20 Years Gone, Cowboy Football Expectations in 1991 and Now

The 2011 football season promises to be the greatest ever seen in Oklahoma State University history.  This year, OSU football is hyped by many fans in the preseason to win all twelve of our games, the Big 12 championship game, two Heisman award trophies (Tie: B.Weeden/J. Blackmon), a BCS National Championship, and the Stanley Cup. 

It has been theorized that all the pre-season hype points towards the conclusion that this will be the Cowboy football season foretold in the prophecies.  THE Cowboy football season that many OSU fans have only dreamt of, or heard spoken of by soothsayers and Jager-bombed fourth-year Sophomores granted beautiful, awe-inspiring visions of total OSU football dominance whilst lying on the less-than-clean floor of "Dirty’s Tavern" during finals week.  Intensely vivid hallucinations of OU fans sobbing, cursing their own parents for raising them as Oklahoma fans, and burning their OU sweatsuits/only spare set of clothing in the streets.  Powerful, nosebleed-inducing trances predicting: Oklahoma's largest newspaper changing it's masthead from "The Oklahoman" to read: "The Orange Power Go Pokes Times Gazette".  Brandon Weeden and the OSU football team marching triumphantly towards the White House to meet the President as National Champs with a throng of scantily clad, big-breasted coeds in tow.  Four Orange Horsemen riding black stallions all named Bullet across a flaming Orange sky; dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.  You get the picture.

But seriously, there are a lot of fans out there (and count me as one) who not only think we will win twelve games this year, but will be flat-out disappointed if those twelve wins don't come to fruition.  When fans see a team that performed as well as OSU did last season and has most of its superstars coming back, the fans tend to want to see a measurable improvement the next year. These sorts of expectations are only human.  However, it seems the expectations of Cowboy fans have been spoiled by success of late, compared to the expectations fans had twenty short years ago.  

Let's Jump back to 1991.  You've come a long way, baby!

A little mood music.

1991 Season: 0-10-1 / 1992 Season: 4-6-1 / 1993 Season: 3-8

Let's take a trip back twenty years to 1991-1993.  Dust off your "Pump-Up" Nike's, 'slap on' some bracelets, crank the M.C. Hammer on your Casio to "max.", and we will go back twenty years to visit Head Coach Pat Jones and the 1991 OSU Cowboy Football team.  Alright...we are almost there..ok.. UH...OH, NO!! Danger, Danger; avert your eyes! What is this horrible...THING?  OH, o.k.  It's just OSU's team.  But a warning, this is not the team that "you kids" with your "text messaging" and "MTV" can remember.  This team stinks.  This team didn't win a game all year.  This team only managed one tie...to Iowa State. 

In 1991, Cowboy football was living out sanctions imposed because of a recruiting scandal involving key players of the late 1980's OSU team, including Star WR Hart Lee Dykes who was found to have been paid $23,000. 

OSU after sanctions:

  • Couldn't play any bowl games for three seasons beginning in '89 (this was never a conflict).
  • Couldn't have any live TV games for two years.
  • Lost a number of scholarships, paid recruiting visits for four years.

As you might imagine, playing for OSU in the early 90's was tantamount to playing for Missouri State.  Nothing against the MSU Bears, but from 1990-1993 OSU was for all intents and purposes a Division II school.  And we had the Division II caliber players to prove it.  Lower expectations mirrored a lower amount of wins during these years, but even in '91 you would think fans that season would have expected to win one game.

Former Oklahoma State QB Kenny Ford managed 7 Touchdowns in '91. Last season Brandon Weeden slung 34 TD's. 

1991's non-conference schedule was brutal enough by itself without the sanctions imposed by the NCAA.  The Cowboys lost to the eventual AP National Champs at Miami, 40-3, but also lost 30-3 at home to an Arizona State team that went 6-5 in '91, and we lost to Tulsa...Tulsa!

OSU paid it's debt to the NCAA, and then slowly improved in the nineties, but the best Cowboy fans could expect preseason during these probationary years was a very few wins. Any sort of pre-season hype was non-existent.  Averaging two wins a season over this three year period is very different than where we find ourselves now.  The period of 2008-'10 averages just under 10 wins. 

2010 Cowboy football was awesome, productive, entertaining, and rewarding, and 2011 looks to be even better.  That said, everybody who remembers Cowboy football 2009 remembers that sometimes pre-season hype is the kiss of death.  So remember, before you find yourself on the floor of some less-than-clean tavern on the strip (Dirty's Tavern), speaking in tongues about Orange Horsemen and Boomer Lake boiling with the blood of 500,000 Sooners, stop for a moment and think of how far we have come in twenty years.

Take a minute and help us gauge this season's collective sense of entitlement by responding to the poll below:

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