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Checking In: It’s Been Two Years Since *That* Bedlam

Has OSU capitalized on that “good” loss two years ago?

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As I was reminiscing this week on the last time Bedlam was played in Stillwater, I came across a handful of quotes from people who matter. I wanted to look back on that ludicrous 62-52 bloodbath from 2017 and see how far (if at all) OSU has come since that day.

I remember it being such a marker for so many people. Such a “this is who we are and who we’re going to be for a long time” type of evening. That was the first game where I walked in and closed my eyes and thought I could have been in Death Valley or The Shoe. The first time where I was like, “Oh, this is a real thing.”

It felt big time.

Mike Gundy agrees. Here are the three quotes I unearthed.

Quote No. 1 (Mike Gundy): “One of the few times I’ve actually run out and looked at the crowd. I don’t really get caught up a lot in things like that, but when I was halfway on the field, once I could finally get through the smoke and see, … it really hit me in how far that we’ve come.”

Kind of mirrors what I said, and I don’t see why this year’s game will be any different. One person in The Chamber said BPS will be as good as we’ve ever seen it on Saturday night, even without a Big 12 title berth on the line. I agree.

When Fox’s feed goes from L.A. to Stillwater, it will feel like college football with the highest stakes. That — like most things that are great — seems like it would be a simple thing to achieve and accomplish. But it definitely is not.

Quote No. 2 (Gundy): “I had two phone calls Sunday morning from very prominent people that are involved in Oklahoma State football that are very influential in a lot of areas, not only financially. And they said, ‘You just tell us what you need. We’re gonna make this happen.'”

This one resonates less. Has much changed in the last two years? How much has Gundy pursued change in the last two years. We’ve been screaming at each other for the last few days about his recruiting patterns, and deservedly so. Sure, the new Chuba mirror jumbotron exists, but it doesn’t feel like OSU has capitalized on this like they should have.

Quote No. 3 (Boone Pickens):I love the direction OSU football is heading. The best is yet to come.”

It’s such a passage of time thing for me that that 62-52 game was Pickens’ last Bedlam in BPS. Just to take a step back, think about Pickens when I started this site in 2011 and think about him four years ago and think about him two years ago and remember that he’s now gone. Life is short.

Anyway, is the best yet to come? OSU’s recruiting team ranking would tell me no. See here for more hollering. Yes, OSU is part of an incredible 90-win club over the last decade, but what does the future look like? Does it look super optimistic and exciting? Or does it look like more of the same (and maybe even less than it’s been)?

I badly want for OSU to take a leap from a Tier 2 program to a Tier 1.5 or even a Tier 1 program. But can that happen under Gundy? And even if it can, will it? It feels a little more like Gundy has held OSU’s program together since that 2017 game than it feels like they’re thriving in the right direction.

OSU football is the greatest exercise in cognitive dissonance. One one hand, hell yes to 9- and 10-win seasons. On the other hand … Clemson used to win nine games a year, too.

That’s another conversation for another time probably. For now, with the Bedlam kick time ticking down and Gundy staring loss No. 13 in the face, much is at stake. Because a nine-win season with a Texas Bowl win over Marshall looks a lot different than a 10-win season with wins over OU in the regular season and Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl.

Singular games don’t change legacies, but they certainly affect them. And hopefully we’re talking two years from today about how big of a leap OSU has made since the last Bedlam in Stillwater and how Gundy has continued to press the program into, as Pickens noted, a bright, bright future.

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