This past Bedlam heartbreak got me thinking about how many close games OSU has played during the Gundy era, as well as how they’ve fared.
Not surprisingly they’ve fared pretty well.
Over the first 13 full seasons under Gundy, OSU competed in 45 “one-possession” games (games decided by eight points or less).
The Cowboys average 3-4 of these games per season, and those are likely to be conference games as 36% of those fall under this category. That’s over a one in three chance that the fans are biting their nails to the very end against Big 12 opponents.
For comparison, from 2015 to date, Alabama has competed in just six one-possession games (none in 2018), three of which were national title matchups. In that same time frame OU has been involved in 14 such games (three so far in 2018).
Oklahoma State? Seventeen, and they are not done with this season yet (four so far).
Counting 2018, Gundy has coached 12 seasons of at least three one-possession contests. Only 2013 didn’t involve multiple games (only one vs KState).
As mentioned, 2013 was the lowest turnout with just one such game. The highest number in one season? That would be 2016 when OSU would go 4-1 in close games (arguably 5-0 if not for, well, you know…). Eight of the previous 13 seasons had at least four games decided eight points or less.
Oklahoma State has only gone officially undefeated in close games twice under Gundy, that being 3-0 in 2009 and 4-0 in 2015 (I didn’t count 2013 as there was only one result). The Cowboys have posted a losing record in close games twice in this same period (1-3 in 2006…1-3 in 2012), but are in danger of adding a third notch this season (currently at 1-3 with only two, maybe three games left).
As for opponents, Kansas State is the most regular thorn in OSU’s side under Gundy:
Teams with five or more one-possession games with OSU under Gundy
Overall, not including 2018, the Cowboys are 30-15 in one-possession games in the Gundy era. Sounds pretty good, right? Let’s break that down a little further.
Home and away results are pretty close overall, with OSU posting a 14-8 record at home and 16-7 on the road.
From 2005 - 2012, OSU was 15-12 in games decided by eight or fewer points. Not fantastic, but better than .500 none the less.
However, from 2013 - 2017 Oklahoma State was downright torrid, going 15-3 with 10 consecutive road wins in one-possession games (that streak was broken by the loss to Baylor this season). Funny that this run coincided with the arrival of Mike Yurcich…
All this is to say that OSU has been better than average winning close games with Gundy at the helm, and has been extremely good at it starting in 2013. This season is a bit of a “return to the mean,” but the Cowboys are still 16-6 (72.7%) in games decided by eight points or less since 2013 if you include 2018. That’s really good. In the same period, OU is 12-7 (63.1%).
Here’s hoping OSU puts a couple more wins on the board this season without the stress of a nailbiter.