Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE
If you're anything like myself, you've been hesitant to acknowledge Oklahoma State's emergence as a legitimate rival. Well my friends, the time has arrived as have the Cowboys.
We'll save the loud mouth 'clearly overcompensating for any number of things and taking it to a level of embarrassment rare even for OSU fans which is really saying something' blustering this week for our opponent's fan base. Needless to say, they're confident heading into this week's Bedlam showdown in Norman. And they should be (which we're about to get in to).
To be fair, they'd be just a mouthy if, you know, they'd won just one game in the series over the last nine years.
Oh, wait . . .
All kidding aside, make no mistake there has been no other OU fan more resistant to give Oklahoma State the credit they now deserve. Well, that's a lie. There is one other person out there, who I know quite well, that is still and will forever be holding out. But other than that one person, I'm at the top of the "Pshhhh, it's just Okie State" hill. Or at least I was.
So for me to even be contemplating something such as this, let alone making it public in this fantastical wonderland we call the interwebs, should give you at least some insight into just how difficult this is for me to write.
Gone are the days in which Oklahoma fans can casually dismiss Bedlam football as a "gimmie." It sucks, I know, but I suppose it was inevitable.
We can argue about how this has come about -- be it T. Boone buying his way into being a competitive program, whether or not you or I are willing to give Mike Gundy his due, or any number of other factors. To borrow a term we're all familiar with, "in the end" do the reasons really matter?
I'd argue, no. The fact is Saturday is about as far from automatic as any Bedlam football game in recent memory. Despite what many of them would likely claim, even OSU fans (non-mentally challenged ones anyway) weren't predicting last year's demolishing. Granted, they are all too happy to remind us of it but we must simply grin and bear it as they earned the bragging rights. Well, maybe not grin but that latter part of that still applies.
That said, to imply (as I've seen a number of them do already and it's only Tuesday) that last year's game in any way is relevant to the 2012 edition is simply, well, stupid. It's just as irrelevant as the all-time series record, which they of course are always quick to dismiss.
Here are the facts as I see them: (1) Oklahoma State is legit. They can do a lot of things on offense that should scare OU fans. Because, (2) this OU defense has some major issues. Be they scheme (cough, no adjustments, cough) or personnel, they exist and they've been exposed repeatedly.
While Joseph Randle is not Tavon Austin, he's pretty damn good in his own right. If you're hesitant to give OSU credit for not skipping a beat in spite of the fact they were forced to start their third string quarterback, close your eyes and imagine just how different this OU offense would be if the Sooners were forced to do the same. Yeah, scary, right?
Look, nothing changes the fact it's Bedlam and we hate Oklahoma State. I'm proud to say I don't have any Oklahoma State friends, nor do I see that ever changing. However, hating while failing to acknowledge what this OSU program has accomplished makes us look like the uneducated Walmart purchased OU t-shirt wearing fans they all believe us to be (as if they're all Rhodes scholars or something).
Admitting Oklahoma State has "arrived" doesn't make you any less of an OU fan, in my opinion it makes you a smarter one. It means even through the hate, of which there is plenty, you're objective enough to see the reality of things as they stand today.
Oklahoma State is good. Saturday is going to be a challenge. Now, sure, there is always the chance it could get out of hand (in either direction, mind you), but not many are predicting that and for good reason. Because it's a match-up between two pretty good teams, both of which respective fan base's believe one is just a little (or a lot) better than the other. Not really sure I see the harm in that.
Which in no way changes, nor will it ever, the undeniable fact that OSUcks!