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Mike Gundy and the importance of momentum

There’s no fervor like “we’ve got a real QB” fervor.

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Mike Gundy gets a Gatorade bath at the Cactus Bowl. (USATSI)

Mike Gundy gets a Gatorade bath at the Cactus Bowl. (USATSI)

“Hope springs eternal” has always been a quixotic tag given to baseball players and teams at the dawn of a new season. Given that spring football is now pretty much equivalent to baseball, I’d say the same applies to Mike Gundy’s squad.

There’s no fervor like “we’ve got a real QB and a bunch of dudes coming back in a conference that has seen a variety of champs in the last half decade” fervor and that excitement is cresting this spring in Stillwater.

It started, though, with two improbable wins after a season of disappointment last year. And this is where I think it gets interesting.

Mike Gundy understands the politics of college athletics.

He doesn’t necessarily abide under its jurisdiction, but he gets it. In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world (both in sports and the government), how you finish is often more important than what you actually did.

“This year, we ended up winning seven, but beat Oklahoma on the road and won a bowl game,” said Gundy to Fox Sports Southwest recently. “And people feel better now when in theory, we were better a year ago and we were basically one play away from another championship.”

It’s true. We’ve laid the body of Gundy’s work at Bedlam’s almighty altar.

“The feeling in the community is different now than even a year ago, and it’s just in how you finish,” said Gundy.

“It’s unusual now and with all the attention in social media and the Bedlam game and the things we did with letting James Castleman touch the football, it just generated a lot of excitement and there was a tremendous amount of marketing that worked in our advantage at the end of the season.”

Gundy fails to mention the fact that OSU had 83 seniors graduating last season (approximately) and that OSU fans were smart enough to know the future (as in 2014) wasn’t particularly bright.

Still, his point is a valid one. No matter what we say in OKC Dave’s preseason survey, it seems, during the offseason anyway, that we would rather have had a down year and beaten OU than had a great year and lost to them.

Especially when that loss precludes a Big 12 title.

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