No doubt if you’re an Oklahoma football fan you’ve seen or heard about the leak from Brigham Young coach Bronco Mendenhall on the Mountain West coaches conference call that the school is in discussions about a game in 2009 against Oklahoma in either the Cotton Bowl or the new Dallas Cowboys stadium.
First of all, the discussion is with TV executives, not with Oklahoma. The site would be Jerryworld, not the Cotton Bowl. And Sooner fans in the state of Oklahoma should rest easy. If this should come off -- I’m told the odds are no better than 50-50--it would not come at the expense of an OU home game.
Oklahoma does have two yet-to-be announced games on next year’s schedule at this late date, for a number of reasons. The one firm opponent is Tulsa . The return game with Miami is in jeopardy because MU has been told the Sept.12 date penciled in at Marlins Stadium is no longer open. Oklahoma wants the game next year regardless of site, though is open to several dates.
But the fact that a program like OU has dates and opponents yet to be filled for next season is indicate of the difficulty of scheduling for the top-flight programs. As easy as it is to qualify for the myriad number of bowl berths now available, few programs in contention for them are interested in playing OU or Texas or any other program of that ilk after the BCS stupidly downgraded strength of schedule as a major criteria. Here’s where the college basketball structure has another definite leg up on football.
Unlike many, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and coach Bob Stoops want to play as representative a schedule as is reasonable--two gimmies if you will, a mid-level program and at least one marquee opponent. That’s why future games are scheduled at Florida State (2011), against Notre Dame (2012-13), at Tennessee (2015), with Ohio State (2016-17) and LSU (2018-19).
Scheduling IAA teams (call them what you will) has become more difficult, despite what we all might think. Top programs must guarantee in the range of $300,000 to a half-million to get them. I’m told by industry people that IAA’s will talk dates, ask for a contract to review while at the same time doing the same thing with others--then try to cut the better deal. That sometimes leaves a top program without a game that it thinks has slotted.
Good business or greed? Look at the way business is done in America these days (need I bring this up?) and come to your own conclusion.
-- Mike Jones