Report: Oklahoma petitions to move up Week 1 game, create bye week before playing Tennessee
The college football news cycle has recently focused on discussions and developments concerning delayed, condensed or canceled schedules. Oklahoma appears to be taking a different approach to its schedule (at least until the Big 12 makes a decision).
According to a report by Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, the Sooners have petitioned the NCAA for a waiver to move up their Week 1 game against Missouri State from Sept. 5 to Aug. 29 to get an extra bye week. OU’s second scheduled game is against Tennessee on Sept. 12.
Per the report, Oklahoma’s waiver request isn’t about getting extra rest before playing the Volunteers (though any banged-up Sooners would certainly benefit) but about being able to conduct more tests for coronavirus:
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione’s rationale in this pandemic-stricken year is that moving the opener would give OU an off week after each of its first two games, which could be valuable with the testing of players for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
If Oklahoma gets its waiver, the Sooners would actually have 2 bye weeks during their first three games. OU already has a Sept. 19 bye after playing UT and would next play Army on Sept. 26. With the current turnaround time on COVID-19 tests, it will be interesting to see if extra bye weeks become a trend in the college football schedule.
The SEC, of course, may settle the issue before the NCAA responds to Oklahoma’s petition. The 14 SEC athletic directors are meeting Monday in Birmingham to discuss the fall 2020 sports schedule. The ADs may decide to go conference-only as the Big Ten and Pac-12 already have.
Currently, Tennessee is scheduled to host Charlotte on Sept. 5 before making the trip to Norman, Oklahoma. Charlotte AD Mike Hill was asked about the game during a Sunday appearance on ESPN Radio and indicated the game is still on as of right now.