Consider yourself lucky, football fans in this great state. When the 2009 college football season opens, it really opens.
That is not true everywhere.
Oklahoma State-Georgia and Oklahoma-Brigham Young are two of only four games matching top-25 teams in Week 1.
Sixty-six teams comprise the BCS conferences, plus Notre Dame. Only nine openers match BCS-league teams, though OU (BYU) and Oregon (Boise State) are playing established mid-major powers.
Twenty-three of the 66 schools are playing teams from the lower-scholarship Division I-AA.
The evidence is clear. Most major schools use the opener as a virtual exhibition game.
"It makes it much more difficult to prepare," OSU coach Mike Gundy said of an opener against a tough opponent.
"When you're working young players out here, you don't have as much leeway with inexperienced players."
Gundy's first two OSU teams, 2005 and 2006, opened against Montana State and Missouri State.
"In the back of your mind you're saying, 'Well, we'll just work them in the first two games and see how they do,'" Gundy said of young players. "You don't have that option now, when you play a team that's as talented as Georgia."
Meanwhile, OU coach Bob Stoops didn't really agree. Stoops has opened against vastly-inferior opponents in all but two of his previous 10 seasons (North Carolina 2001, TCU 2005).
Stoops said he doesn't see much difference in August.
"You're working as hard as you can as fast as you can to progress and be as good as you can," Stoops said.
Game week, or maybe the week before that, turns different, Stoops said. "You really start looking forward to the challenge."
The one caveat? Suspensions. Players can run afoul of team rules in the winter, spring and summer, often resulting in one-game suspensions. No big deal if the opener is Chattanooga or Missouri State. Big deal if it's Georgia or BYU.
Recently, OSU has played solid openers. Washington State in 2008, Georgia in 2007, UCLA in 2004, Nebraska in 2003, Louisiana Tech in 2002, Southern Miss in 2001. None were in Stillwater, and the Cowboys won just two of those games.
Now comes 13th-ranked Georgia.
"When we took that on, we thought we could bring them here and our football program would be better, and it would be a big game and grab national attention," Gundy said.
"I'm not sure in the long haul that you want to schedule a bunch of teams like that in the opener."