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OU to move its 2024 season opener to Friday night

headshotby:George Stoia04/09/24


OU is moving its 2024 season opener against Temple from Saturday, Aug. 31, to Friday, Aug. 30, SoonerScoop has learned. The game will be played at 6 p.m. and broadcast nationally on ESPN. 

This decision has been in the works recently after ESPN and the SEC approached OU about potentially moving the game. Oklahoma’s administration was open to the move when it was apparent that if the game remained on Saturday, it likely would’ve been an 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

“We were asked to consider moving up the season opener by a day so ESPN could televise our first game as a member of the SEC in a primetime window,” OU athletics director Joe Castiglione said. “It’s a unique and exciting opportunity for us, as it will be our first Friday night game in the history of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and will give our team tremendous visibility nationally. Another major plus is, given the kick time, our players and fans should benefit from a cooler temperature. It’s reasonable to expect that playing in the evening will significantly mitigate some of the heat issues we typically deal with during early season day games. Our first-ever ‘Friday Night Lights’ will undoubtedly be one for the books, and we’re excited to open the season and our first year in the SEC in such a spectacular fashion.”

OU has made it clear it prefers not to play 11 a.m. kickoffs, especially early in the season due to the Oklahoma heat. This decision was made to avoid the heat and become the prime-time game entering college football’s opening weekend. Oklahoma did something similar in 2019 when the Sooners moved its season opener against Houston on Saturday to Sunday night. 

The only hold-up for OU during the process was interfering with Friday night high school football. Oklahoma did not want to overshadow local high school football. But because it’s Labor Day Weekend, some high schools will be playing on Thursday instead of Friday. With it also being Labor Day Weekend, that was another reason OU felt comfortable moving the game. 

This is the second consecutive season OU will play on a Friday, playing TCU on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day last season. But Oklahoma, as well as the SEC, doesn’t intend to make this a regular occurrence. This was a one-time situation that OU and the SEC felt was best for all parties, with the Sooners escaping the heat and the SEC showing off one of its new programs in prime time. 

As for the rest of Oklahoma’s 2024 season, those times and channels are expected to be released this summer. The SEC is hopeful it will avoid many 11 a.m. kicks. OU is hopeful, too. 

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