Oklahoma State football: Cowboys deserve credit for scheduling Alabama

 

Oklahoma State and Alabama announced a home-and-home football series for 2028 and 2029, bringing Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide to Stillwater first before Mike Gundy and the Cowboys return the favor with a trip to Tuscaloosa the following year.

Pinch yourselves, Cowboys fans. It’s OK to think that you might have been dreaming this morning.

Oklahoma State football announced a home-and-home series with defending national champion Alabama for the 2028 and 2029 seasons.

The series clearly ups the ante for the OSU football program, which has scheduled the team at the pinnacle of college football for an even-playing field series. OSU already has a non-conference series set with Arizona State, Arkansas, Oregon, and Nebraska in the upcoming years.

Alabama, on the other hand, has already arranged a similar home-and-home series with several other big-name programs in the next decade: Texas, Wisconsin, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. Lumping OSU in the same breath (with one burnt-orange exception) as these schools on the gridiron is an unmistakable honor.

Interestingly enough, the Pokes own a winning record against the Crimson Tide (something very few teams can claim) by virtue of winning the teams’ only meeting, the 2006 Independence Bowl. Led by quarterback Bobby Reid and wide receiver Adarius Bowman, those Cowboys finished the year at 3-5 in the Big 12 and 7-6 overall after their 34-31 win against the Tide, who were on the cusp of hiring Nick Saban from the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

The upcoming series, though the first contest doesn’t take place for seven years, speaks well of the Cowboys on several fronts.

First, it shows that OSU is willing to schedule anyone, at anytime. Arizona State and Arkansas are OSU’s next two scheduled Power Five non-conference opponents, but that arriving at the start of the alphabet is about all they have in common with the Crimson Tide. Arranging these games at least shows that OSU brass isn’t afraid of scheduling the best team in college football.

Second, the announced series is taking place on even footing. This isn’t a two-for-one or a payout game given to a lesser team. Instead, the Tide are almost on the level of equals with OSU in this series, simply agreeing to visit each other’s home stadiums (instead of a neutral site game like OSU has done with Mississippi State and Florida State in years past) in alternating years.

Third, the move brings publicity and exposure to Oklahoma State. Nick Saban just signed an extension that will presumably keep him on the sidelines in Tuscaloosa through the end of the 2028 season — just in time for a September visit to Stillwater early in the year. Alabama is one of most known national college football brands and is the hands down the most successful.

Saban has won six national titles during his tenure with the Tide and routinely churns out the nation’s best five-star recruits into NFL-ready stars. With the chatter, the TV coverage, and the attention brought by playing Alabama, it can only give OSU coaches another great talking point to bring out on the recruiting trail.

The bottom line is, don’t worry about facing a top-ranked Alabama squad in a few years (the Tide have been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the past 14 seasons). OSU can derive a number of benefits from simply sharing the field with the Tide starting in 2028.