For the 13th straight season, Oklahoma State will be playing football over the Christmas break after a spectacular come from behind victory over West Virginia.
For many fans, just making a bowl game won’t mean much. Hanging another lower-tier bowl banner in the Sherman E. Smith Training Center isn’t going to win a “whose team is better” argument at the bar or lure a 5-star recruit to Stillwater. But if you think keeping the nation’s 10th longest active bowl streak alive doesn’t matter... well I disagree.
We discussed it a bit on the podcast this week, but the main point is that this streak matters. If nothing else it’s a matter of pride.
It’s something really good teams do. In fact, Oklahoma State is one of only 10 teams in FBS with an active bowl streak of 10 games.
|Florida State||36||1982 - 2017|
|Virginia Tech||25||1993 - 2017|
|Georgia*||21||1997 - 2017|
|Oklahoma*||19||1999 - 2017|
|LSU*||18||2000 - 2017|
|Boise State*||16||2002 - 2017|
|Wisconsin*||16||2002 - 2017|
|Alabama*||14||2004 - 2017|
|Clemson*||13||2005 - 2017|
|Oklahoma State*||12||2006 - 2018|
|Stanford*||9||2009 - 2017|
|Texas A&M*||9||2009 - 2017|
|*Reached bowl eligibility for 2018 season|
It’s one of those things that may not seem like a big deal, but this is what the top programs in the country do. Also, notice some of the teams NOT on the list; USC, Auburn, Oregon, Texas, Michigan. Oklahoma State has been a more consistent program that blue bloods like USC and Texas over the last decade.
Plus, both Florida State and Virginia Tech, the two teams with the longest active streaks, still haven’t reached bowl eligibility. Do you think Seminole and Hokies fans will be okay with their streaks ending? You think that’s not a “fun fact” that will be mentioned all off-season.
There are numerous other reasons why the streak matters:
When you’re not winning conference titles and reaching the playoffs, being able to promise to a recruit that they’re going to make a bowl game at Oklahoma State, matters.
Finishing the season with a winning record, matters.
Getting the extra practice time, especially with a young team, matters.
Sending this senior class off with one more game, and potentially, one more win, matters.
No, winning a bowl game this season isn’t going to set up the momentum into next season like the Cactus Bowl win at the end of the 2014 season did. That team had a young quarterback named Mason Rudolph set to return the next season. This team will have a new starter under center in 2019.
That said, it’s another chance for the defense, still learning and adjusting to Jim Knowles scheme, to take another step forward. And considering how much progress they’ve already shown from game one to now, that could be huge for 2019. Throw in a young secondary that will all potentially return next season, and that has shown consistent growth all season long. Think that’s not something to get excited about heading into 2019?
And, just the opportunity to watch your team take the field one, final, time. To see players like Jordan Brailford, Justin Phillips, and potentially, Justice Hill make one more big tackle or one more big run, is definitely worth keeping this bowl streak alive.