STILLWATER — Nonconference scheduling has consistently surfaced as a key issue for Oklahoma State during the past several months.
Many criticized the Cowboys when they played — and historically drubbed — lowly Savannah State to open the 2012 season. And scheduling has been at the center of the reported rift between Cowboy coach Mike Gundy and athletic director Mike Holder, which prompted Gundy to recently interview for the head coaching positions at Tennessee and Arkansas.
But Wednesday brought the news that OSU will be a part of one of the marquee nonconference games of 2014, and likely one of the best out-of-league games in Cowboy history.
OSU will open the 2014 season against traditional power Florida State on Aug. 30 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the two schools, Dallas Cowboys and ESPN officially announced.
The announcement offers more proof that OSU has evolved into a prominent and appealing team in the national landscape.
The Cowboy Classic has become the premier stage of college football's opening weekend, with previous matchups including Oklahoma-BYU, TCU-Oregon State, LSU-Oregon and, most recently, Alabama-Michigan. TCU will face LSU in the 2013 game.
Playing in that contest will also provide OSU with plenty of exposure, including a national television audience and hype throughout the summer leading up to what's almost sure to be one of the most-anticipated matchups of the early season. The benefits will even be a significant upgrade over the ones the Cowboys will receive in their 2013 opener against Mississippi State at Reliant Stadium in Houston as part of the Texas Kickoff Classic.
But the game is also the latest interesting twist in the nonconference scheduling dilemma that divides two of the most important figures in OSU's athletic department.