going to be games like that every year," said Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden. "I just leave the scheduling to whoever does that. Whoever we play, we play.

"It's a big game for us momentum wise. We've got to take care of business and what we can control."

This series actually represents an easy aspect of what has become a scheduling chore for Martin.

The shakeup of the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences over the summer created major scheduling headaches. For Big 12 schools, like OSU, that were solidly booked with four non-conference opponents into the future, adjustments are necessary to accommodate the move from eight to nine league games. Some opponents already signed to contracts must be shifted to other years. Some, like Purdue, couldn't make the years match, so the series was canceled.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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Future Foes

A look at OSU's scheduled non-conference opponents in the future:

2011: Arizona; Louisiana-Lafayette; at Tulsa

2012: at Arizona; Louisiana-Lafayette

2013: at Texas-San Antonio; Lamar

2014: Texas-San Antonio

2015: at Air Force; Texas-San Antonio

2016: Tulsa; Air Force

2017: at South Alabama; Clemson*

2018: Clemson*

2019: South Alabama

2020: South Alabama

* The years of the Clemson games are tentative, with the home-and-home sites still to be determined.

Note: The Cowboys also have agreements with Rice and Central Arkansas, but the schools are working to place the games in specific years.

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