Every fall ranked teams reach a pivotal moment when their seasons switch from regular season games to their "gauntlet" - a stretch of win or go home games. Before this they were good - but after they are done with the gauntlet they could be great.
That time is now for the Cowboys. They have finished game one of the gauntlet unscathed. Gauntlet Level 1 complete.
We knew coming into Saturday that this was the biggest game of the year thus far. The best part is that each game from here on out is better than the one before it.
Remember, this is Win or go home and a loss to Kansas would be a devastating blow to any hopes we have of a decent bowl game or Big 12 Title. (Sure, it's possible that we could lose to Kansas and still get the Big 12 Title... But wow... A Big 12 Champ who lost to Kansas and WVU, but beat Texas, Baylor, OU, and Tech? Not likely.)
However this is not last years Kansas team - they started out with a 2 TD lead against Texas Tech and OU but then they got crushed in both. The Cowboys could do exactly the same - hopefully better. If the Cowboys come out strong against the Jayhawks on Saturday they possess the ability to accumulate style points and earn some cred with BCS crowd to continue a push toward a BCS bowl game. Put up 60 on a sub par team? Possible. Pitch a defensive shut out? It could happen - but only if the Cowboys and Cowboy Nation come out with a chip on their shoulder and have something to prove.
After that the Cowboys travel to Texas - a game that could be a top two game of the week with major Big 12 title implications. Some have even speculated that College Gameday could be there - it's not out of the question. The other great match-up that week is Texas Tech vs. Baylor in Arlington at Jerry's World. It's a stretch, but if Texas can make its way back to the top 25 and Tech or Baylor loose before then, it's not out of the question for all eyes to be on OSU at Texas.
If we make it to level 4 unscathed, we will definitely be eligible for the Gameday treatment against Baylor if they are still undefeated, though LSU vs. Texas A&M would most likely get the nod if Gameday went to Baylor the week before.
Baylor will be a test of wills. Their defense allows 15.9 ppg, while our offense creates 40.5 Their offense creates 63.9 ppg, while our defense allows 21.4. I have a hard time believing this game will be 40 to 64 or 15 to 21 Baylor. Something will give, and we will just have to wait and see which stat that will be.
Finally - Level 5 of the Gauntlet. Bedlam. At home. Our defense is rivaling that of 2011 where we dismantled the Sooners 44-10 and nearly shut them out at the half.
This is not 2011. We will be in for one hell of a game. Blake bell was a freshmen in 2011 and lived the beat down first hand, scoring the Sooners only TD on a 28 yard run. Since then he has earned his spot as signal caller and is no longer just the Belldozer. And will he will be out for vengeance.
And forget about our one loss - it doesn't matter. It was to a nobody. If we win out we will once again be Big 12 Champions.
So Cowboy Nation, this is it. This is the Gauntlet. We are in the middle of a climax that could come crashing down any week - or soar to new heights. This is without question the best time of the year - College Football in November.