With 15 college football teams in Oklahoma and many having great potential to do well this season, OklahomaSports.Net put together a way to get to see each of the teams play and get to see some good football games, not to mention some cool campuses and stadiums.
Here’s the 12-part plan for your weekends this fall.
• Aug. 28 – Tulane at Tulsa (Thu.), 7 p.m.
Start the journey on a Thursday night – because we just can’t wait any longer for football season to get here. It’s the home opener and the Golden Hurricane makes the debut in the American Athletic Conference in Chapman Stadium. TU fans will get to see whether Dane Evans or Jabe Burgess makes the start for Coach Blankenship and who will step in to fill the big shoes in the backfield where Watts and Douglas once roamed.
• Sept. 6 – Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m.
No matter the outcome from the weekend before (when OSU takes on the defending national champion Florida State and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston), the optimism should be high in Stillwater for the home opener. The tailgating experience around Boone Pickens Stadium is legendary and the crowd will be ready to hear, “Pistols Firing!” – a cry likely to be heard early and often against the Bears. No matter which quarterback winds up being the starter, he should get plenty of help as the ground attack led by Desmond Roland could really open up the passing game.
• Sept. 13 – Tennessee at Oklahoma, 7 p.m.
This marks only the third matchup between these two traditional football powerhouses, with the previous two coming in the 1939 and 1968 Orange Bowls. OU is a preseason top five team in most polls (No. 1 according to The Sporting News) and Trevor Knight is back to follow a strong end to the 2013 season, while Butch Jones has the Volunteers back on the rise. This is an opportunity for Coach Stoops to take down another SEC team, following the beatdown of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman is the largest football stadium in the state and watching a game there is well worth the experience.
• Sept. 20 – Oklahoma Baptist at Oklahoma Panhandle, 2 p.m.
Yes, it will likely still be pretty hot on a mid-September afternoon in Goodwell. But go to game anyway! OPSU will try to keep Carl Wooten Field from being the site of Bison vengeance. Oklahoma Baptist saw an early 10-0 lead disappear as the Aggies recovered quickly and went on to win 59-24 in Shawnee. The youth of OBU is turning into experience, while OPSU boasts senior quarterback, Caleb Holbrook, who is garnering nationwide attention in the preseason.
• Sept. 27 – Emporia State at Northeastern State, 6 p.m.
Autumn won’t have set in enough at this point to see Tahlequah in full fall form, but it is still a beautiful trip to get there. The scenic drive often leaves a person breathless – as does climbing the bleachers at Doc Wadley Stadium. But once you’re in place, you will have a chance to see the RiverHawks under new head coach, Rob Robinson. If Joel Rockmore stays healthy to go with nine returning starters on defense, NSU could pose a real threat to the tough Hornets.
• Oct. 4 – Bacone at Southeastern, 2 p.m.
This will be the first time these two programs have met on the football field since 1946. It is the only non-conference game for SOSU and coach Bo Atterberry, who takes the reins in Durant in 2014. This is also the final tune-up for the Warriors before hitting the CSFL portion of the schedule. Wide receivers could take center stage at Paul Laird Field, with Bacone’s David Chapman and Southeastern’s Anthony Foster and Kaymon Farmer.
• Oct. 11 – Navarro at Northeastern A&M (HC), 2 p.m.
Head up to Miami this weekend. It’s homecoming and what better time for NEO to show off the new facilities at Robertson Field. The Norsemen, under new head coach Ryan Held, are poised to have a strong showing this season. The program sent many from the defensive secondary of last year’s team to Division I programs, but the defensive line and offensive line will be consistent units for the team.
• Oct. 18 – Haskell Indian Nations at Oklahoma Baptist, 2 p.m.
Fans come out in large numbers to watch football in Shawnee. So if you want to get a good seat at Bison Field at the Hurt Athletic Complex, you had better get there early. OBU has been outscored 68-0 in two losses all-time to Haskell – but those games were played in 1923 and 1924. Expect the Bison offense to get on the board for the first time in this series and more than just once, as OBU head coach Chris Jensen has been reunited with offensive coordinator Jeff Brickman. It could be a fun season for Bison fans.
• Oct. 25 – Southwestern at East Central (HC), 4 p.m.
The defense came up big for ECU as the Tigers held on for a 24-21 over Southwestern at the homecoming game in Weatherford. The Bulldogs would like to return the favor in Ada this season at Norris Field. The Tigers were undefeated last season against teams from Oklahoma. While SWOSU is reloading in key spots on offense in 2014, ECU will be doing the same on defense. But by this point in the season, the teams should have jelled.
• Nov. 1 – Northeastern State at Central (HC), 2 p.m.
Another homecoming contest and this one is for the Governor’s Cup at Wantland Stadium in Edmond. Northeastern State won a high scoring contest last season and pushed its winning streak to four in the series, which marks the longest streak for NSU over its rival. The Bronchos have gotten stronger in each of the previous two seasons under Nick Bobeck, and in his third season will have more players with experience in his system, and more experience, period.
• Nov. 8 – Southern Nazarene at Northwestern, 5 p.m.
It will be Senior Day in Alva at Ranger Field, which is continuing its renovation as Northwestern is making the transition to Division II. These two teams struggled in 2013, combining for just two wins. NWOSU coach Alan Hall has two new coordinators and a stable of quarterbacks with some experience coming into 2014. SNU brought Division I transfer James Mauro at QB and will return strength at the linebacker spot.
• Nov. 15 – Bacone at Langston, 2 p.m.
Last year’s game was an instant classic – Langston won 39-37 in the final minute – and this year the CSFL title could well be decide when BC and LU meet again. Anderson Stadium is a wonderful place to watch a game and the halftime festivities at Langston will keep you in your seat during the intermission. Another offensive shootout between these two would be a fun way to close out the regular season.
• Nov. 21, 22 – High school playoffs
By now, you’ve had the opportunity to see every college team in the state at least once. Most have finished their schedules by now, but high school football in Oklahoma is deep into the playoffs. This is a fun way to spend a Friday or Saturday.
How does this tie in to college football? Admittedly, only loosely. But a number of the players on the field this weekend will be playing in a college uniform next season here in the state.
• Dec. 6 – Bedlam: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, Time TBD
Can’t leave this one off the list. If you can get a ticket to this game, do it. If not, at least you will have avoided the traffic on I-35. Any way around, it is likely to have an impact on the Big 12 title. And the games of late between these two have been compelling from start to finish.
And by this time, basketball season has already started. But it will have been quite the experience, if you can make even half of these games. Good luck.