Oklahoma State’s 62-52 loss to OU last season was maybe the most significant loss of the Mike Gundy era. Remember what came out of that game? All the fervor and phone calls and voices whispering, This is pointing in the right direction.
I wanted to look back on a few of those quotes and ideas and evaluate where OSU is at one year later, in 2018 in the middle of a 5-5 season that has been equal parts euphoric and frustrating. Here are six things that came out of that game.
Idea No. 1
“We got this facility, this thing’s fantastic for I don’t know how many years,” Gundy told the Tulsa World.
“But if you’re — got to build a JumboTron. I want a new academic center just for football and basketball over here (in the west end zone). A career center. I’m just giving you examples of things that we’re going to do that I think what Saturday instigated is hey, you know what, maybe we do need to do this to take that next step.”
Check on the Jumbo, and it has been awesome. A novelty and one that I think will remain so for a while. It took $5 million, and it got done between Bedlam 2017 and Bedlam 2018. That’s not insignificant. Maybe a result of some of those phone calls.
Idea No. 2
“We’re going to continue to funnel money into this program and continue to recruit good kids and quality people,” said Gundy after Bedlam 2017. “We want to keep quality coaches here. I think that could’ve been, arguably, the most important game in the history of Oklahoma State football, in my opinion. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody.”
Check. Oklahoma State did not lose any coaches in the offseason, although it did fire one. It also gave its most important assistant a $200,000 raise. Again, that’s not insignificant.
Idea No. 3
“We’ve had some great game day environments, but not like that,” said Gundy. “Not in a prize fight where two heavyweights are just going blow-for-blow one after another. If it was Rocky 8, it was Rocky 8. It just never stopped, and we had every chance to win.”
Check. Check. Check. Maybe my biggest takeaway from the first 10 games of the 2018 season is how juiced that Texas-OSU game was at the end of October. I went expecting 2014 Texas game redux, and I got 2017 Bedlam redux instead. Big boy stuff, especially in a down year.
Idea No. 4
I wrote this after last year’s Bedlam.
But it also felt like a statement. Gundy came out swinging in his Monday presser — I watch them all, and I’ve never seen him go on unprompted for that long. It was as if to say “2015 is not who we are. 2016 is not who we are. This game is who we are. When both teams are at their best, we’re just as good as they are.”
This season has been confusing and disappointing. Howevah, for the second straight year, OSU has balled with OU and Texas. They need to figure some things out against Baylor and Iowa State, but OSU is 2-1 in games against ranked teams this year (and could easily be 3-0). I think that matters a little bit, and I think it also matters that for the second straight season in Bedlam, Gundy went for it all.
Idea No. 5
The question for me is whether 2017 will be just another chapter in a full book of sadness and angst or whether we will look back on that loss in this year and say, “That’s when Oklahoma State football stopped being good and became great.”
This is still up in the air. This season doesn’t engender loads of confidence, but I’ll let it play out.
Idea No. 6
“I liked that (Pickens) had put out tweets saying, ‘We’re going to funnel more money into football. We’re going to make sure we keep our coaches unless they go to be head coaches. We’re going to continue to push money into air travel for recruiting so we can try to get the very best young men in this program that have the most talent.’”
I won’t belabor the point. You can search the archives for my Gundy-crootin takes. Oklahoma State’s 2019 class is currently ranked 47th. It is ranked behind Indiana, Baylor and Northwestern, even though the Pokes have more overall recruits locked up than those teams. It’s not good. It’s worse than its 2018 class, which finished 34th nationally.
I mentioned this before, but I talked to one source close to OSU’s program earlier this season who bemoaned Gundy’s inability to recruit. Gundy, he said, would have already won a title if he even recruited as well as West Virginia.
I laughed. I don’t really believe that, but it remains the biggest point of contention for a program that has seen a lot of overall growth (despite its record) in the last 12 months.
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