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Grades: Oklahoma State Did Just Enough to Get to Big 12 Championship, it Showed against a Worthy Texas

On Texas, the Big 12 and OSU’s defense.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

One time when I was in school there was a kid we all knew was a bad student, but the principal made a deal with him that if he didn’t get in trouble before, then he could go on the field trip with the rest of us. He controlled himself for a bit and managed to get on the bus. Then we all got sent back to school early because of something he did.

We all had a hunch that this Oklahoma State team wasn’t actually good enough to get on that bus to Arlington and be playing for a Big 12 title. Although the Cowboys definitely had the right to be there compared to the other options, they aren’t a championship caliber team, proven by the 49-21 thumping from No. 7 Texas.

Here are grades from OSU’s disappointing trip that it did just enough to earn.

Texas: A

The Longhorns are worthy of College Football Playoff consideration. They proved that Saturday, at least to those of us at AT&T Stadium, including Mike Gundy.

“I don’t mind telling you, to be honest, I told the guys in here, I would guess that team can play with anyone in the country right now, just from what I saw live,” Gundy said.

Again, it’s not like OSU is a bad team. It may not seem worthy of a conference title, but OSU was still 9-3 with wins over three ranked opponents at the time and earned its spot to play Texas. But the Longhorns still made a top-20 team look like an early nonconference tune-up.

Texas’ only loss was to OU in a rivalry matchup in which the Sooners played their best football of the season. Included in the Longhorns’ 12 wins is a 10-point victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The same Bama that just beat back-to-back champion Georgia for the SEC title. But I’m not here to promote Texas’ resume because I’m sure no one from the playoff committee reads PFB anyway.

Regardless, the Cowboys are a good team, these Longhorns just might be great.

OSU’s Defense: D

I’ve been more positive about Bryan Nardo’s defense than most this season, but numbers don’t lie.

The Cowboys gave up 49 points and 662 yards of total offense to Texas. The Longhorns averaged 7.6 yards a play, and after the first quarter, they were averaging a first down every time they touched the ball at 11.6 yards a play.

A Texas team that had struggled mightily in the red zone was 5-for-5 on getting into the end zone against OSU. The Longhorns punted only once, and not until the third quarter.

There was a point in the first half I said that it seemed like OSU always had a guy there to make the play, the problem was, though, tackling was so poor they always needed multiple guys to make a stop.

As usual, Nardo’s halftime adjustments had the defense better in the second half, giving up 14 points after that, but by then the damage had already been done.

Big 12 Experience: A

It was all so bizarre.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark had a press conference before a conference championship game that was eventually won by a team leaving the league. And he had to praise that team and even promote its College Football Playoff worthiness. Then after the game he had to speak over boos toward him and “S-E-C” chants.

There was a giant logo of a professional wrestling title belt plastered with WWE and Big 12 logos at the 25-yard lines. Professional wrestlers were roaming around, even out there for the pregame coin toss and presenting the game’s MVP with a gold championship belt. Marshall and I turned our heads when we saw the chain gang walking through the tunnel onto the field with a giant WWE logo on their backs and on top of the chains.

At halftime there was a Nelly concert, as he came onto the field while performing with both school’s bands before both bands created the pit area in front of the stage.

The game, although honestly the least entertaining part, was played at Times Square in New York City.

But somehow it all worked in its own new Big 12 way. It made a rather boring game worth sticking around for or keeping on a TV.

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