10 winning records in the last 11 seasons.
10 bowl games in the last 11 seasons (6-4 bowl record), including first ever BCS bowl.
7 consecutive winning seasons, and bowl games.
6 consecutive seasons of equaling or eclipsing the previous season's win total (this one is crazy).
2 highest season win totals in program history.
The highest national ranking ever attained by the program (#2 BCS for 2 weeks).
Winningest head coach in program history.
First ever outright conference title (sorry, ties, and titles in the MVC with a record of 3-0, don't count).
Picked as preseason conference champs for first time ever.
Not surprisingly, the past 7 years have seen the 2 best QB's and 2 best WR's in program history.
Pretty heady times for Oklahoma State football. Unprecedented, in fact.
Gundy, Holder and Boone (and let's not forget Loopy Les) have ushered in an era of Cowboy football with which our ancestors...and I mean generations past AND recent...are not familiar. Hell, there are plenty of folks in the current generation that aren't familiar with it.
Only three current Big 12 schools have gone longer without a losing record than OSU (2005)...West Virginia (2001), OU (1998), and TCU (1997).
So why did 2012 feel like a bit of a downer?
Have I so quickly become accustomed to the expectations of championship football?
Part of the problem was how the season played out. From 2008-2011, the Cowboys were just one or two wins at the end of the season from a possible BCS bowl, and the last game or two (usually Bedlam) could have tilted things OSU's way. The 2011 season was the pinnacle.
2012 did not work out that way.
Worst season record since 2007. Most conference losses since 2007.
It was the first time the Cowboys lost their opening conference game since 2006, and first time since 2005 losing that game at home.
It was the earliest OSU has had 3 losses, and the earliest for 2 conference losses, since 2007.
First time since 2007 losing consecutive conference games. Interestingly enough, those were two home games in a row in 2007. Since 2005, the Cowboys have had 8 occurrences of consecutive road games in conference play. Last season's consecutive losses on the road to OU and Baylor was the first time that happened since their last losing season in 2005.
OSU was 7-3 (5-2 in conf) prior to the OU and Baylor games. We already knew, without major help, that they weren't owning the conference title, and national rankings weren't a major consideration. Yes, we still had Bedlam, but the season still felt sort of "blah" to me at that point. Is that what Sooner fans feel like when that happens?
What is the "new" era of Cowboy football? Is it just winning records, or is it competing for the conference championship each year, or should it be annual national aspirations? Is a winning record and a bowl game enough for the program, or does there need to be something bigger going on?
I'm somewhere in the middle. I feel like OSU should be able to annually compete for the conference title. Given that the Big 12 is one of the top 2-3 conferences (some argue #1, but win some NC's first and then we'll discuss), then winning the conference should put the team in the national picture to some extent, however I could see that not being as critical, especially in a year where the Big 12 is expected to be "down."
But I can tell you that another 7-5 regular season would be "blah." Even 8-4 would feel a bit like a wet blanket.
And I think there are a lot of you out there that would feel the same way.
Welcome to the big leagues, Cowboy fans. That's what it feels like when championship football is the goal, and you don't compete for the championship.
You get "blah."