In his weekly Monday press conference, Bob Stoops refused to say a bad word about Thursday football games.
“I don’t mind it once in awhile,” he said. “A game is a game.”
When pressed, he said, “We’re part of a ten-team league that has a TV contract that’s pretty good. It supplements a lot of other sports, so you do your part and jump in. You go at it whatever day they tell you.”
While Stoops clearly knows how to talk about the games, it must be at least a little annoying to have to change your entire routine for a midweek contest. Although the Big 12 TV contract stipulates at least four Thursday games a season, Stoops himself has rarely been asked to switch things up, mostly because Oklahoma can’t host a Thursday game.
The last time he did, though, things did not go well for Stoops and the Sooners.
OU’s first Thursday night game under the current TV deal came in 2013 in Waco. That season had started with lots of uncertainty, as the unknown quantity Trevor Knight had replaced Landry Jones at quarterback. With a bizarre Texas loss already under their belt, the Sooners weren’t really in the title game hunt but still held an excellent 7-1 record before the Baylor contest.
The #6 Bears, though, absolutely smoked Oklahoma 41-12 that night. Shock Linwood burned OU for 184 yards on the ground and Bryce Petty threw for another 204. Baylor totally dominated the middle quarters in that one, and it wasn’t ever close.
It’s tempting to say the short week aided the Bears margin of victory that night, but Oklahoma and Baylor were actually both coming off a bye, a luxury neither OU nor ISU will enjoy this Thursday.
Oklahoma has played just two other non-Saturday games in the Stoops era, both against Tulsa. OU opened the 2002 season on a Friday night in Tulsa, blowing out the Hurricanes 37-0 on ESPN. Five years later, the Sooners laid waste to Tulsa on a Friday night again, winning 62-21 in Chapman Stadium on September 20, 2007.
This Iowa State Cyclones team hardly rivals 2013 Baylor in talent, but there’s one major reason teams don’t like to play them at night in Ames: on a November Friday night in 2011, they knocked off a previously undefeated Oklahoma State and ended its national title hopes. The stakes aren’t nearly so high this time around, and I don’t expect the Sooners to have many problems with their short week—as long as the rest of their starters don’t go tearing up parking tickets.