One Week Away and What is Happening in the West End Zone?

Robert Allen

STILLWATER -- One week away from Oklahoma State starting fall camp. The Cowboys are set to go with the start of camp practices next Wednesday on Aug. 5. As Zach Lancaster reported earlier from the Big 12 the conference football media day is set to roll off all over virtual formats on Monday. Mike Gundy is up on the question and answer with the media at 1 p.m. and that will be the first time he has met with media since all of the unrest in June. It's hard to look for a word to accurately portray what happened. Unrest seems good enough as the players, at least some, were unhappy with the degree of relationship they have with the head coach. Hubbard was, no doubt, also unhappy with the shirt Gundy wore feeling it was insensitive to the feelings of many of his players. 

By the way, to answer the question in the headline, part of what was going on in the West End Zone and in OSU athletics on Wednesday was a two and a half hour meeting of the new diversity council in the department and it was opened up to some alumni as former athletes from football, basketball, wrestling, women's basketball, and more were guests during the meeting. The council headed by Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, the Oklahoma State University Vice-President for Institutional Diversity has been meeting regularly. It is a group that is making a difference in the athletic department and with student-athletes. 

The teams on campus that are engaged in practicing include football with 20-hours of work a week and walk thrus; basketball with eight hours of work, four on the court and four in the weight room; and soccer, which has an exhibition match coming up two weeks from Friday on Aug. 13 against TCU at 10 a.m. in Fort Worth. The opening match will be on Friday, Aug. 23 with non conference Bedlam vs, Oklahoma at 7 p.m. inside Neal Patterson Stadium on the OSU campus. 

As mentioned, football starts with real practice on Wednesday, Aug. 5. I know, there is still a game short on the Oklahoma State schedule, but sources have told Pokes Report that the Cowboys have a game ready to roll out for the opener but are waiting to see on decisions made at the conference level. 

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said the league is looking at a full slate of games starting on Aug. 29. Now, that could change if the league chooses to go with a more conservative 10-game schedule with the conference games and a plus one. It is actually a discussion that still involves the Big 12, ACC, and SEC.

"They're still looking the 12-game schedule and so are we," Bowlsby said to ESPN. "Obviously if one of us would make the decision to go to conference-only, that would affect the others. I'm guessing we would get some advance notice on that, but nobody has made that decision yet -- at least not among the [SEC, ACC or Big 12]."

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Bowlsby like his fellow conference commissioners is in a slow play until his Presidents chose to move forward. USA Today Sports Images - Kevin Jairaj

It turns out that now the ACC announced they are going with an 11-game schedule that will include nine conference games, a game for most schools with Notre Dame and ne game outside the conference. The SEC presidents will meet on Thursday and could make an announcement then. There is a good chance that the SEC will follow suit and go for 11-games. For the Big 12 it is easy, play the conference schedule and two non conference games. The thought is that would be each team picking two non conference games off their schedule to play. The dropping of a game will allow for more wiggle room in the schedule.

There is a chance the Big 12 could pick one non conference game and that the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 have discussed a scheduling alliance.

This might be the basis for such an alliance; Oklahoma plays Tennessee, Texas plays LSU. West Virginia plays Florida State, Baylor plays Mississippi, Kansas State has Vanderbilt, and Kansas has Boston College. Between the SEC and ACC you have the traditional rivalries like Clemson vs. South Carolina, Kentucky vs. Louisville, Florida vs. Florida State, and Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. You also have North Carolina State scheduled to play Mississippi State, North Carolina scheduled to play Auburn in Atlanta, and Virginia slated to play Georgia. 

You keep the rivalries scheduled, keep some of the other match-ups, and then match make with the remaining teams and you come up with this:

Definite games in the scheduling triumphrant

South Carolina at Clemson

Florida at Florida State

Kentucky at Louisville

Georgia Tech at Georgia

Texas at LSU

Tennessee at Oklahoma

Vanderbilt at Kansas State

Mississippi vs. Baylor (Houston)

North Carolina vs. Auburn (Atlanta)

Mississippi State at North Carolina State

Boston College at Kansas

That is 22 of the 38 full-time teams in the ACC, Big 12, and SEC. Notre Dame will find their own plus one with a Group of Five opponent. Meanwhile, here are my suggested match-ups for the other six teams:

West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh - Bring back the Backyard Brawl

Iowa State vs. Virginia Tech - Agriculture & Engineering meets Agriculture & Engineering

Missouri vs. Syracuse - Battle between two of the top Journalism Schools

Texas A&M vs. Miami - The Corps vs. South Beach

TCU vs. Virginia - Nothing clever for the Frogs vs. the Cavaliers

Wake Forest vs. Texas Tech - Just looking for good match-ups

Arkansas vs. Duke - It could be a somewhat fair fight

Oklahoma State vs. Alabama - I just wanted this match-up

The Big 12 Board of Governors meets on Monday, same day as the Big 12 Football Media Day, and that would be the first time we likely hear of the Big 12 plan.

The NCAA Board of Governors meets again on Tuesday, Aug. 4, so if you are going to announce any decisions to try to influence the NCAA then those three meetings, the ACC today, SEC later this week, and Big 12 next Monday are your options. The other choice is ride it out and after the move by the ACC it appears that won't be the case. 

“It is a day-to-day process,” Bowlsby told Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register. “There is no magic date. The decisions will be situational based on the progression of the virus, the availability of testing and the speed of results. Our schools will continue to advance slowly with constant re-evaluation.”

And also, maybe some more talk about scheduling together. Personally, I love that idea. 

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