In-State Implications

NORMAN, Okla. -- The only game bigger than this weekend's OU-TU contest for the state of Oklahoma in terms of college football players going at it in the state is the Bedlam game.

Other than that, this Saturday's match-up between No. 12 OU and the unranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane is the biggest game between two Oklahoma schools this year, since Oklahoma State and Tulsa don't play.

But it has possible implications for all three schools.


Well, the reasons are obvious.

Recruiting and program projection in the state of Oklahoma are both affected by an in-state game.

Undoubtedly, OU's program attracts more athletes because of its eight national championships, 42 conference championships, five Heisman winners and the rest of the accolades in the Sooner program.

But those in-between players that could serve as backups at OU sometimes start at Tulsa.

It's nothing against the Tulsa football program, but over time it is inferior to OU's.

And that makes this an even more important battle than just the national ranks.

So this weekend's game could have huge implications for both OU and TU depending on the outcome.

OU is expected to win, but should it falter then TU would be in a much better position, especially when it comes to selling the program to in-state recruits.

If high school players see the Tulsa program starting to have more success—which it has had a lot of in recent years—they might be more inclined to go there and possibly start as opposed to possibly playing in a reserve role at OU.

On top of that, both schools could steal recruits away from OSU, and vice versa.

As for possible consequences like these of playing an in-state team, OU head coach Bob Stoops would not comment about them.

"I don't know what they'd be," Stoops said. "I don't know what they'd be. You guys can think about the [consequences], but I don't see any."

Instead, Stoops said it's a good opportunity for both schools and the fan bases.

"In the end, it's, you know, we've gone over there a few years ago, and that was a [good battle]; fortunately we won," Stoops said. "And, you know, you think of a good experience for everybody. The people over there seemed to appreciate it, but in the end, it's something to do from time to time."

At the end of the day, regardless of the implications, the approach has to be the same as any other game.

"In the end, [it] doesn't much matter," Stoops said. "It's another game on the schedule, and about everybody will play throughout the year. Some guys you have offered. Some guys you haven't. In the end, we each only get 25 [scholarships]. You can't have everybody, so obviously there's some guys on our team that other schools didn't offer as well, so in the end I don't know that that matters a whole lot."

It may or may not ultimately matter for each and every recruit, but one thing's for sure: one team will have some in-state bragging rights after the Sooners and Golden Hurricane meet on the gridiron Saturday.

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