The Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-4) came into Saturday night’s Bedlam matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) as double-digit underdogs, and really nobody gave them a chance to win. The Cowboys managed to stick around for the majority of the game. It never really got out of hand until the Sooners scored in the last few minutes of the third quarter to go up by 11.
The game ended as many expected it to as Oklahoma pulled away to win 34-16. Now, the Sooners prepare for the Big 12 Championship next weekend against Baylor where they are hoping for a big enough win to earn them a spot in the College Football Playoff. As for the Cowboys…now what?
Oklahoma State will await their specific bowl invitation for at least another week or so, and while the Cowboys’ chances of reaching 10 wins are gone, there’s still plenty to play for in whatever bowl game they end up in.
At the beginning of the season, Oklahoma State was pegged as a 7-win team—8 wins at the very most. The Cowboys have achieved 8 wins with a chance to get to 9, and while losing Bedlam is never fun, the season as a whole was a success.
This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for head coach Mike Gundy and his team, but the Cowboys didn’t deal with as many struggles as a rebuilding team would have to deal with. Starting a freshman quarterback was a bold move by Gundy, but it proved to be beneficial as Spencer Sanders gained a lot of experience. It was unfortunate to lose him for the final few games due to a hand injury, but whether he is able to go in the bowl game or not, he will come back next season with valuable experience and an understanding of how to run Oklahoma State’s offense.
Defensively, Oklahoma State made incredible strides compared to the last few seasons, and there is little doubt in my mind that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles will continue to improve the product. The Cowboys are losing quite a few leaders in the secondary, but they have plenty of young talent up front to keep the defense anchored for at least another season.
I’m not one for moral victories, and I’m definitely not trying to tell Oklahoma State fans to “look on the bright side” after getting beaten up in Bedlam. I am, however, encouraging fans to focus on the bright future that Cowboy football is headed into as opposed to getting stuck on this one game.
So when it comes to Oklahoma State football: now what?
Well…it’s time to get ready for a bowl game and see how this team can bounce back. I’ll be cheering just as hard for the Cowboys as I’m sure Oklahoma State fans everywhere will be.