Looking Back: Consistency for 13 Weeks is a Near Impossibility

Written by Kyle Porter

I’ve been enjoying these Monday look-back columns. Gives me a little time to digest the weekend and formulate a take that isn’t so reactionary immediately following the game.

One thing we don’t talk about enough when delving into statistics and discussing route trees and cloud coverage: The consistency it takes from week to week to win 10-12 games.

Mike Gundy talks about this a lot. We probably don’t discuss it enough.

Here’s the reality: Consistency matters. Probably more so than greatness. You can average 75 points a game for the year, but if you get there by putting up 90 points in 10 games and 0 in two others, you’re still going to go 10-2 and not play for the national championship. On the flip side, you can score half that number of points but do it a 35-a-game pace and as long as you win every game by one point, you’ll be given a trophy at the end of the season.

This is why wins like the one Oklahoma State had at Iowa State on Saturday are impressive to me. I noted this after the game, but those are culture wins. Those are “I’m sort of sick of this season, but I love this group of guys and I don’t want to let coach down” wins.

“I sensed it during the week in practice,” said Gundy of OSU’s post-Bedlam lethargy. “The best illustration would be when you get sick and your doctor gives you antibiotics and you’re on them for a couple days. You don’t have any energy. That’s what I saw on Tuesday and Wednesday at practice. Their attitude was great. I just saw not as much energy so that was a concern of mine.

“That was the first time I’ve seen that this year.”

I got an email from OKC Dave earlier this year and we discussed the continuity of certain statistics. On paper, your season-long numbers should tell a story, but you guys watched the offense against Texas and then watched it against OU. And you watched the defense against West Virginia and then watched it against Iowa State. “College kids gonna college kids” was a phrase I believe he used, and it’s true.

One of the more underrated aspects of the Gundy tenure is how he’s baked the understanding of seasonal rhythms into the OSU formula. I think some CFB coaches are just trying to get from one week to the next, but he sees the bigger picture, and he’s been rewarded for it with a ton of Ws.

And the ISU win on Saturday is a win that Oklahoma State has consistently corralled in the Gundy era. Criticize the Cardiac Cowboys moniker because they should be housing teams that they’re better than — this is a fair criticism — but give them credit for winning pretty much every one of these games since Mason Rudolph took the helm.

In fact, of the nine losses in the Rudolph era (eight with him as starter), only one came to a team that wasn’t ranked in the top 16 nationally (Central Michigan). They win nearly every game they should, even if they make them closer than they should be.

One of my frustrations with fans and bystanders is how flippantly they toss around 10- and 11-win seasons. Like, they’re just expected year after year after year. I think that most folks don’t fully understand the difficult of winning 10-plus games, and now Oklahoma State is on the verge of doing so for just the ninth time ever.

I don’t just mean for Oklahoma State compared to its past, either. I mean the difficulty of winning 10 games for any team in the country. Clemson, Auburn, Ohio State, anybody. It’s difficult to get that many things go correctly over the course of 13-14 weeks.

Year Conference Ws Ls Coach Bowl
2011 Big 12 12 1 Mike Gundy (12-1) Fiesta Bowl-W
2010 Big 12 11 2 Mike Gundy (11-2) Alamo Bowl-W
2016 Big 12 10 3 Mike Gundy (10-3) Alamo Bowl-W
2015 Big 12 10 3 Mike Gundy (10-3) Sugar Bowl-L
2013 Big 12 10 3 Mike Gundy (10-3) Cotton Bowl-L
1988 Big 8 10 2 Pat Jones (10-2) Holiday Bowl-W
1987 Big 8 10 2 Pat Jones (10-2) Sun Bowl-W
1984 Big 8 10 2 Pat Jones (10-2) Gator Bowl-W

Can this season still be a disappointment if you don’t play for the Big 12 title and simultaneously a success for bagging another 10-win year? Sure it can. And guess what? That Big 12 title might not be out of reach quite yet.

  • Gopokes82

    We are 4 plays away from being undefeated…. 4 PLAYS… TCU game- FUMBLE at the goalline that was CLEARLY a fumble and somehow they call touchdown???? Then the double passs….

    OU game- the fumble touchdown… HOW DO YOU MISS THAT CALL??? and obviously mason rudolph HORRENDOUS MISTAKE

    4 plays… people… 4 plays

    • Gopokes82

      With that being said GO TACO TECH

    • Guest

      Coincidentally we are also 4 plays away from being 6-7 in bedlam since Gundy took over instead of 2-11

      • Guest

        This program is a lot closer to being something incredibly special than people think

        • Ike

          Listen Mr Play Counter, your positivity don’t go ’round here, sunshine pumper law dawg…savvy?

      • lpscout

        Exactly true! sat in the 8 degree weather at Bedlam 2013,….If Gilbert hangs on to the INT,……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Mullet Power

          i was there with you. froze my ass off only to watch the bell-dozer pull that win out of their a$$es

          • lpscout

            THAT made me want to puke, for sure! ARGH!

    • Guest

      Yes, but a few plays the other way and we have 2 more L’s Texas and Iowa State. It works both ways.It is what it is. The games have been played time to move on.

  • Andrew

    Spencer has to go.. we continually year after year fail to stop a good offense… We just gave up 42 to an average offense averaging 30 p/pg! Our best defensive performance of the season was against Texas for crying out loud! Not to mention where is the recruiting on the defensive side of the ball?? It’s been well below average at best

    • T-Bone

      At least get a corner backs coach that can teach a corner back how to stay closer than 5 yards of a receiver. I can’t stand how open opposing receivers are. Then I look at our “great” receivers and hardly ever see them that wide open. I call it bad play design on offense and bad coverage ability on defense.

  • “One of my frustrations with fans and bystanders is how flippantly they toss around 10- and 11-win seasons. Like, they’re just expected year after year after year.”
    #Truth!!!!!

  • Curious

    Kyle P.,
    Good article. I know this is a big ask, but could you please try to answer how difficult statistically it is to achieve and maintain 10+ win seasons? I side with your logic, but am curious.
    #WreckEm (this week)!