In the fall, one event makes everything take a back seat in our state. It is not the start of a new school year or the leaves falling off trees, it is the kickoff of another college football season. We’ve been accused of taking our college football too seriously here but take a short drive on a fall Saturday to Norman or Stillwater and you will quickly see what all the fuss is about. Some of the best college football in America is played right here in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Sooners are one most of the most successful programs across any sport in college athletics. With seven national titles and five Heisman winners very few college programs can go toe-to-toe with the Sooners on a prestige level. The Sooners have won 43 conference titles, including eight since 2000. The Sooners play at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, just 22 miles south of downtown OKC.
Located an hour north of downtown is Stillwater, home of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Cowboys play at Boone Pickens Stadium, which recently underwent more than $200 million in renovations. The Cowboys have been on a roll the last decade with trips to bowl games 10 out of the last 11 years. They also took home the conference title in 2011. They finished the 2011 season ranked third in the country.
The closest college-football action can be found at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. An NCAA Division II school, the Bronchos play at Wantland Stadium, which recently underwent $16 million in renovations that increased seating capacity to 10,000.
[Boone Pickens Stadium photo courtesy of Phil Shockley/OSU University Marketing]