Oklahoma State football fans had a rare opportunity in 2011. Normally, we base all our expectations for the season on what happened the year before. The 2010 campaign put Cowboy fans in a position generally occupied by Sooner fans, as we truly anticipated going undefeated, winning the Big 12, and playing for a national championship.
However, the departure of Weeden and Blackmon, along with the assent of a freshman QB, have prognosticators and fans alike talking themselves into being happy with 8-4 or 9-3. If you're an OSU fan, that's pretty good, right?
There seems to be something simmering...bubbling...just under the surface of those "realistic" expectations.
Could we see another run like 2011?
The subtle signs are there, and there is developing excitement, even among some serious bloggers.
I've put forward recently that it was not unreasonable to expect Lunt to do a very admirable job stepping into the shoes vacated by Weeden. He comes in with more actual QB experience, and is already a repeat champion holding multiple HS passing records. But that's just my amateur opinion.
I think we can all agree that Todd Monken lacks a certain "filter" when speaking about his players and their progress. Unlike Gundy, who guards everything that comes out of his mouth (and I believe has a "well used" Twitter voodoo doll), Monken doesn't hold much back.
He has been quoted multiple times speaking about how Lunt doesn't know what he's doing yet, but he doesn't turn the ball over and is really accurate. Josh Stewart said "I don’t approach it any different. Wes Lunt throws it just like Weeden, so I’m not going to compare them" (which BTW, is a comparison). And the last practice report was enough to send me over the edge. I love Monken's assessment of the scrimmage in general..."I just know that we're trying to run plays. We're trying to run as many good plays in a row as we can."
The fact is this...as my brother often says, we will never be as good as we are the day before we play our first game.
It's all hype and speculation, fun as it may be, and doesn't account for luck...the bounces, the injuries, the bad whistles...that can derail even the greatest of champions. OSU has had those things on their side, for the most part, the last couple of years (anyone remember Weeden stepping out of the back of the end zone while throwing a pick 6 against Texas? That was GOOD luck. The injury to OU's Broyles was BAD luck.).
I've said this too many times already, but the first 4 games (actually 3 games and 1 exhibition) will be the barometer, and if the Cowboys emerge from that home contest against Texas unscathed, put on your seatbelts because OSU will be poised for another run just like 2011.
The biggest reason why I say this? Answer these two questions...Is there one game on our schedule right now that you would say is out of the question, we are not winning that game?
Is there one team on our schedule right now that is CLEARLY head and shoulders better than OSU?
Because the defense is the same, and the offense has plenty of weapons and a guy who knows how to get them the ball.
My biggest fear, and I know there are those who think this is BS, is Squinky.
That's right, the imaginary OSU football devil.
I'm a big believer in Squinky.
Squinky is nothing more than a name put to the bounces, injuries, and bad whistles than can derail a season. It is bad luck.
My Juco golf coach used to say that "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."
I think the Cowboys are prepared.
And I'm dreaming big.