Those football scores are not numbers I think of fondly. Those scores represent the first three games of Oklahoma State’s 2005 football season. That was a team that went on to capture only one other game that season. There’s really no easy way to describe Mike Gundy’s first OSU team, other than to say that they sucked hard.
That 2005 team was coming off a winning season. They were breaking in a new offensive coordinator and new players at several positions, notably at quarterback. They were picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 South. When you watched those first three games, you knew they were picked fifth for a reason. As it turned out, they should have been picked sixth. Or seventh, if someone could find a way to make that happen. The 15-10 win over Montana State — a team that went on to finish the year 7-4, hardly a juggernaut — featured 378 yards of offense for OSU. Unfortunately, it was the high-water mark for OSU’s yardage output during the non-conference schedule. The Cowboys beat an eventual 2-9 Florida Atlantic 23-3, racking up 292 yards of offense in the process. And they finished the non-con slate by beating back Arkansas State, which went on to finish 6-6, by a score of 20-10. OSU managed 273 yards of offense in that game, and won despite being out-gained by Arkansas State, which recorded 322 yards.
Let me say it again. They sucked hard.
If various pundits and media outlets would have scoffed at OSU after those three games — which they did — you couldn’t blame them. The Cowboys lined up three massive cupcakes and barely managed to scrape by with three victories in hand.
Fast forward to 2010. You’ve got a team coming off a winning season. They’re breaking in a new offensive coordinator and new players at several positions, notably at quarterback. They were picked to finish fifth, or worse in some polls, in the Big 12 South. But something different happened in 2010.
In the 65-17 win over Washington State, OSU banked 544 yards of offense. In the 41-38 win over Troy, OSU gained 522 yards of offense — the number might have been 700-plus if they didn’t turn it over five times. Finally, the 65-28 rout of Tulsa featured 722 yards of offense for OSU, plus a strong defensive effort that saw Tulsa score most of its points against third-stringers.
So OSU lined up three opponents — two of which are typically considered to be pesky for major-conference teams, the third a BCS school – and took care of business. Against two of them, they didn’t just take care of business; they pummelled them into submission, enforcing their will like a dominant team would over a lesser foe. I mean, we’re talking epic, record-breaking beat-downs here, people.
So of course, various pundits and media outlets were quick to recognize that this OSU team will not be like the debacle of 2005. They can take care of business. They can make teams pay. Clearly they were undervalued in the preseason polls, right?
All that’s happened is a majority of bloggers, columnists and media types have dismissed OSU as not having played anyone. Or of not having proved anything because the defenses they’ve faced have been sub-par. Yes, the defenses statistically are sub-par — thanks in large part to the season-high points they allowed against OSU. But that’s fine. Let’s make the poor defense argument. Maybe WSU, Troy and Tulsa will play out the season and prove to have wretched defenses. Maybe none of the teams will win another game. I guarantee you that in the fall of 2005, no team from Montana State, Florida Atlantic or Arkansas State went on to rule the college football world. They all stunk. And so did OSU, because they proved they could barely beat them.
The point? Maybe WSU, Troy and Tulsa all stink. But you know who doesn’t stink like them? Oklahoma State. How do I know this? Because I’ve seen stink up close from the Boone Pickens Stadium bleachers. I could tell you the 2005 OSU team was going to have a lot of trouble beating anyone in conference. the 2010 OSU team? This is a different story, folks. Logic tells me they don’t stink because they beat the you-know-what out of their opponents so far.
It’s pretty simple, really. Teams that don’t reserve respect don’t do that type of thing.