A future home-and-home series between Oklahoma and Michigan, two of the six winningest programs in FBS college football history, was announced Monday afternoon.
The games will be played in 2025 and 2026, with Oklahoma hosting the former and Michigan hosting the latter.
"We remain committed to playing games that celebrate the history and excitement of college football," said Oklahoma's Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione, per an official release. "…Oklahoma and Michigan represent two of the most iconic names in American sport and we look forward to a series that will be marked by mutual respect and admiration."
Castiglione isn't blustering about OU's commitment to playing exciting games. Per Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, Michigan is only the latest in a string out difficult upcoming home-and-homes:
Impressive: OU now has future home/home w/Tennessee, Ohio State, UCLA, Army, Nebraska, Michigan, LSU— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 14, 2014
It's jarring to talk about a series so far in the future. Even with regard to nonconference series, which are famous for being planned far in advance, a game set 11 years in the future seems…um, extensive.
Which explains the string of tweets that followed the announcement:
Pretty pumped about that Michigan-Oklahoma series that won’t be played until I’m 44.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) July 14, 2014
Brady Hoke will be 66 when the Oklahoma-Michigan series starts— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) July 14, 2014
Michigan head coach Drake will have 'em ready. RT @BryanDFischer: Oklahoma and Michigan announce a home-and-home (Woo!) for 2025 and 2026.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) July 14, 2014
Still, thanks to the (regrettable) trend of neutral-site nonconference series, even something more than a decade away is worth looking forward to if it means iconic programs playing at iconic venues. As Chris Vanini of 247Sports was wise to point out:
If 11-12 years it what it takes for Michigan-Oklahoma to be a home-and-home instead of neutral site, then sure, go ahead.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) July 14, 2014
There's not much analysis one can do on the actual matchup.
Michigan and Oklahoma have maintained success over decades in the past, but, for reasons that are hopefully obvious, there is no way to say how they'll look in 2025 and 2026.
There's no way to say how football will look in those years.
But even if it's far down the road, and even if 11 years provides more-than-ample time for the game to be unscheduled, you have to respect the courage of Michigan and Oklahoma to agree to play a true road game against a team with the resources to stay competitive.
That type of spirit has become increasingly rare.