I can’t believe we are still doing this. Another Oklahoma State football season, another Boone Pickens vs. Mike Gundy feud. It’s like clockwork.
If you’re unfamiliar with the background of the relationship between the two, let’s put it this way ... It’s basically high-school level drama, and it comes from one direction. Boone Pickens has time-and-time again voiced his displeasure with Gundy (sometimes deserved), and this time, he said something that was a little more personal than we’re used to.
This is literally gossip. Devoid of substance, and poorly timed. If you want to start talking about how other people handle interpersonal relationships, maybe throwing other people under the bus in public is not the best approach. Just a thought.
Mr. Pickens, I love you man. What you did for the Oklahoma State football program, and university as a whole, is undeniable. Without your contributions to the university, there is no doubt that OSU football would still be floundering.
But it’s not. That’s what is so wild here. Pickens wants a Big 12 title and a national title. We all do. OSU has talent all over the field, and they are starting to look the part of a contender.
We know you want a title, but you know who else wants a national title? Nick Saban. Urban Meyer. Bob Stoops. Dabo Swinney. Bobby Petrino.
You want a national title at Oklahoma State? Better hope you don’t run into any of those coaches and their programs along the way.
I was reflecting on this yesterday... Will I be alive when Oklahoma State wins their first national title? Will they every win one? I’m not sure, but when you have dynastic programs like Alabama and Ohio State with the same aspirations and much greater resources at their disposal, why is Pickens surprised when OSU doesn’t compete for a national title? Is he even surprised, or is he just mad?
Programs like Oklahoma State don’t just win national championships. Occasionally, a program of similar stature will catch lightning in a bottle and win it all. The last program who isn’t a traditional juggernaut to win a national championship? Colorado in 1990. These are the last 15 national champions.
You want to win a national championship? You better have tradition and something to build off of. That didn't exist at Oklahoma State when Mike Gundy was hired, but it's there now. How do you build tradition at a school like Oklahoma State? Bring in someone who understands the program and what it takes to win there. Build a winning culture.
Do what Mike Gundy has done for the last 11 years. Tradition takes longer than 11 years to build, though. It takes decades.
Oklahoma State has been consistently closer than they ever have before as a program, and that deserves more respect than what Pickens is giving Gundy. They’ve played for a Big 12 title four of the last six seasons. They won one conference title. In the last five years alone, Gundy has taken Oklahoma State to the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl.
Their record in those bowl games? 1-2. Not great, but not horrible. If this concern coming from Pickens end is about competing with OU, then let’s look at how they’ve fared in similar-scale bowl games.
In the same time span, Oklahoma has gone to the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. Their record in those bowl games? 1-2.
If this is simply about beating OU, Pickens needs to realize that in the last five seasons, OSU is 2-3 against the Sooners, with two of those losses coming in the final minute of the game or overtime. In 2012, Blake Bell scored on a 4th-down and goal. If he doesn’t, OSU wins. In 2013, OSU had the lead with less than two minutes left. Those two games end differently, and Oklahoma State is 4-1 against OU in the last five years.
However, Pickens has a financial stake here, and it’s much, much larger than what we pay for season tickets. Simply put, Pickens’ opinion matters. A lot. He’s also getting older. Is he concerned that he may not see the fruits of his labor produce? Probably. And I can understand that.
It’s concerning, however, that we are only four games into the season and Pickens is already firing up the Gundy Hot Take Cannon. Usually, this comes much later in the season.
The consensus on Twitter last night is that, put nicely, Boone Pickens needs to cool it. He nearly ran Gundy off in 2014 when the Arkansas and Tennessee jobs were open, and it looks like he may be trying to do the same thing. You know what other jobs will be, or could be open next year? LSU. USC. Oregon. Texas.
They all could offer more to Mike Gundy than Oklahoma State, and at those schools, he wouldn’t have to deal with the collegiate Jerry Jones publicly disparaging him every time his team doesn’t play great. Why wouldn’t he leave?
Mike Gundy can’t make referees do their job correctly. Mike Gundy can’t retroactively correct somebody else’s error. Mike Gundy can’t hold on to the football for his players. If he could, his team would be 4-0 and Pickens would be happily silent.
That’s football, though. Stuff happens.
Oklahoma State has a coach in Mike Gundy who loves his school, and isn’t going anywhere until you force him out. Want to go forward with that, Mr. Pickens? Take a look at similar profile schools who have lost successful coaches. Take a look at the names of the last fifteen National Champions.
Get rid of Mike Gundy, who will get his 100th win at OSU this season, and you get rid of a very loyal group of fans who are generally pleased with what they’re seeing on the field. Run Mike Gundy out of Stillwater, and I guarantee you, you won’t see what you want out of Oklahoma State any sooner.