An Early Attempt at Making Sense of 2017 Cowboy Football

[USATSI]
Written by Steven Mandeville

We’ll have plenty of time to dissect, digest, compare and sleep on what the vertigo-inducing 2017 Cowboy football team really is. But let’s heed the great philosopher Andrew Baines Bernard and try and rightly perceive the days we’re living in before it’s too late.

Guerin Emig perfectly described the joy and misery of following the 2017 Cowboy football team over the weekend.

This team is a theater troupe. It can be frustrating, occasionally infuriating.

It is also invigorating. At least, you know you’re alive following this program. And there’s this: Way more often than not, it works out in the end. OSU is 14-1 in single-digit games since 2014.

The Cowboys are out of the College Football Playoff. They’re a long shot to make the Big 12 championship game. For a team splashed across the cover of Sports Illustrated, that’s going to cause its fans some woe. Like Saturday caused some.

Just ask yourself: What happens when 2018 comes along, a lot of these guys are gone, and games end 26-13 instead of 49-42? What happens when the drama and tension and delight all stop, and we’re left to follow a more ordinary college football team? [TulsaWorld]

A theater troupe, worth twice the ticket price, heartburn medication, and celebratory beverages. What in the world do you make of this team?

Not only could should you assume that the Cowboys will come out on top in any non-Bedlam close game but it’s almost *gasp* bankable. 14-1 is triple-A debt type stuff.

Now, I’ll cede you TCU this year – the Fort Worth Wizard dropping the umbrella coverage wet blanket on the best fast break in Stillwater. But need I remind you that if junior-slumping Jalen McCleskey eats it instead of thinking he’s Antwaan Randle-El, the Pokes are in another late-game punching exchange?

Look at the track record – it’s Cowboy Magic.

2017 has seen the Pokes sneak by Texas, Texas Tech and Iowa State, roll past Baylor and West Virginia in Morgantown and witness TCU and Oklahoma slip through their fingers.

But historically, if you’re Iowa State would you rather have that one night in 2011 or six years of excruciating defeats that have followed?

What about Texas and the newly opened Gundy’s Bar and Grill where every other year raw Bevo is served?

West Virginia bootlegged a win out of the road-weary Pokes before the all-time defense and all-time leading scorer could figure things out early in the season. But other than that?

We’re nearing a decade since one of OSU’s most low-key entertaining rivalry games against Texas Tech has ended in defeat.

Mike Gundy has traded punches with two of CFB’s best in Bill Snyder and Gary Patterson but he’s gotten his haymakers in. 2016 Kansas State was a victory snatched from the jaws of death in a way you’ll rarely see.

It’s a hard adjustment but math tells us when it’s close, we shouldn’t inhale for extended periods but rather exhale and be confident.

Dread should be replaced by an eager grin and a curious mind asking how are they going to pull this one out?

How the Pokes get into close games is a tricky but explainable concept to put a finger on.

The Cowboys, thanks in part to their defense came home a perfect 6-0 on the road this regular season. As of this point no other Division I football team is a perfect 6-0 on the road this season. Texas, West Virginia, and Texas Tech are all road games where the Oklahoma State defense played key roles in getting the win.

Texas was especially a glorious day for the Oklahoma State defense. Heck, that interception by Green was the game clincher. The issue is this Oklahoma State defense often has long periods in games where the other offense seems to get into really comfortable periods of success. [GoPokes $]

As far as what we’ve expected to be an offensively-dominant but defensively-deficient team goes, this team sufficiently leans on two phases of the game to save the day at different times.

As you enjoy your Sunflower State deserts in Boone Pickens Stadium, relish in what this team is and (as I’m prone to do) try not to be frustrated by what they’re not. Life’s too short.

Ask Andy Bernard – the good old days don’t last forever. Saturday when Mason Rudolph Marcell Ateman’s a solid K-State secondary to death and Justice Hill one-cuts through a really solid defensive line behind a road-grading Zach Crabtree, be a squeezed sponge that’s expanding and soak it in.

Where wins aren’t guaranteed but are now expected feels a bit like college football heaven.