The pain is still clear.
Here we are, four years later, and OSU gets to do this again. A road game in Ames, undefeated, with Big 12 and college football playoff implications.
And make no mistake, the Cowboys are clearly in the playoff picture and are absolutely worthy of consideration. All that lack of respect went poof with a national dismantling of TCU. Granted, OSU is not likely to jump from #14 in the initial CFB Playoff rankings all the way to the penthouse, but they should make a healthy leap, and now sport one of the best wins of any top team this season. The only thing rising faster in the polls is the demand for Glenn Spencer in the offseason. Any debate about disregarding them will be much more spirited after this week's win. I honestly didn't think Gundy could get them back to this point this soon. Thought it might take at least one, maybe two more seasons. And even if they fall short, imagine the hype going into next season...
But Iowa State awaits.
Distractions will now be plentiful. Major TV will be crawling all over the place, and local media will be playing 20 questions every time they speak to ANYONE in the program. Mason Rudolph is no longer a Christmas hero. James Washington will have all the safeties rolled over the top. That nightmare will be recalled more than once.
I hope the first thing the team did today was watch a replay of that game. That's all it will take. Then they won't sleep walk into Ames.
But a far more critical decision awaits...however this one is on the fans.
Are you a Sooner fan or a Baylor fan this weekend?
The next installment of the Big 12's November gauntlet features an OU team that is decidedly NOT the same one that lost to Texas, traveling to Waco to play the only other undefeated conference team. The Bears trotted out their stud freshman QB replacement for the injured Seth Russell, and Stidham didn't disappoint at Kansas State, although Baylor had to hold on for dear life for the win.
Here's the rub...presuming the Cowboys can take care of what lies in front of them...if Baylor wins, then a Cowboy victory over the Bears in Stillwater on 11/21 would clinch a Big 12 title. Even if OSU lost Bedlam, they would own the tiebreaker whether or not it's between two or three teams. But here's the catch...lose to Baylor, and they are in the driver's seat for another title.
Which leads me to my favored scenario...a Sooner victory in Waco. There is something inside me that wants ALL the marbles...a Big 12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff...to come down to Bedlam. I know that means the Sooners could come out on top, but I know how to process that. If both the Cowboys and OU win out, then whoever wins is the champ and headed for the CFP.
I want no part of a third consecutive title going to Waco. Call me crazy, but I honestly think our chances are better in Bedlam if everyone else is out of the picture. The worst motivation you can face is the shot at breaking the other guy's heart. It's way different when you have your own stuff on the line. Mano y mano.
Also, BTW...if OSU is going to lose a game down the stretch (and keep in mind a loss will mean no CFP), then losing to Iowa State would actually be the preferable loss. The first Big 12 tiebreaker is head-to-head, but in the case of three or more teams being tied, the next tiebreaker is each team's combined record against the teams involved in the deadlock. In other words, if you're gonna lose, don't lose to the top teams. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not voting for us to lose to the Cyclones.
So, for me, this coming weekend is going to be an emotional mess.
Face the demons of 2011, and root for the Sooners.
Tranquilizers, people. Tranquilizers.