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OSU Football: Who would want to be a college football scheduler?

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I’ve added a job to the list of gigs that I never want to have.

College football scheduler.

I had that realization last week when I talked with Dave Martin about why Oklahoma State scheduled Savannah State. He is the athletic department employee charged with setting up the Cowboys’ non-conference football schedule, and when conference realignment hit, he and others like him from around the college football world found themselves scrambling to repair their non-conference schedules.

To read about how OSU ended up with Savannah State on its schedule, you can read my column by clicking here.

But the truth is, even when conference realignment isn’t the norm, non-conference scheduling in college football seems maddening.

Martin outlined four big-time, home-and-home series that OSU had in the works at one point. The Cowboys were set to play: Purdue in 2013 and 2016; North Carolina State in 2014 and 2015; Air Force in 2015 and 2016; and Clemson in 2017 and 2018.

But …

“North Carolina State … sent us a letter and said they didn’t want to play us,” Martin said. “Purdue got in a situation where they … had to reschedule to 2016 and 2019. Then they called and said they thought their league was going to change to nine games, and because of that, the years that we wanted to play them, it just didn’t work with them.”

Air Force and OSU mutually chose to dissolve the contract.

As for Clemson?

Former OSU athletic director Terry Don Phillips is now the AD at Clemson. He called Martin when it looked like the ACC was going to nine conference games. Because Clemson always plays in-state rival South Carolina every year, Phillips didn’t want to have two tough non-conference opponents.

So, there you have four series, or eight games, that were done deals and are now dead.

Obviously, a couple of those changes came because of conference realignment, but not all of them. It just underscores the challenge that exists in scheduling non-conference games in college football. There is no central clearinghouse for scheduling like you have in the pro leagues. There is no help for the individual schools. Every school is on their own to create a non-conference schedule, and it’s no easy task.

After my conversation with Dave Martin, it’s a task I’m sure I never want to have.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›