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OU, OSU push '06 Bedlam game to Thanksgiving

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The 2006 Bedlam football game between
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State has been moved back to Thanksgiving
weekend, officials from both schools said Monday.

The game, originally scheduled for Sept. 30, now will be played
Nov. 25, one week before the Big 12 Conference championship game.
This year's Bedlam game will be played at Oklahoma State and will
be televised.

The change was announced as Oklahoma released its 2006 schedule
and the Cowboys re-released their calendar with the bedlam date.

The teams played on Thanksgiving weekend from 1999 to 2002, but
on an earlier weekend the past three years. Oklahoma State has
expressed a preference for playing on Thanksgiving weekend, while
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has said he prefers keeping that weekend
open in case the Sooners qualified for the Big 12 championship
game.

The Big 12's television contract played a major role in the
switch. The contract requires Oklahoma to play on Thanksgiving
weekend at least four times in an eight-year period and for
Oklahoma State to play in that slot at least twice.

Stoops said Monday that he wasn't unhappy with the change.
Oklahoma State athletic department spokesman Steve Buzzard sounded
even more enthusiastic.

"I think the majority of fans enjoy the game being on that
weekend," Buzzard said. "From that standpoint, it works out
pretty well. Plus, it's a prime TV weekend."

Both teams now will have an open date on Sept. 30.

Oklahoma will play 12 NCAA Division I-A teams, including
nonconference home games against Alabama-Birmingham on Sept. 2,
Washington on Sept. 9 and Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 23. The
Sooners have one nonconference road game, at Oregon on Sept. 16 in
a rematch of the recent Holiday Bowl, won by the Sooners 17-14.

Oklahoma will open the Big 12 portion of its schedule on Oct. 7
in Dallas against defending national champion Texas. The Sooners
have only three conference home games _ against Iowa State on Oct.
14, Colorado on Oct. 21 and Texas Tech on Nov. 11. Four of the
Sooners' final five regular-season games will be away from Norman.

Stoops was pleased with the Sooners' nonconference schedule,
especially with the game against Middle Tennessee State. Division
I-A teams were allowed to schedule a 12th game starting in 2006 and
Stoops said the Sooners wanted to avoid using the extra game to
schedule a Division I-AA team if possible. Middle Tennessee State
is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

"We didn't have a lot of people wanting to play us or [who had]
availability [in scheduling]," Stoops said.

The combined 2005 record of OU's 12 opponents was 71-62.

"The scheduling process becomes a little more complicated each
year, and this one was no exception," Oklahoma athletic director
Joe Castiglione said. "Finding opponents and matching dates has
become something of a science, but the diligence is always worth it
in the end."

Oklahoma State will open at home against Division I-AA Missouri
State on Sept. 2. The Cowboys will play in Little Rock against
Arkansas State on Sept. 9, host Florida Atlantic on Sept. 16 and
visit Houston on Sept. 23.

The Cowboys start Big 12 play on Oct. 7 at Kansas State.
Oklahoma State's Big 12 home games will be against Texas A&M on
Oct. 21, Nebraska on Oct. 28, Baylor on Nov. 11 and Oklahoma.