Nov. 7 shaped up to be the greatest Thursday night in college football history. Oregon-Stanford, OU-Baylor. Then Stanford lost at Utah and OU lost to Texas.
But Saturday, both the Sooners and Stanford survived tough tests. OU outlasted Texas Tech 38-30, a victory that propelled the Sooners into the BCS top 10. And Stanford staved off Oregon State 20-12, keeping the Cardinal in the top 10.
And now we’ve got two top-10 games on Thursday night, Nov. 7. OU-Baylor at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1, a matchup of teams ranked sixth and 10th. Then Oregon-Stanford at 8 p.m. on ESPN, a matchup of No. 2 (Ducks) vs. No. 6.
Heck, if you can’t get enough, you’ve got Troy/Louisiana-Lafayette at 6:30 that night on ESPNU.
How monumental is it to have two top-10 games on a Thursday? Consider this. Two days later, on Saturday, there’s only one matchup involving top-25 teams. No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama.
Thursday night games, of course, are like car pooling. It’s a great idea, so long as someone else is doing it. OSU has hosted three Thursday night games in recent years (Colorado 2009, Texas A&M 2010, Arizona 2011) but doesn’t like doing it. OU never has hosted on Thursday night and basically will only threat of torture.
The Big 12′s new television contracts mandates four Thursday night games a year. Texas takes one off everyone’s hand, Thanksgiving night, so that leaves three. This year, the three were Texas at Iowa State, TCU at Texas Tech and OU-Baylor.
Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Tech, TCU and OSU have been willing to host Thursday nights in the past. The pressure will build on OU doing the same, but the Sooners have quite a bit of politicial clout in the Big 12. That would be a major staredown.
The problems are many. A killer to the local economy, which thrives on all-day Saturday revelry. Parking on campus. Fans getting to and from the games on a work day. Tradition.
But we love our Thursday night football. And Friday night. Heck, there’s a Wednesday night game this week. Cincinnati-Memphis, which makes for a great hoops game on Wednesday night, but football?
The truth is, OU-Baylor and Oregon-Stanford would make for a great college football Saturday. A rousing day of football, with counting the LSU-Bama game, half of the top 12 or so in the sport playing each other.
But it will make for a rousing Thursday, too. Even more eyeballs will be watching the games, because the market won’t be splintered. Except between each other.