Greetings, gentle readers! Join me for our first weekly shade-throwing session. Up next: the Oklahoma State Cowboys, coached by Mike Gundy. The ’Horns travel to the inglorious hamlet of Stillwater. I mean, really, even the name of the town is weird. Stillwater? As in stagnant water covered in green slime where mosquitoes like to breed and pass on West Nile virus? Seems fitting.
This year, Texas goes into Boone Pickens Stadium with a 3-0 record. As an aside, their stadium is named for T. Boone Pickens, multimillionaire and evil genius. This guy made his fortune in the 1980s on hostile takeovers and “greenmailing”—the practice of buying up a target company’s stock until they fear a hostile takeover, then selling it back to them at a premium. Totally a guy I’d invite over for homemade ice cream. Because he’s not the living embodiment of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons or anything.
Moving on! Texas comes in fat and happy with a great start to this season. Okie State is 2-1, having lost a game to the Arizona Wildcats. I know you read my blog, because the Magic 8 Ball told me so, which means you know that the Cowboys lost big last week against Arizona—59-38. That’s a whippin’ where I come from.
Let’s not get too excited, though. In their first game, the Cowboys obliterated Savannah State 84-0. I’ll wait while you collect yourself from laughing. Their other win came against Louisiana-Lafayette, or as I like to call them, La-La, 65-24. Not exactly household names, but still, Okie State put up some big numbers. Let’s talk stats. Okie State ranks first nationally in points scored, 2nd in passing yards, and 6th in rushing yards. This is an offense that knows how to shake and bake. Texas should not take this game lightly. The defense will be tested this weekend. I hope they’re resting and eating their Wheaties.
Last year, you may recall, was not all that great for our ’Horns. They finished 4-5 in conference play and 8-5 overall. As I said in an earlier post, not a season you can taunt your Razorback relatives about over your holiday dinner. (But this year, the Hogs just suck like crazy so there’s that.)
Okie State, on the other hand, finished first in the Big 12, with an 8-1 record in conference and 12-1 overall. And, they beat Stanford and their fancy Christmas tree mascot in their bowl game. You know, I’ve always liked Okie State. They seemed to be the perpetual bridesmaid to Oklahoma’s bride. Never mind that the bride had three teeth and was drunk during the ceremony. However! Let’s not forget who used to be head coach at Okie State—a fellow you might have heard of named Les Miles. He coached from 2001—2004, when he left to be head coach of some small school in swampland called LSU. Yep.
The ’Horns last won the Big 12 in 2009. It’s been a while. This year, there won’t be a playoff between the north and south divisions of the conference like we’ve had in years past. That’s because the Big 12 actually has only 10 teams, and that’s too few for a playoff. What does that mean? Every conference game counts toward the conference championship and a spot in a big-name BCS bowl. Texas has had some disappointing numbers in the last few years. This game is an opportunity to show not just the Okies but all the folks out there who think Texas’ early wins were flukes. As fans, we expect a return to big-time power football hinted at in the first three games. Above all, we need a solid win on the road against a tough opponent. One step closer to taunting those relatives over the holidays.
So how do the teams stack up? Texas comes in with just over 513 total yards of offense. Okie State has almost 687, putting them first in the nation. Never mind those yards came against teams like Savannah State. Still first. And the Cowboys have scored 62.3 points per game to Texas’s 49.3. I’d like to take a moment to point out that Coach Brown plays classy football. Not “klassy” with a “k,” like drinking warm Budweiser fast so you can burp the alphabet. I mean classy, as in he refuses to run up the score on other teams. Gundy? Maybe not so much.
Another interesting stat is the number of points each team has allowed its opponent to score. For Texas, that’s 49.3. For the Cowboys, it’s a shocking 62.3. Texas won on the road, Okie State lost. But on Saturday, they play at home, which is always an advantage. The ’Horns already had a taste of a road game at Ole Miss, where David Ash had a career-high game. Last week was a bye for both teams, and a week off can be a chance to regroup or a time to go cold.
Any time Texas comes to town, an opponent sees an opportunity to beat a big-name program and boost their own credibility. That means Texas MUST get up for every game, especially on the road. The fans in Stillwater aren’t the worst I’ve seen (cf. Colorado, Texas Tech), but they won’t be friendly, that’s for sure. I’m assuming they’ll find their way to the stadium by sheer force of habit, because not all of them are all that good at reading and stuff. Plus I don’t imagine there are that many large buildings in Stillwater.
Texas is the favorite, but only by 1.5 points. Holy cow. The game will be televised on a station that living humans can see, so friends, don’t call or come by after 7:50 p.m. EST on Saturday. I’ll be home watching football and scaring the dog.
Here’s hoping the ’Horns bring it all to Stillwater and show everyone what they’ve got. Our cloven hooves are crossed! Make it so, David Ash.
Rebecca May is a Texas ex-pat living in Oregon while rooting for the Longhorns. An attorney by day, she blogs about college football by night. This story was first published by GridironGirl.org.
Photos courtesy of UT Athletics