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Oklahoma is unhappy with Fox’s Week 3 programming decision.

The Sooners host Nebraska on Sept. 18 in a game that marks the 50th anniversary of the teams’ famous matchup dubbed the Game of the Century. The two former Big 12 rivals scheduled a non-conference game for 2021 to commemorate Nebraska’s 35-31 win in a game of unbeaten teams. 

The game is one of the biggest of the second week of the college football season and is officially a Big 12 television game because Oklahoma is at home. And with Fox having Big 12 football rights, it pounced at the opportunity to have the game in its Noon ET Big Noon Kickoff timeslot.

That’s 11 a.m. in Norman. And Oklahoma wishes the game started at least a few hours later. 

“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.,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe 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.”

We’re guessing that Oklahoma would have preferred the game kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET or in a primetime game on either Fox or an ABC/ESPN network. But Fox has pushed its marquee game of the day to Noon ET for better ratings against later afternoon and evening games. And that effort has been successful for both Fox and college football fans. More fans can see more good games with Fox’s schedule and the network has seen a ratings boost.

And besides, a large portion of the money that Oklahoma and the Big 12 gets annually from its television deals comes from Fox televising Big 12 football games. There’s no doubt that Oklahoma would not trade that TV money to pick its game times each week.

Yeah, the kickoff time may stink for Oklahoma and for fans that want to tailgate before the game. But college football has become a national sport because of its national TV deals. And the number of people potentially watching the game at Noon ET outweighs any gripes Oklahoma has about the schedule. 

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