As two of only three FBS teams in their state and lying just an hour-plus drive apart, it’s only natural Oklahoma State and Tulsa would develop an ongoing relationship that at some points resembled a rivalry. And for a while they did.
The Cowboys and Golden Hurricane first met in 1914 and played nearly annually through 1965, and then again from 1981 through 2000. But the two have played only thrice since.
Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder would like to change that. As Bill Haisten writes in the Tulsa World, OSU and Tulsa are scheduled for games in 2017 and 2020 but nothing beyond that. Holder has expressed to his TU counterpart Derrick Gragg he would like the schools to play annually in football and men’s basketball.
“We like the idea of playing Tulsa in football and basketball on an annual basis. This matchup brings a lot of passion on both sides,” Holder said. “I’ve visited about this multiple times with Derrick Gragg, and I believe that he is open-minded about the concept.”
In a case of the left shoe being on the right foot, it’s up to the small, private mid-major to decide whether it wants to accept the large, major conference state school’s offer. Gragg said he’s waiting on Oklahoma State to back up its intention with a written offer.
“I’m open to it and we’ve had discussions about it,” Gragg told the paper, “but at the end of the day, we’re always going to do what’s best for TU.
“As you can imagine, we’re talking to a lot of institutions about playing football and basketball in the future. We haven’t been presented anything (from OSU) in writing. Usually when you have these kinds of discussions, a school will follow up and give you some type of proposal (on paper). We’ve yet to receive that.”
On the surface, an annual Oklahoma State series seems to make perfect sense for Tulsa. Road games offer a half a million dollar payment, an interesting opponent and the chance to be home by bed time. Home games equal an automatic sellout of H.A. Chapman Stadium.
“I’ve tried to think of any down side to having Tulsa and Oklahoma State playing in multiple sports, and I haven’t come up with anything yet,” Holder said. “Another aspect that can’t be overstated is that Oklahoma State has so many alumni living in Tulsa.
“The Tulsa and OSU people interact every day, whether it be in business or at restaurants or on a golf course. It’s great to have something to talk about. Competing in athletics is one of those things.”
Oklahoma State holds a 40-28-5 all-time advantage on the gridiron with wins in nine of their last 10 meetings, including a 59-33 decision in 2011 — a rain-soaked game that didn’t end until 3:35 a.m. Tulsa time.