Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Thursday that the school is unhappy with Fox’s decision to show this season’s game against Nebraska in Norman as the network’s early kickoff on Sept. 18.
“We are bitterly disappointed that the great Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry, on the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century, will kick off at 11 a.m. [local time],” Castiglione said in a statement. “We tried every possible avenue to proactively make our case. The Big 12 Conference also supported our strenuous efforts to secure a more traditional time that would honor this game and our fans. However, in the end, our TV partner chose to exercise its full contractual rights and denied our requests.”
Fox’s “Big Noon Saturday” show also is set to be broadcast from Norman immediately before the game.
The game, which was scheduled in 2012, is a renewal of one of college football’s great rivalries from the Big Eight and, later, the Big 12, with a home-and-home series set for 2021 and 2022, and again for 2029 (in Norman) and 2030 (in Lincoln, Nebraska). The teams last played each other in the 2010 Big 12 championship game before the Cornhuskers departed for the Big Ten the following season.
This season’s game is to mark the anniversary of the legendary 1971 game between No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Oklahoma, with Nebraska winning, 35-31.
The TV time isn’t the first bit of upheaval surrounding this year’s game. Reports suggested in March that Nebraska was trying to get out of the game, before Huskers athletic director Bill Moos admitted the Huskers explored the possibility of adding an eighth home game.
“That option would have helped us mitigate cost-cutting measures and provide a much-needed boost to our local economy,” he said. “Ultimately, the decision was made to move forward with our game at Oklahoma in 2021.”
Castiglione also spoke at that time about the significance of the game and said Oklahoma would have events planned around it.
“The planning for this game was intentional as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century,” Castiglione said in March. “We’ve been looking forward to celebrating these two storied programs and have collaborated on various aspects of what promises to be a special weekend.”