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Oklahoma State, Tulsa take part in midnight madness

Tulsa’s Bill Blankenship may be the first coach to open a postgame news conference with, “Good morning, everybody.”

Parents who preach to their kids that nothing good ever happens after midnight never sat in a room with an athletic director and a television programmer.

Oklahoma State’s 59-33 victory over Tulsa was the droopy, eye-lid topper to an outrageous weekend.

The game, delayed by inclement weather, kicked off after midnight Sunday morning Central time and ended at 3:35 a.m.

That’s not an ending — it’s a wake-up call.

It was never anyone’s intention, of course, to deprive kids of sleep while roosters cleared their throats.

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At least it wasn’t a school night, right?

The Oklahoma State-Tulsa game was supposed to start shortly after 9 p.m., a bit late but nothing compared with what Mother Nature had in mind.

You know what Tulsa players were after two quarters?

Answer: hungry.

It had been hours since the team’s 5 p.m. pregame meal.

“We gave them peanut butter sandwiches at halftime,” Blankenship said.

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns, has witnessed strange things in his 27-plus years. He is latecomer to college after pursuing a professional baseball dream.

“I’ve played five years of minor league baseball,” he told the Associated Press and the night watchman after the game. “I’ve had some late starts and 20-inning games, and still nothing really compares with this. This is a first.”

The coaches weren’t happy.

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy showed great restraint in not repeating his famous “I’m a Man, I’m 40" rant that went viral a few years ago.

Gundy said he thought playing football into the wee hours subjected players to potential injuries.

“I just don’t think it’s the best thing for the student-athletes,” Gundy said. “I’m not sure why we had TV timeouts at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Gundy could file a grievance Monday with the Big 12 Conference, if it’s still around.

A few hours after sunrise, the world awoke to Connecticut President Susan Herbst’s released statement regarding Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast.

It read in part, “I hope all settles down, and we can change the national focus away from profiteering and back to student/athletes, where it belongs.”

Herbst will be outraged for as long is it takes the ACC to rescue her school from the Big East.

As the Oklahoma State-Tulsa game spilled into Sunday morning sunrise service, so did the rest of a sport headed toward plastic surgery.

First, let’s sneak in two or three football notes: No.1 Oklahoma made a statement with its double-digit win at Florida State in Tallahassee. Stanford remained undefeated with a late-night win at Arizona, although the Cardinal lost linebacker Shayne Skov to a knee injury. Auburn’s loss makes Stanford’s 11 straight wins the most in major-college football. The Cardinal has a good shot at being 7-0 when it plays at USC on Oct. 29.

Iowa State and Vanderbilt are 3-0 — can you believe it? Also, with its loss at Miami, Ohio State dropped out of the AP poll for the first time since Nov. 20, 2004. Texas Christian Coach Gary Patterson won his 100th game and Notre Dame won its first … of the season.

OK, back to “As the World Turns.”

Pittsburgh and Syracuse made it official Sunday: They’re leaving the Big East for the ACC. The official news, sadly and ironically, came the day after the death of Dave Gavitt, founder and first commissioner of the Big East.

The latest on how that affects everyone else: The ACC’s move to 14 teams seems to accelerate the pace of reconfiguration. ACC Commissioner John Swofford said on a teleconference that he was not philosophically opposed to 16, which means it’s going to happen.

Texas, which seemed to be leaning toward the ACC a few days ago, might be pointing wagons west. The Austin American-Statesmen reported Sunday that negotiations with the Pac-12 were “heating up.” Others mentioned in the waiver-wire deal are Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The paper suggested Texas could even join the Pac 12 and keep some form of its exclusive Longhorn Network.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has been adamant that any team joining the league would have to comply with equal revenue sharing.

“It’s one of the hallmarks of a stable conference,” Scott said Saturday.

The American-Statesman outlined creative ways to work out the details with Texas — and there probably are ways.

You can be certain that USC and other charter Pac-12 members will be very interested in hearing about those details.

Nobody from the old Pac-8 is going to let Texas become the new hood ornament.

Understand that there are numerous hurdles to clear before any of this can happen. But it helps that the same ESPN that created the Longhorn Network with Texas is also a co-partner on the Pac-12’s new television deal.

“We’ve got a great relationship with ESPN,” Scott said Saturday.

The key, it seems, is finding a way for Texas to save face after investing so much in its new enterprise.

The John Wayne move would be Texas’ keeping its network as part of saving the Big 12, but don’t bet too much on that.

The only sure thing is that nothing is for certain. Despite published reports, everything remains fluid.

Scott, remember, has already been burned once by Texas politics. Last year, a Pac-16 package that included Texas fell through in the eleventh hour. Scott, instead, extended invitations to Colorado and Utah.

Oklahoma has fewer complications and is better positioned now to romance the Pac-12.

Candlesticks always make a nice gift.

Burning the midnight oil will be required to get this job done.

Maybe Texas, Oklahoma and the Pac-12 should meet in Tulsa.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com


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