While the Big 12 season decidedly did NOT end the way we wanted, before we start burning books let us just start with one simple exercise...
- If, before the first game of the season, you were told that OSU would finish 11-2, beat OU, and come within a couple of inches of winning the Big 12 Bullshit Rematch AND put themselves in position to make the college football invitational, would you have agreed to that?
- If, after squeaking by Missouri State, you were told that OSU would finish 11-2, beat OU, and come within a couple of inches of winning the Big 12 Bullshit Rematch AND put themselves in position to make the college football invitational, would you have agreed to that?
- If, after having to grind out wins against three so-so non-conference opponents, you were told that OSU would finish 11-2, beat OU, and come within a couple of inches of winning the Big 12 Bullshit Rematch AND put themselves in position to make the college football invitational, would you have agreed to that?
I’m going to guess the answer to all three is “absolutely yes,” and that you would have accused whoever offered this following #2 and #3 of being a little too liberal with their use of the Devil’s lettuce.
Yes, the dream regular season ended with a “thud,” but if you are going to compete for championships you have to be prepared to lose on the brink of winning. Teams that regularly compete for those titles will generally handle the losing part with a little more composure and recover quicker since they usually expect to be there the next time around.
Oklahoma State is entering an era where that absolutely could be a possibility. With Oklahoma’s departure to the SEC, OSU’s major obstacle over the past 10 years is gone (notice I didn’t mention Texas). The Cowboys should absolutely be one of, if not THE, “bell cow” of the new Big 12. When the college football invitational expands into a legit playoff, the Big 12 champ is most definitely going to have an annual spot in that event, and the runner-up could easily be in should it expand to 12-16 teams. But that’s all future babble.
Let’s just focus on now.
- For the second time in the Gundy era, Oklahoma State finished ALONE atop the regular season Big 12 standings with an 8-1 record.
- Finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak
- Won Bedlam to eliminate OU from the Big 12 Bullshit Rematch
- Offensive Newcomer of the Year (RB Jaylen Warren)
- Defensive Freshman of the Year (DE Collin Oliver)
- Coach of the Year (HC Mike Gundy)
- Six first-team All Big 12 selections (QB-Spencer Sanders, OL-Josh Sills, DL-Brock Martin, LB-Malcolm Rodriguez, DB-Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Kolby Harvell-Peel)
- Four second-team All Big 12 selections (WR-Tay Martin, KR/PR-Brennan Pressley, DL-Collin Oliver, DB-Christian Holmes)
- The best defense in the Big 12, and it wasn’t close.
- DC Jim Knowles is a finalist for the Broyles Award, and it frankly should have been a foregone conclusion. However, logos...
His defense NEVER gave up more than three TDs in any single game this season, NEVER gave up more than 24 points in a game, and the first-team defense went four consecutive games without giving up a TD. His unit single-handedly delivered this season to the Cowboys and there is NO argument to be had about that. Knowles is gonna get paid whether by OSU or by some other program or franchise.
How ironic that the second greatest season under Gundy occurred in exactly the opposite fashion as the first, but will end in the same way as the first with a birth in the Fiesta Bowl against the highest-profile opponent they have ever faced outside of the Sooners. A win would absolutely matter for the program.
Gundy has done just about everything you could’ve asked of him when he took over the program 17 years ago, stepping into the ONLY head coaching gig he will ever have.
DWELL ON THAT FOR JUST A MOMENT...
Yes, indeed, there was massive help along the way between Mike Holder and the late T. Boone Pickens, but there is no replacing Mike Gundy in the annals of Oklahoma State football. There will be no larger figure or face of the program in my lifetime.
Thanks coach, and thanks to the rest of the staff and the players that put in all that hard work and dealt with the grind and the injuries in order to provide us with some entertainment, distraction, and anxiety as we cheer for our Cowboys. There’s one more stop on the journey so make it count. It’s been a fantastic season for Oklahoma State football.
Part 2 is gonna be more like couples therapy....