Saturday, March 01, 2014

Bring Back Mirrored Schedules

I'm old enough to remember when the Big 8 basketball schedules mirrored opponents for the men's and women's teams, and each team would be home opposite weeks.

Back before TV completely blew up scheduling rhythm,  games were usually played on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. The men might be on the road for two games while the women were at home for that week, then they would switch. The convenient part was that each would play the same opponent on the same day- If the men were in Stillwater, you knew the women were hosting the Cowgirls.

That symmetry gave the season a nice bit of predictability.

"Travel partners" only added to this. In the Big 8 days, OU and Okie State went on the road together, as did KU and Mizzou, K State and Colorado, and Nebraska with Iowa State. If you had a home game week, you would play OU on Wednesday and then OSU on Saturday.  When you traveled south, you swung through Norman and Stillwater in the same trip. With 14 games spread across 8 weeks, you then had a built in night off during the week that you played your travel partner. Symmetry.

These schedules arose in the days of trains and buses, when a trip from Ames to Oklahoma was a project. Now that every road trip involves an airplane and is paid with a TV rights check economizing travel costs is less important. But two-game road trips with your travel partner conveyed, even subtly, that everyone was working together to make lives easier.

That ethic evaporated about the same time as basketball shorts stopped being short.

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