Put two strong grapplers on the mat and you might get 10 moments like that in a single bout. And there are 10 bouts in a dual.
So part of wrestling’s answer is more wrestling. And while hardly an insider, only a sports editor who knows wrestling but doesn’t really know wrestling the way most of my ilk don’t know horse racing and hockey and turning ovals on a superspeedway, I’m convinced a few changes could do wonders for the collegiate mat.
There may be great reasons why none of this would work, even better than but we’ve always done it this way, but that’s not my problem.
Here we go.
· Last season, OU competed in 18 duals, but wrestled three times in a day once and twice in a day once. That’s only 15 days of dual competition. Seven were at home.
Make it more like basketball. In the four-program Big 12, everybody should wrestle everybody home and away. That’s six duals. That’s enough to crown a real team champion, or to properly seed a conference dual tournament on a Friday night before coming back the next day to crown individual champions.
Heck, make Saturday an open event. If two Sooners or two Cowboys meet each other along the way, so be it. If you need another day, finish Sunday.
Make the regular season mean something. Make the duals more than exhibitions and have more of them on campus and say good-bye to the Lone Star Duals and the National Duals. It’s a great sport. Bring it back to campus.
· Change the way duals are run. Let the home team choose the first bout, the visitor the second bout and so on and so on and so on. Do it on the fly. Adjust in the moment. Maybe the weights will go in order or maybe they’ll look like this: 141, 174, HWT, 125, 149, etc.