Oklahoma football: Don't expect Thursday night football in Norman anytime soon

Thursday night football has become more prominent in recent years as more teams have been open to taking advantage of a guaranteed national-television audience. But several of the nation's most prominent programs — including Oklahoma — remain opposed to hosting midweek games.
by Ryan Aber Published: November 6, 2013

— Two of the three biggest college football games of the week won't be played Saturday.

In Waco, Texas, BCS No. 6 Baylor will host No. 10 Oklahoma on Thursday. The same night in Palo Alto, Calif., No. 5 Stanford will host No. 3 Oregon.

Thursday night football has become more prominent in recent years as more teams have been open to taking advantage of a guaranteed national-television audience.

But several of the nation's most prominent programs — including Oklahoma — remain opposed to hosting midweek games.

That opposition, in addition to the inflexibility of college football scheduling and the competition of Thursday night NFL games, among other factors, makes it unlikely college football Thursday nights will ever rival what Monday Night Football once was for the NFL.

"I don't think you're going to get the big-time game every week," said Justin Kutcher, who will call Thursday's Oklahoma-Baylor game for Fox Sports 1. “You look at Monday Night Football in the NFL, they're not getting the big-time game every week. … I think what the Thursday night game presents is an opportunity where … you have all these games going on Saturday but on Thursday, you've got one game on Fox Sports 1, you've got one game on ESPN. You're going to have an audience. That's where I think you can do something with that.

“There's a hunger for it.”

Since Thursday night college football started to become a regular event in the early 1980s, the Sooners are among a group that includes Michigan, Penn State, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and LSU that have not hosted a Thursday game. The only Thursday games Texas has hosted have been on Thanksgiving Day.

Oklahoma's last Thursday game came in 1992, when the Sooners played at Texas Tech.

“We recognize all the new opportunities that present themselves, but also embrace the fact that — and I say this in the most respectful way; not arrogant — we love tradition,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “It's an opportunity we may consider from time to time, but I don't see us doing it on a regular basis.”

Castiglione said the only way the Sooners would ever host a Thursday game would be if the game was scheduled for Thanksgiving or another day when classes aren't in session.

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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