Robert Allen's High Five

This is still a new feature each week during football season. Really, this is just five topics that I have an opinion on that I want to throw out there. Most will be Oklahoma State football related but we will hit some other topics too. You'll notice no negatives this week. There will be some but I promise not to be a Pollyanna in orange all the time. Here we got with Robert Allen's High Five!

1. To Play Tulsa or Not to Play?
This one gets argued almost as much as any topic I can think of among Cowboy fans. Scheduling has become such a personal and hot button issue. It's almost like Republicans and Democrats. Republicans don't see the value in playing Tulsa, as a win over the Golden Hurricane does little to enhance your program.

Most years you will get the recruits you want in competition with Tulsa, you already get more media attention, and in the state football pecking order you aren't number one, but you are definitely number two. You lose to Tulsa and the perception becomes you are number three. Democrats say Tulsa is a worthy opponent and worthy of the opportunity to prove themselves against a Big 12 team from their home state.

The truth is both arguments have validity. Tulsa is a good football team and program. The Golden Hurricane have good players and put on a good show virtually every Saturday with an exciting offense and a host of athletes that could play and excel in the Big 12.

The problem is Tulsa is a better team than the reputation they carry. Beat Tulsa and it is a ho-hum win, lose to Tulsa and the sky is falling. Who is to blame for that? Perception and in college football it is a hard thing to change.

Oklahoma State has battled and continues to battle some of that. The Dave Sittlers and other old school media types believe Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan are the powers and membership to the elite club is severely limited.

I kind of blame Conference USA. The Mountain West has helped TCU and Brigham Young become national schools with good reputations. Imagine this, Boise State is ranked third in the nation as a member of the WAC. However, Conference USA teams have not seen any kind of significant rise in their reputation.

The league is tied to seven bowls, a nice number, but with the exception of their champion going to the Liberty Bowl to play a lower finishing SEC school and their potential match-up with a Big 12 team in the Texas Bowl only if Navy can't fill the spot, C-USA is seeing teams from the WAC (Sheraton Hawaii), Sun Belt (New Orleans), MAC (Eagle Bank Bowl), Mountain West (Bell Helicopter), and a lower qualifying Big East team (St. Petersburg).

Television exposure is worse as Conference USA either gets weeknights on ESPN or ESPN2 and Saturdays on CBS College Sports. Tulsa is a worthy oppenent. I would love to see Oklahoma State play them for a long time. It is a good and profitable series to play. Unfortunately, it is a public image nightmare. If I were Tulsa, I would try and meet some new and good friends in the Mountain West.

2. Brandon Weeden's Thumb
First it was his age and now it is his thumb. Brandon Weeden got sick of answering the questions about how it felt to be a 26-year-old quarterback, now soon to be 27-year-old quarterback. Now Weeden is getting the third degree over his thumb. It is almost a constant on the Internet as bloggers update by the moment the condition of his "sprained" appendage.

With all the attention being given the thumb, if I were an opposing coach I might design a game plan to attack the thumb. I realize that being a fan means living, breathing and even feeling the pain of your Saturday heroes, but lighten up.

Weeden has an injured thumb and it really hurts. We do know that he can throw and throw well as he completed 29 of 39 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns against Troy. Yes, he had two interceptions but not because of the thumb, one was a tipped pass. He also fumbled twice and those could be attributed to the thumb.

Weeden and the Oklahoma State sports medicine staff report that each day the thumb will improve and the pain will lessen. I think it is safe to say everybody would be in agreement that the Cowboys are better if Weeden plays, bum thumb or not.

I'll admit I never really got sick of the talk of Weeden's age, still think it is a neat angle. I am sick of the thumb talk, more talk and it becomes and excuse. I don't think Brandon Weeden sees it that way and I don't think anybody in the program will either. It's probably better if the focus comes off "the thumb."

3. More Room in the NCAA Rule Book
Boy, I know I'm opening up a can of worms here all the way from USC to North Carolina. The NCAA manual is already big enough, but many of the complaints come from schools that feel they didn't get a fair shake from an NCAA committee and that their punishment wasn't consistent with what other schools have received for the same or similar infractions.

My argument here is based on the situation with Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. Georgia head coach Mark Richt is waiting for an appeal that may never come for the four-game suspension of Green for selling his bowl jersey for $1,000. Last year Oklahoma State waited before getting the bad news from the NCAA on Dez Bryant's lying to NCAA investigators about his meeting with Deion Sanders.

I realize I am asking for something few may want and that is enlarging the NCAA Manual, but how about the NCAA printing the punishment for most rules violations. It would save time and save committee work if there was a punishment, based on past criteria, for the more repetitive rules violations. It might also help the public image that the NCAA has favored schools as punsihment would be more consistent. Just a thought, although imagine how big that book will now be.

4. Tickets, Crowds, and Pay-Per-View
I understand that Oklahoma State fans across the country are upset as their team is not scheduled to be on the television for the second straight week. That hasn't happened much lately.

The word was out from Bill Haisten in the Tulsa World that Mike Holder turned down pay-per-view and a satellite feed that would have allowed satellite customers a free viewing nationally. Mike of New York City called my radio show and was unhappy about watch groups in New York City at Manhattan's Stillwater Bar, as well as newly formed groups in Philadelphia and Boston, would not get to see the game.

Schools partner with Fox Sports on the pay-per-view and if there aren't enough subscribers it can be a losing proposition. The school should not take a loss. Holder said the main reason he turned it down was to promote fans buying tickets and being in the stadium.

I am with the "coach" on that. I buy two donor seats and my tickets for the Tulsa game list a price of $175. That said, I am more than willing for unused tickets (outside the donor sections) to be given away to charity or for tickets to be sold at a discout to worthy groups like the military, FCA, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, etc.

I want a full house of screaming Oklahoma State fans. I may pay full price but I'm willing to let some others join us even if they get a major discount. First and foremost, I like for Oklahoma State players to get the maximum crowd support. Fill up the stadium and then let the satellite companies take the feed so our out-of-town friends can cheer on the Cowboys too.

5. Ines, Save the See Thru for Late Night
This situation is very simple. I know we live in a progressive society and I know the media has long been permitted into the sanctum of professional football locker rooms, the same in the NBA and Major League Baseball's clubhouses, but colleges long ago did away with locker room access and went to interview rooms where athletes could come dressed and prepared to meet with the cameras and microphones.

I know the media will find this limiting and feel it cuts them out of a privilege but it makes all the sense in the world. The world is more accepting of sex and exposure and "when in Rome do as the Romans" but this is America, a country more conservative in that regard. I really don't think men need to be in women's locker rooms, or women in men's locker rooms. Honestly, I only think team members, coaches, and support personnel should be in team locker rooms.

I did see Ines Sainz on the Today Show, and while she sounded sincere about not feeling violated about her experience in the New York Jets facilities and the locker room, she is as guilty of bringing this on herself as the Jets are for acting like immature teenagers on hormones. She was wearing a see thru top on her visit to the Jets camp that day.

Sainz is as much sexy model as she is reporter and all you have to do is Google her to find that out. For young females preparing to go to work as sports reporters, please leave the stileto heels and mini-skirts in the closet, at least during the work day.

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