Sunday, November 26, 2006

it's really just a game


My OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY COWBOYS lost a heartbreaker to the University Of Oklahoma Sooners yesterday, 27-21, just missing a catch in the end zone as time expired. Earlier, what appeared to be a touchdown then fumble, was ruled a fumble before the ball crossed the plane of the goal line. I've not seen the replays to know whether it really did or not, but even with that against us, we still nearly pulled the big upset.

Yes, I was there. Yes, I was upset. However, in the overall picture, OSU played spendidly, just giving up a few too many big plays, but overall playing like a team that could, and should, have won the game. OU's defense did not shut down OSU's offense, and OSU's unhearlded defense actually DID shut down OU's rush defense in the last quarter, holding them to One Yard Rushing.

I'm very proud of my OSU Cowboys. Last year was a disasterous 4-7 after Les Miles deserted us for LSU. In came favorite son Mike Gundy, a former superstar at OSU. Before last year he cleaned house of some of the riffraff left behind, including some quality players. However, they were problems off the field, and not really team players. It hurt us last year, but it showed Coach Gundy was serious about his team, and making it not only a quality football team, but one made up of quality men, on and off the field. That is admirable. We don't want, or need, thugs on our team to be successful. He's proven that this year.

OSU is now 6-6, but could so easily be 10-2, perhaps even 11-1. Our loss to Houston was one of nerves, as much as anything, for our Quarterback Bobby Reid, returning to his hometown for the first time as an opposing player. The comeback by Kansas State to defeat OSU may not have occured if OSU's defense was playing then, the way it is now. OSU was really not ever in the game against The University Of Texas compared to the way it had been the last 3 years, so that's the one that looms as "not even close". A last minute score by Texas A & M tied up the game, and OSU's blocked extra point after the touchdown in Overtime lost that one. At Texas Tech, we had our chances with the last possession, but just could not put the ball in the endzone. Same thing yesterday against OU.

Yes, OSU is 6-6. However, it's a very respectable 6-6. This team is SO vastly improved over last year, it is an incredible coaching staff accomplishment. The coaches have worked tirelessly and it shows. The players have gotten faster and stronger, and it shows. OSU soundly defeated Kansas earlier in the season, after falling behind 17-0 into the second half, it became the OSU Offensive Show of the year. OSU also convincingly beat University of Nebraska at home, after getting down 16-0. Nebraska won the Big 12 North Division Title, and will tackle OU for the Big 12 Playoff in Kansas City. The fact that OSU soundly beat one of those in the title game, and nearly upset the other one, is a true credit to the work ethics of Coach Gundy and his staff, and his players. Coach Gundy is there to coach, because he loves OSU and coaching, with no desire to go anywhere else. He's down to earth, and tells it like it is, much like former Coach Pat Jones. Coach Gundy doesn't make excuses, but at the same time, doesn't accept defeat. That was obvious yesterday, as he was on the referees about several not-called penalties for Holding, etc. His team is out there playing their hearts out, and he's fighting for them on the sidelines, trying to make sure a fair game is called. Yet, he doesn't whine after the fact, as he knows there is nothing that can be done about it.

Given the loss, OSU will now have to see where that leaves us for the Bowl picture. OSU is bowl eligible, but not guaranteed of a bowl. With or without a bowl, it's been quite an incredible turnaround from last season. One that only gives us a taste of what next season may bring. ORANGE ........ POWER.

In spite of all the hoopla and tailgating that surrounds Bedlam Football (a term that only applies to OSU - OU games in any sport), it all comes down to the fact, that it really is just a game. I was reminded of that the day before the game, as my previous post details having to put to sleep one of my cats. Life is precious, whether it's family of the human kind, or of the animal kingdom. Life is more important than sports. That doesn't mean don't enjoy sports for what they are, as I well do so. But, just keep it in perspective, and don't forget to smell the orange blossoms.