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Thursday Night Games

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Berry Tramel wrote a piece yesterday in The Oklahoman about how he hopes OSU doesn’t move its game with Arizona to Thursday night.

I agree with his idea (that it’s a poor decision to deprive the general Stillwater community of the money that’s brought in on Saturday home game days and force fans to travel hundreds of miles on a work night) but can’t get on board with the premise: that decisions by the athletic department are, or should be, driven by anything other than what’s best for the Oklahoma State athletic program.

The first question has to be, “is it a competitive advantage to move the Arizona game from Saturday to Thursday?” I think it is. One big problem for home teams playing in Thursday night games is all the hype surrounding the game. This one would especially be wrought with emotion as it would easily be the biggest non-conference game for OSU all year.

But the Cowboys have the stars to handle that. Brandon Weeden, the heartbeat of the team, has apparently been through every conceivable pressure situation possible in an athletic arena short of standing over a 4-foot putt to win the Big 12. And I’m sure in good time that will come too. The point is that the Cowboys are mature enough to handle the frenzy, especially at home.

Plus they have a history (albeit brief) of winning Thursday night games at home. The hoopla surrounding this game could actually work to their advantage rather than to their detriment as it does so often with young, inexperience, undisciplined squads.

Think of it this way: is OSU losing a mid-Saturday afternoon game buried on Fox Sports Southwest to an average Pac-10 team on the second weekend of the year? Probably not but it’s feasible, right?

Now, are they losing a nationally televised ESPN game under the lights with Erin Andrews pacing the sidelines in their brand new still-sparkling slate-trimmed Nike uniforms? Um, no, they aren’t. They could play that game 400 times and I’m convinced OSU would win 398 of them.

This team has a chance to be special, it truly does. So let’s not base our decisions for the football team on what’s best for Eskimo Joe’s and Murphy’s respective bottom lines. And don’t worry about the Thursday crowd. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this is an opportunity to take advantage of the entirety of your season ticket holder fan base showing up on a week night. Heck, I’ll probably take two days PTO for the trip. Nobody’s going to be staying home, not for the opening (I don’t count Louisiana-Lafayette) to what could be a pantheon-level 12-14 weeks.

Stick this game on a Thursday night, let Weeden and Blackmon launch their dueling Heisman campaigns, release the new uniforms, let Stoops embarrass himself on national TV, and get the nation talking.

Lights, camera, Cowboys.

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