Tue Jul 28 04:24pm EDT
Part of the Doc's Big 12 Week.
The last time we saw Oklahoma State take the field, this happened. Six months later, OSU players remain generally mortified and skipper Mike Gundy, not exactly known for keeping his displeasures to himself, sounds like he's planning an unsually rigorous practice regimen as a result:
OSU coach Mike Gundy said that having another team dominate his team late in the game brought a significant attitude change for his team.
"What happened to us against Oregon is they hit harder than we did and were tougher than we were in the fourth quarter," Gundy said. "Up front they beat us on both sides of the ball. As a staff we were very disappointed in ourselves in our preparation. And our players were disappointed they outhit us in the fourth quarter."
Considering the heights of the '08 season, when the Cowboys rose as high as No. 6 in the AP poll before their first loss at Texas, the ugly finale in the Holiday Bowl was a sobering reminder that, for all its impressive preseason posturing, OSU's case for first class status is still only speculative: Gundy hasn't beaten Oklahoma or Texas, and the Cowboys have taken more than their fair share of lumps against the upper crust they're widely expected to join this time around:
2005 (4-7 overall, 1-2 vs. ranked teams)
#1 Texas, L 47-28
#20 Texas Tech, W 24-17
#22 Oklahoma, L 42-14
2006 (7-6 overall, 0-2 vs. ranked teams)
#13 Texas, L 36-10
#11 Oklahoma, L 27-21
Texas Tech, L 30-24
2007 (7-6 overall, 1-4 vs. ranked teams)
#2 Georgia, L 35-14
#22 Texas Tech, W 49-45
#10 Texas, L 38-35
#7 Kansas, L 43-28
#8 Oklahoma, L 49-17
2008 (9-4 overall, 1-4 vs. ranked teams)
#19 Missouri, W 28-23
#4 Texas, L 28-24
#12 Texas Tech, L 56-20
#5 Oklahoma, L 61-41
#10 Oregon, L 42-31
Last year's margins against Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oregon, especially, do not augur well for improvement against the kind of competition found in their division. There's no stronger case for a ceiling on the Cowboys' ambitions, and there's nothing in their recent or distant history to suggest that reviewing proper tackling protocol under new defensive coordinator Bill Young will do anything to break through it.
OSU is hardly an untalented team, though -- far, far from it -- so what's this mean for 2009? For starters, the Georgia game is a litmus test for how far this team has come from the group whose high expectations were immediately, emphatically deflated in the 2007 opener in Athens. High-flying Houston could be pesky, but beyond that, no matter what the Robert Griffin yaysayers in Waco would have you believe, the next real hurdle is the biggest and baddest, a Halloween rendezvous with Texas in Stillwater. Texas Tech and Oklahoma round out the slate with gimme dates from Iowa State and Colorado in between, a typically backloaded schedule will give the Cowboys plenty of time to build a head of steam. With Missouri losing most of its offensive sting and North favorites Kansas and Nebraska out of OSU's inter-division draw this year, the only real hurdles are the same ones that have continued to trip up the Cowboys for years.