In the spirit of Coach Ford's comments about the expectations of "normal" fans I thought interviewing them during the off-season might help him better understand what fans expect. We'll talk time on campus, memories, bars and if Bryant Reeves hosting a cable access show would be a great idea.
First up is Ryan. He was on campus between 2002 and 2008
1. What did you major in while there? Biosystems Engineering
2. Favorite campus bar at the time? Your thoughts on the nightlife in Stillwater - I was there for a several years (slacker + Master's) and saw quite a shift in the bar scene in my time.My favorite bar depended on the night of the week and the mood you were in. When I turned 21, Joe's was great for ladies' night and $1 cups, but that seemed to die out when they became the only bar you couldn't smoke in.
I saw the last year of the Wormy Dog, which was great. Mike's was a different crowd and had a great beer selection (for that time), but it changed names 3-4 times in the next 3-4 years. By the time I left, it was pretty much the Penny, Cricket, or Willies depending on who had a band, beer special, or cover charge
3. What was the most popular sport when you were on campus? Were you a cowboy fan before you enrolled at OSU? Describe some of your time there in terms of sports, student body attitude, what was popular on campus, things like that?
I was definitely a fan before I enrolled. I grew up in OK, and had family that attended OSU in the 1980's. My first experience on campus was my parents taking us to visit my uncle and go to a football game. I got to meet Pistol Pete and watch Thurman and Barry play. Way too young to appreciate what I was seeing that day.
My freshman year, 2002, was a huge year for football. I remember Les Miles' team beating Nebraska and OU then winning a bowl game being a big deal, but Basketball was still number one. Eddie was still the king in Stillwater. Hell, he still might be.
OSU was an awesome place for a sports fan when I got there. Wrestling was winning National Championships, Basketball won the conference and went to the Final Four, and Football was winning games and going to bowls. Basketball was popular, and football was becoming more so with a winning team. The student body was excited and supportive. Waiting in lines and camping for seats/tickets was becoming a thing. There was just a buzz around campus on game day, everyone wanted to be there to see it because anything was possible at that point. Student section was packed for both sports, and alumni still came to basketball games. I remember showing up 2 hours before the doors opened at GIA and still ending up sitting in nosebleed a few times.
4. Travis Ford recently said the normal fan thinks you can waive a magic wand and make the final four. What are your expectations for the basketball program? What represents a "good" year?
Look, I get that winning games at that level is harder than most of us not in the coaching profession realize, but this is unacceptable. Let's set the bar medium-low and say expectations should be that the team is competitive in conference (at least top 3-4) and makes the tournament easily (no bubble shit and better than an 8 seed) and wins a game.
A good year is winning the conference/makes tournament finals and a sweet sixteen run. With the school's history and facilities, that shouldn't be unreasonable. Sometimes crazy things happen in the tournament and it's just not your day. Those can be excused to a point, but getting consistently out played/hustled/coached doesn't work. I would like to go in to the first round with some confidence that the players and coach can match up with anyone on a given night. Watching the final two minutes without even a shred of hope is getting old.
5. Have any favorite wins you remember? (any sport)
Football, Nebraska and OU in 2002.That was an expensive year for goalposts.
Basketball, 2003-2004 Texas (reg-season), St Joseph's (elite 8, that an epic night)
2004-2005 Kansas in the Big 12 Tourney. It was a beautiful Saturday at the beginning of Spring Break, and campus was empty. I was broke and stayed in town to try and make money, or not go spend money, or both. A few friends were in a similar situation. After collecting enough change for some Keystone Light, we headed to my house, a couple blocks from campus, to watch the game.
We knew we had a good team, but Kansas had beaten OSU in the regular season. Weather was incredible so we left the front door open and fired up the grill on the front porch. I don't remember the specific of the game like some people would. What sticks in my mind is that it was a nail biter. When the final buzzer sounded we flipped out. Jumping around, running outside, and spraying beer all over each other like it was the national championship. After a couple minutes, it got quiet and there in the background was the alma mater ringing on the bells from the library.
6. What fictional TV show would you rather watch?
A: Shooting Stuff With Big Country: Bryant Reeves hosts a cable access show where he dispense advice on life and dating while hunting various animals. Definitely this one
B: Who Am I? : A genealogy based show hosted by Les Miles where Les helps various Oklahoma State people track down their family histories.
Author Note: Shooting Stuff With Big Country really needs to be on Okstate.tv if he's up for it.
That's all with Ryan and I thank him for taking a few minutes to share some thoughts with us.
It’s the off-season. Are you a doctor who might want to share some thoughts on head injuries and the benefits of a doctor in the coaching booth? Are you an accountant who wants to look over OSU financial statements and help me explain to people why Travis Ford will be here forever? You a lawyer who wants to share your thoughts on the Big 12 TV contract? I’ll take ideas, suggestions, and all the help I can get PokelahomaCRFF@gmail.com