After a 10-0 start, the Cowboys finished with two tough losses at home. Injuries and an ineffective running game finally caught up with the Pokes. The defense seemed gassed and was left scrambling to attempt to make stops.
So, another ten win season for Mike Gundy. An improved record from last year and still a bowl game to look forward to. But these seem to offer little solace for Cowboy fans. Maybe it's the way it ended. It always stings a bit more to lose to OU, especially at home. Now it appears some of OSU's top recruits are jumping ship. Is it time to panic?
I would hold off on the eject button for now. There are still some things to look forward to. Obviously, there's the above mentioned bowl game. The Cowboys have a chance to end their season on a positive note on a national stage.
Recruiting can be a whirlwind sometimes. Kids flip. They are easily swayed by friends and relatives and people on Twitter. That's just it. They're kids. A bowl win could have the opposite effect as well. Who knows?
But aside from recruiting, what do we look at for next season? The offensive line HAS to get better. If we listen to Coach Gundy, that takes a couple years. I hope he's right. Greg Adkins will be going into his first full offseason. He will be recruiting his guys. How that shakes out is yet to be seen.
There is plenty of young talent on this roster that should return a year older, stronger, more experienced. How will Jeff Carr and Jalen McCleskey develop? If Mason Rudolph can get some help up front we know how good he can be. He will be a seasoned vet with 15 games under his belt.
The defense is going to lose some big pieces but still has a lot returning. How will the even younger defensive line look next year? Darrion Daniels and Motekiai Maile will have to be continue to improve. Vincent Taylor will shoulder a lot of responsibility in the middle. Who will start on the ends?
These are questions that will be answered one way or the other. Sure this season ended on a disappointing note. But it's important to remember something. This team probably overachieved. If you were like me, you didn't see this thing coming together this season. I thought they would improve (which they did). I was hopeful, sure. But it's extremely hard to go undefeated for any team, much less one that can't run the ball.
After the last second wins and seemingly blessed run coming into the Baylor game, I'll admit I was chugging the orange koolaid. But we all got a reality check. This team hadn't arrived yet. Not even close. Will they be that much better next season? We will just have to wait and see. But that's one of the reasons we love (and sometimes hate) sports.
There was a time when OSU fans would have jumped at 10 wins and a bowl game. But no one seems to be jumping for joy and that's okay. That is how far this program has come. This team should compete for a conference title every year and falling short should hurt. That is the state of Oklahoma State. A relevant program with a chance to make a big splash any given year.
As for now, we've got a postseason contest to look forward to. So let's not panic. There's plenty to be excited about. Get a win and go into the next year on a good note. Somewhere there is pallet of that orange sugar water waiting for us.