T-Row and Joe: Oklahoma Could Finalize its 2020 Football Schedule as Early as Monday

John. E. Hoover

Enjoy your weekend, Oklahoma football fans. You could know your team’s upcoming schedule — at least for now — as early as Monday.

“I think it’s very soon after that, if not Monday itself,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said Friday morning.

Castiglione told Toby Rowland during their regularly scheduled Friday interview on SportsTalk 1400 KREF that the Sooners have their preference between the potential scheduling models laid out before them.

“I don’t want to paint anyone into the corner,” he said, “but we’ve made our decisions around the model we prefer, and that’ll be discussed in total with the rest of the Big 12 Conference. And if the schedule doesn’t come out Monday, I would expect it to come out at some point during the week.”

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Decisions Thursday by the ACC and SEC may have forced the Big 12’s hand in the scheduling arena. The ACC will play only one non-conference game, while the SEC will play strictly conference games.

For Oklahoma, that means Tennessee isn’t coming too Norman on Sept. 12. Other Big 12 schools are losing games against partners from the SEC and ACC, as well as from the Big Ten and Pac-12, which previously announced conference-only scheduling.

“You’re seeing all the various models that have been discussed behind the scenes start to evolve,” Castiglione said. “You’re also understanding the difficulty of the decisions when you consider that people are in different parts of the country and have different challenges, see it different ways, have different perspectives. So no, not really surprised by any of it.

“We had hoped that we’d all be making an announcement about the same time, even if what we announced was different from each other. Never expected it to be identical. We’re going to make our announcement here soon. We have a meeting scheduled Monday afternoon. So we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Rowland asked what the Big 12’s options were currently. It has been reported that the Big 12 had narrowed it down to considering three models: a 12-game schedule, a 9-game conference-only schedule and a 9+1 schedule.

“I would tell you it’s getting tougher to play a 12-game schedule because many of us have lost at least one game off the schedule — some two or three,” Castiglione said. “And we only have three (non) conference games. Other schools are trying to reschedule games with programs that were bounced off another team’s schedule from anther conference. And some people are trying to work out a date when a game can occur and a location where a game can occur. So we’ll just work through that.”

Castiglione said playing 10 conference games followed by a championship game — in other words, playing one team twice as part of an adjusted regular season, and then playing the title game — would probably be more of “a last resort … to get to a certain number. What we might consider is the nine conference games plus one additional game.”

If the Big 12 chooses one non-conference opponent, Castiglione could opt to stick with Missouri State on Aug. 29 or possibly travel to play Army on Sept. 26.

“It all depends on the date we select as the commencement of the season,” he said. “So when we are going to start is really the key question there. Missouri State’s been a good partner. They’ve been flexible, as you know. … We thought the benefit of having time between games would be quite helpful. And quite candidly, that is going to continue to be one of the principles we’re going to include in the schedule for the upcoming year. … But we’re going to build in a number of open dates to allow for each school to work through some of the challenges if they aren’t able to play the game on its originally scheduled date.”

Castiglione also said there could be additional options for a non-conference opponent.

“I’ve already heard from quite a few (suitors),” he said. “My phone started blowing up yesterday once the SEC made their announcement.

“I think our choices are going to be the number of games and the start date. Everything’s still on the table. We have it reduced to a smaller set of options and have it ready for people to make their decisions.

“We’re going to be flexible to start here in September and possibly even adjust the date of the conference championship game a little later to allow for more flexibility within the schedule.”

Castiglione has maintained that he wants to remain as flexible as possible as the obstacles inevitably arise.

“We always said this was gonna be bumpy, could be messy. Not gonna be an easy thing to work through. You’re seeing part of the disruption now,” he said. “We’re staying positive. We don’t want to get into talking about things that make it sound like a downer. But we also have to be very mindful that disruption could happen at any point once we decide and once we get into the season. That speaks to the consistency of being flexible.”

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