OK, start with Georgia thinking it had a deal with Oregon State for a three game series (two in Athens, starting in 2007 and one in Corvallis). Then, Oregon State backs out.
So Georgia’s got a hole in its schedule for next year. Who does Damon Evans turn to for some help?
Georgia has enlisted the help of ESPN in finding a game. The network is making calls on behalf of the Bulldogs and trying to put together an attractive television matchup.
“ESPN can help us make it more attractive,” Evans said. “They have connections, and they know what the landscape is out there.”
And guess what? ESPN comes through:
…In a deal brokered by ESPN, Oklahoma State will open the 2007 football season at Georgia. In the 2009 opener, in the first game played at the completely renovated Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Georgia will visit the Cowboys.
The two-game contract was finalized on Wednesday, after Cowboy coach Mike Gundy approved the deal…
The Cowboys’ AD is excited about the direction the program is taking, but I suspect he’s more pleased about the quid pro quo he squeezed out of the network:
As a reward for having accepted the trip to Georgia, ESPN officials have guaranteed OSU two additional ESPN exposures during the 2007 season.
But wait – we’re not done yet. Because this morning comes the news that Oregon State is considering playing its 2007 opener at Auburn:
Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis told The (Portland) Oregonian that OSU was considering a one-game contract to open the 2007 season at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“There’s an offer on the table and there’s a lot of money involved, but we’ve got to think about that and take a look at a lot of different things,” De Carolis told the newspaper.
And how did these two schools hook up? You got it:
ESPN is brokering a deal that could provide Auburn a made-for-television football opener for the second season in a row…
…Auburn senior associate athletic director Mark Richard confirmed Tuesday that Auburn was working with ESPN to find an opponent to fill out its schedule…
Boy, that sure is cozy. Makes you wonder what ESPN offered for the Auburn matchup that it didn’t offer for the Georgia matchup.
And Auburn has two open dates on its 2007 schedule to fill. Better keep that Rolodex handy…