One of the beneficial side effects out of all the conference re-alignment mess, it is that we are all now in "improvement" mode with our respective programs. AD's, coaches, fanbases, boosters, and groupies of every remaining Big XII team are all asking themselves the same question, "What can we improve to make our athletic program, and institution as a whole, more valuable to potential conference suitors?" (Most common answer: lower the age of consent) It has changed our perspective a little. For example, instead of thinking of Stilly as a quaint little town where it is fun as hell to spend your late teens and early twenties... now some of us see it as a town that needs some attractions added in order to make it more exciting for visiting fans (btw..suggested improvements to Stillwater will definitely be a future post).
Seeing A&M head into the 2nd year of their renewed rivalry with Arkansas at Jerry World got me thinking that it would be a great thing for O-State to have something similar...a long-term series with a non-Big XII football opponent that would quickly turn into a rivalry. The off hand benefits I can think of:
- Improved SOS.
- Creation of a new tradition.
- Gets us some national attention by getting us out of our own backyard. This would force another BCS conference to take a look at O-State every season.
- Potentially open up a new recruiting pipeline.
- If the game were always at neutral site, it allows us fans to have a planed destination every season.
- A more uniform schedule. As college football fans, we love us some year-to-year predictability.
- One less Non-Conf game to worry about scheduling for whoever does that. So it makes one guys job easier. Yeah!
- A minimum of one (1) lucky girl from the opposing fanbase will get to have a mind-blowing yearly experience with the WO staff at the cheapest motel within walking distance to the stadium.
Well we know the benefits (because I just told you them), now let's discuss what schools best fit the role of "Long-term Oklahoma State Rival", and if it would best work at a neutral site or as alternating home games between the two teams?
Click the jump for more words
Before we just start listing teams, I think there should be a few rules:
- Only teams from a BCS conference, or possibly a very elite mid-major (like a Boise). No offense intended to Tulsa, but very few of those listed benefits would apply to a series with a team from Conf-USA.
- We should focus on teams that are on a similar standing as Oklahoma State. No Ohio State's or USC's, and on the shittier side of the spectrum, no Wash State's or Duke's. This post is a decent reference of teams.
- Regionality counts for something, but with expanding conferences looming it is not as much of a necessity as it would have been if we were having this discussion 10 years ago. In fact, if re-alignment talk were to be believed, the further away the better as it would then affect more TV's in more regions.
- Sort of an addendum to rule #3...The schools need to be somewhat close together if a neutral site is to be considered. I would say that for a neutral site to be an option, it needs to be less than a 9 hour drive for each school. From Stillwater this gives us the options of Dallas, Kansas City, Memphis, St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio, and Denver as neutral site possibilities.
- A second addendum to rule #3 (I'm appeasing the readers here since the top complaint about this site has always been "not enough addendums"). There would also need to be a strong alumni base from both schools in the host city for a neutral site to be considered. I understand that this would be a rule but I spent a while bing-ing the googles looking for this information and came up empty, so for the purposes of this article we will probably just have to ignore this rule. I will say, for whatever it is worth, that there are OSU alumni chapters in all of the above cities except Memphis.
So without further ado, here is a quick list.
Candidates with a Neutral Field Possibility
9 hours from Stillwater
30 minutes from Boulder
9 hours from Stillwater
8.5 hours from Salt Lake City
7 hours from Stillwater
1.5 hours from Oxford
Location: St Louis
7 hours from Stillwater
6.5 hours from Madison
Location: Kansas City
5 hours from Stillwater to KC
5 hours from Iowa City to KC
LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Miss St are also possibilities out of the SEC, but I thought it was good enough to choose one, and I think Ole Miss is a better matchup than any of those. And yes I know that some of those schools already have non-conf series that would conflict, but I am just throwing out the most logical choices based on geography for now.
As for the list of schools we could alternate home games with, that list could probably be 50 schools long as a series with any random team from a BCS conference could eventually become a great rivalry. However, I can only think of one school that is not in our region that would make an alternating home game series interesting right off the bat.
A yearly showdown to determine who the best orange and black clad OSU is. All it needs is a clever rivalry name and this thing would be a huge hit right away. Here is me firing out some quick rivalry name ideas.
- Black and Orange Beatdown
- The "O" Series
- The Mirror Rivalry
- The Battle to be the 2nd Best OSU in the Nation
OK. Those names aren't great... but there is small chance that there is someone out there that is better at thinking up rivalry names than I am (a very small chance) who could come up with the official name.
So what do you think? Any other suggestions that would make an interesting neutral field or alternating home game series with Oklahoma State? Come on... I need your involvement here to validate this idea. This post's self-esteem can't take the hit of no one interacting with it, and I fear that without enough attention it will just fall by the wayside like so many great ideas on this site that never received proper follow up. I mean Cincy would already have his train built if you guys had just shown a little interest.
Let me know what you think. Would a Non-Conf series be beneficial to Oklahoma State? Do you have any candidates in mind that I didn't think of? Do you like questions?