OU football insider: Television presence might play factor in moves

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Published: February 20, 2011

More and more, it's looking like the last weekend of the Big 12 football season will be the best.

Over the weekend, one Oklahoma official indicated to The Oklahoman that while it's not official, he expected both Bedlam and Texas-Texas A&M to be moved from Thanksgiving week to the first Saturday in December, providing the new look Big 12 with a national television presence when other conferences will be playing out their championship games.

Initially, it appeared that Bedlam would be the only marquee game moved to December. But last week, a source told the Austin American-Statesman that while Texas prefers to keep its annual game with Texas A&M on Thanksgiving, it has agreed to slide the game to Dec. 3 “if it's critical to the television deal.” The same Statesman source believes the Aggies feel the same way.

If Bedlam does move to December, there's a good chance OU still plays a game Thanksgiving weekend. Should Texas-Texas A&M shift to December, neither school would add a game Thanksgiving weekend, according to the Statesman.

But a high-placed OU administrator has said it's the Sooners' preference to keep the school's tradition of playing Thanksgiving Weekend. Who the Sooners would play in that scenario remains uncertain, but Texas, Texas A&M and OSU, obviously, wouldn't be options, and Missouri or Kansas would probably be off the table too since the two have been staging their annual game on Thanksgiving Saturday the last five years.

That leaves Kansas State and Texas Tech as the most attractive options for a Sooner Thanksgiving weekend opponent next season. OU currently is scheduled to host the Red Raiders Oct. 22 and travel to K-State Oct. 29.

SOONERS GOING TO HAITI

A pair of snowstorms this winter prompted coach Bob Stoops to push back the start of spring practice.

Originally, the Sooners were scheduled to begin March 8, but now won't start until after spring break on March 21 so the players can complete their winter conditioning program.

Speaking of spring break, quarterback Landry Jones will be traveling to Haiti for a mission trip, along with several teammates, including running back Brennan Clay, safety Tony Jefferson and wide receiver Kenny Stills. This will be a similar trip to the one that Jones' girlfriend, Whitney Hand, took with the rest of the OU women's basketball team last spring.