Analysis: OSU more dangerous than record indicates
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Monday, October 08, 2012
10/08/12 at 4:44 AM
Related Story: OSU Notebook: Seven yards and a cloud of dust
Flashback: Oklahoma State was pitted against Ohio State in the 2004 Alamo Bowl. The Buckeyes were "only" 7-4 during the regular season and they seemed mortal enough.
After the matchup was announced, the Cowboy coaching staff began watching tape of Ohio State's games.
"And we are like, that's not going to be as fun as we thought," said Mike Gundy, who made a raspberry sound effect when recalling the NFL-bound players he saw on film.
OSU - Oklahoma State University - in 2012 could be what OSU - Ohio State University - was in 2004.
Look only at results and the Cowboys seem ordinary. They're 2-2. They've been unranked since a 21-point loss at Arizona in the second week of the season.
But the reality is OSU is dangerous enough to cause migraines for opponents.
When "enemy" coaches view Cowboy game films, they'll see a team that leads the nation in scoring, total offense and third-down conversion percentage, never mind that quarterbacking chores have been shared by a first-year freshman and a redshirt freshman.
They'll see a team that was a fourth-down stop away from beating Texas.
They'll see - here comes baseball terminology - a tough out.
"That's what happens in college football," Gundy said.
"Sometimes you play teams that their record may not always indicate who they are. The truth of the matter is this: We are just one play away from being ranked in the top 20. But we didn't make that play. We are not in the top 20. And if you (don't make the play), you don't deserve to be."
With two resting opportunities (alias open dates) behind them, the Cowboys will begin an eight-games-in-eight-weeks closing stretch with a Big 12 road opener Saturday at Kansas.
Will any future opponent think it will be a barrel of fun to face unranked OSU? Don't bet on it. The Cowboys are more brutish than you think. Texas coach Mack Brown called this the most physical OSU team he has faced. When talking about first-year defensive line starters James Castleman and Calvin Barnett, Gundy said, "They may be, before the year is over, as good as we have had in there."
And, of course, the Cowboys - who have scored 30 or more points in 22 consecutive games - are difficult to outscore or outgain. They average 57 1/2 yards more per game than the second-best offense (Baylor) in college football.
But Todd Monken reminded reporters that statistics and numbers often exist just to make you feel better.
Continuing on that theme, the OSU offensive coordinator said, "Sometimes all those stats just allow you to say 'hey, it's not me. I'm not the reason (we lost). We're not the reason. If everything was as good as we are ...'
"That's a bunch a crap. That's a loser's mentality of looking at things. The bottom line is how we played last game and what could we have done better. What calls could I have made better? There are probably 10 calls in there I wish I had back, so that's what I have to look at and our players have to look at it the same way. The moment you look at it any other way, it will bite you in the butt."
So, it's back to the only numbers that count.
"I think we are a really good football team," Monken said. "But unfortunately we are 2-2."
2:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: 2-2 record belies OSU threat level
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389