Pokes Were Favored in Every 2017 Game, So Yes 9-3 Was a Disappointing Year

Written by Kyle Porter

On Sunday, Mike Gundy was asked about whether he thought Oklahoma State fans would travel well to Orlando after a disappointing season.

He began to answer the question, but then he circled back and said this.

“I don’t see our season as a disappointment,” Gundy said. “I know we all want to make the final four. Winning nine games is difficult. I think the people will be excited about being there. I think they’ll be excited about a location where there’s a lot to do. I would be surprised if we didn’t have as much of a fan following as we did a few years ago in Phoenix.”

Look, nobody is a bigger proponent of Mike Gundy as a head coach than I am. For all the shine and spotlight he’s received, I still think what he’s done in Stillwater is underrated. But let’s call a 9-3 season in which you were favored in every game and incurred all three losses at home what it is.

A disappointment.

Gundy himself set expectations sky-high in August. He said he used to tell his team they were average even if they were good, but he’s changed his tune on that.

“If I were them, I’d walk out thinking, ‘We’re pretty good, why is he telling us that?’” Gundy said. He told his team before the season, “You should have a good team,” and noted, “They’ve handled it well.”

In 2017, six teams were favored in all of their games. Two of those teams ended up in the CFB Playoff and two others are in a NY6 bowl. Only Notre Dame and Oklahoma State failed to crack the top 12.

Here are the records of the six teams favored in every game (tOSU and Clemson played 13).

Notre Dame: 9-3
Ohio State: 11-2
Washington: 10-2
Alabama: 11-1
Clemson: 12-1
Oklahoma State: 9-3

Notre Dame lost as a 5.5-point favorite to Georgia at home, as a 3.5-point favorite at Miami and as a 3-point favorite at Stanford. A playoff team and a NY6 team and two of them on the road.

OSU lost as a 9.5-point favorite to TCU at home, as a 1-point favorite to OU at home and as a 19.5-point favorite to Kansas State at home. A playoff team, an Alamo Bowl team and Kansas State. All three at home.

Look, I get that betting lines are not the ultimate barometer for how good your team is. But they do paint a picture for us. Oklahoma State is better than Kansas State. Oklahoma State is better than TCU (I can almost guarantee you OSU would be favored on a neutral field this Saturday). When you lose multiple games against teams you’re better than, teams that you should beat, that’s disappointing.

And seemingly contradictory things can both be true. Mike Gundy is a tremendous college football coach at Oklahoma State. The team Mike Gundy coached in 2017 was a disappointment. Both can be (and I believe, are) true.

I have no problem with Gundy’s new contract. He’s earned far more than $5 million a year to be the head coach of Oklahoma State. I have no problem with him talking to Tennessee because no rational person wouldn’t have that conversation. I have no problem with him saying nine-win seasons are hard (they are!).

What I have a problem with is him saying that the 2017 Oklahoma State football season, rife with optimism and hope and one of the great offenses in school history, was not a disappointment.

It was. Everybody knows it. Gundy most of all.

  • ChanceDM

    I wonder if he’s coming across from the perspective of keeping player morale up and keeping them motivated for the bowl game. He maybe he really does believe it.

    • ???

      Agreed. It’s hard to communicate the season performance was disappointing to a team that was giving good effort without it being interpreted as he’s disappointed in the team.

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      • Jim Boggs

        He absolutely shouldn’t be disappointed with his players! The coaching is the only disappointment this year. He was out coached and under prepared for several games, not just the ones we lost. He was not prepared for Texas and TTU. Patterson outcoached both sides of the ball. Riley and his DC, much like Stoops did for 12 years, simply outcoached Spencer on every play. Snyder out-coached the entire OSU coaching staff. Gundy and his assistants are predictable to their peers and the last season OSU had a dominating defense was 1984. OSU has established a tradition of doing just enough to beat inferior opponents and outscoring the others because we don’t emphasize defense in coaching or recruiting.

    • brentparkey

      This is what I think every time I see something about this. What is he supposed to say in the middle of the season? Now, as we move into the 2018 season, I’d expect a little more honest assessment, but at this time, I think he has to say what he has said.

    • Nick

      I agree. I think it’s a case of him thinking he can’t say otherwise. I think it would be a bad look for him to say “yea, this team was a major disappointment.” Bad look to current players and recruits. However, I guess you can say he didn’t need to circle back and say that the way he did. But I assume he’s just taking up for his guys.

      • Cowboydroid

        He doesn’t have to call the tram a disappointment. The truth is the players played well for the most part. It was the coaching that was a MAJOR disappointment. He can take responsibility for that.

    • Kato

      I am sure Mike is disappointed. He also probably knows that the team lacked a couple of really important pieces like having experience at DB. The O line was not healthy for most of the season. Two things we had in 2011….A solid O line and decent secondary. You could make up partly for a lousy secondary if the O line was very solid… that was not the case in 2017. Mike knows all that and his assessment of the season probably is based on the glaring weaknesses he knew he had.

    • Jim Boggs

      You may be right but is that really the best way to keep morale and enthusiasm up? If you’re correct then he’s basically handing out “participation trophies” which doesn’t work if, you as a coach, really care about the professional success of all your players. If Gundy is really developing his players then they need honest feedback. I think he chooses not to do this because honestly, he and his coaches have failed these players on more than just those 3 lost home games and they don’t want to admit it.

      • ChanceDM

        Yeah, I’m not saying it’s the right or wrong thing to do. I haven’t been involved in sports enough to know those things.

  • Ty Webb

    Massive disappointment. Losing 3 games at home when you are favored by 3 touchdowns in one, 2 touchdowns in the other and 3 points to your in state rival is garbage.

  • Jawbreaker

    I think its a fair expectation for the fans that the program win the games they are supposed to win.

  • b

    Very well said. Completely agree with you, Kyle.

  • David Isaac Mosley

    The only loss I honestly can come to grips with is OU … they’re a Perenial power year in and year out. As for TCU and Kansas State both of those were egregious . Candace state should’ve been a blowout by 30 points considering that we almost had a 30 point comeback in the fourth quarter that was completely unacceptable. And TCU not to blame a game on Ref but probably some of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in football. Also some of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in football from a coordinator standpoint both on offense and defense. We were far better then the boys at Fort Worth . But hey sometimes life just doesn’t bounce your way

    • Adam M.

      I agree with most of this, but the ‘Candace State’ voice-to-text mix-up is 👌.

      • David Isaac Mosley

        Lmao dam voice text

  • Adam M.

    That knowledge drop on the favored teams… All the more reason we should have played Notre Dame in a bowl.

  • stepdaddy

    Come on guys….this year was fun as hell!! Remember the epic win against Pitt? Quit being so negative! The coaching was spectacular. We lost because the players on this team suck! Never mind that we had more players selected to the all big 12 team than usual and never mind that 3 players will be drafted in the 1st round. Coaches can’t help it if the players don’t make plays. OSU clearly lost all three games because of the players. Once we get better recruits our obvious player problem will be solved. Gundy got us major recruiting publicity with that Tenn coaching stuff! I think we are going to have a top 30 class now. The coaching this year was spectacular! Which is what we have come to expect from Gundy teams! This why everybody in county want him. Right. With all the talent coming in next year, I can’t wait to watch Gundy, MY, and GS mold them into a another championship team! Go Pokes!!!

    • davids

      I like your attitude! I know the conference race next year will have OU as an overwhelming preseason favorite. I think 2-7 will be difficult to pick. I think the Pokes will be fine.

      • okstate4life

        Dude, he’s f&cking with everyone.

        • davids

          I’m not. I think we will win 9 or 10 next year.

          • okstate4life

            We’ve won around 9 for the past decade so I’d bet you’re probably right. Win 9 games, go to the Alamo Bowl…and the wheels on the bus go round and round.

          • davids

            Lose the star power and reload for another good year. I still think our next QB might make our team better. Mason was great! I just think he’s an average pro prospect. A poor man’s Blake Bortles. No maybe that’s too high.

    • okstate4life

      Top 30 class now….lol! But wait…you mean averaging 9 wins a season like the past 10 years won’t get you better recruits than a 30th ranked class?!? GTFO.

  • William Bell

    Well, it appears that Gundy is content with 9-3! Time for another RAISE !!!

    • Jim Robins

      Wish he had as much balls managing his staff, calling plays, recruiting and scheduling as he does in asking for raises.

  • Forever 14

    Keeping player morale up? I guess, after all, what’s more important, their performance or their self-esteem?

    Participation trophies for everyone!

  • Pokeinchief

    I always have problems with basing seasons off wins versus Vegas expectations. Bama and OU were probably favored in every game this year, neither was undefeated and they definitely aren’t disappointed.

    I’ve been saying this for years… It’s not that OSU loses, but how they lose. The loss to TCU doesn’t bother me. TCU is a great team with a great coach.

    Losing to OU doesn’t kill me, but the fact the D gave up 60+ points on home field is embarrassing.

    Losing to KSU, and how the team looked that team, is totally unacceptable.

    But, this fit exactly with my call before the season. OSU will lose to 1) OU, 2) somebody with much less talent (KSU), and 3) any team that can put equivalent talent but superior coaching on the field (TCU). TCU surprised me with the quality of players they put on the field, and Patterson is arguably the best coach in the league.

    10-2 or 9-3… every year. Not bad at all, but not the promised land.

    • Bootstrap Bill

      Your comment on an article about how OSU was favored in every game by saying OU was probably favored in every game? Think about that for a second.

      • Pokeinchief

        Gah! How about this…. Vegas had OSU favored, but anybody with a functional brain knew OU was the safe bet.

        • Usetobe Cowboyfan

          As long as Gundy is the coach, OU is a safe bet! Plus over the next few years Texas, WV, Iowa state, K State and one non- conference team every other year!

    • Bootstrap Bill

      You comment on an article about how OSU was favored in every game by saying OU was probably favored in every game? Think about that for a second.

    • Bootstrap Bill

      You comment on an article about how OSU was favored in every game by saying OU was probably favored in every game? Think about that for a second.

      Then you compare playoff teams losing 1 game they were favored in to losing 3 and going CW.

      Hot take alert!

      • Pokeinchief

        Took you 3 tries to get off one condescendingly comment. Good work.

        • Bootstrap Bill

          It didn’t take me 3 tries. The site kept giving maintenance errors and then I guess later they all went through. What does “condescendingly comment” mean? Idiot

  • Cowboydroid

    Gundy is turning into a money grubber who doesn’t care for championships.

  • AJ Smith

    Wish OSU had a real coach, someone with balls.

  • Usetobe Cowboyfan

    He’s got $675,000 reasons this season was NOT a disappointment!

  • Matt Belanger

    Which would you rather have: lose the bowl game to miss out on a 10 win season and replace both our coordinators or win the bowl game and keep at least Yurcich and probably Spencer?

    • okstate4life

      Winning 10 games a season doesn’t mean $hit if you’re not winning the conference on a semi regular basis. Give me option A alllllll day.

    • Usetobe Cowboyfan

      Give me option A also.

  • djftctx

    Am I disappointed in our season—-YES. Am I going to Orlando, no. Have I gone to the last several bowls, YES. Sound disappointed, I am.