Sunday Rewind: Here Comes Baylor, Gameday

Oklahoma State moved to No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches poll and to No. 11 in the Associated Press rankings when released on Sunday. Baylor is No. 3 in the AP poll after moving past Ohio State. But none of that really matters because Saturday night in Stillwater one program will be rising while the other is falling in the nationally televised Big 12 showdown at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Oklahoma State officially release announcing Sunday the decision that along with the game being an ABC national telecast, ESPN's College Football Gameday will be headquartering this weekend in Stillwater.

It is the first time in five visits that ESPN hasn't been followed to town by Oklahoma for Bedlam. That was the subject of the first question on Sunday for Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy from Jimmie Tramel of the Tulsa World.

"The parity that I have mentioned over the last few years, not only in this league but throughout the country, is growing and continues to increase and it's going to stay that way from this point on," Gundy answered of what people would think a decade ago if they knew the Big 12 would come down to OSU and Baylor playing for the title.

"You are going to see teams that wouldn't be as tradition-rich as other teams that have a chance to play for their conference championship," Gundy continued. "You look at, last night I was looking, you have Oregon and I think Arizona State that are leading the Pac-12 or whatever that league is called and you would see the same thing, right? You wouldn't anticipate that.

"And if you look, with the exception of Ohio State, you are seeing teams in the Big Ten that... you wouldn't think would be there at times. You are seeing them show up. I think you are seeing all across the country in college football that different teams have a chance to win the conference and then it can change again two or three years later.

"I think it's really just based on the stability of the programs, teams that have stability. You've got the best chance of having success over a 10-year period, teams that don't have a lot of stability and change coaches and things like that, it makes it difficult to ever get that stability back."

By the way, two locations we have heard be surveyed for Gameday on the OSU campus are the area adjacent to the Sherman Smith Training Center (indoor practice facility) facing Boone Pickens Stadium and the Edmon Low Library lawn, where the show last set up in 2010.

Speaking of good locations, Gundy when asked by Tramel, said location is a main reason Baylor has made its rise in the Big 12 and college football overall.

"They are in a good location. I'm going to guess within a four-hour drive, a four-hour circumference of that school, there are probably 100 or 150 Division I offers (annual prospects)," Gundy explained.

"So their location is good and coach (Art) Briles has come in and done a nice job with their players, and their administration has brought in and every year he has shown a little bit of progress and they have backed him from the start. A little more progress and a little more progress and they hit on a couple of players and their talent level now on offense obviously is excellent and defensively they continue to get more and more players each year. They move around on defense like everybody else does in this league this season." Speaking again of Gameday, Gundy was asked by Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman what's the value of having the popular ESPN show on campus.

"It's the biggest show on the weekend, and I don't know how many viewers they have now, but if somebody could put a marketing value on what that means to this university, for our logo and their Gameday set," Gundy said.

"They start setting up on Tuesday and they come in and show things on Thursday and then obviously all day Saturday and the game is Saturday night. It means a lot for our university. Players have worked hard and played well the last five or six weeks. The results are there and it should be a lot of fun for everybody."

Gundy was asked by Tramel when he didn't just think but when did he know he had a good defense this season?

"Once you get into the season five or six games and they continue to play well and they are consistent, you can have a good offense or a good defense and they will have games where they don't play as well as you would want them to or they would want to, but when you go through a season and you have been consistent five or six games, you kind of realize you've got a chance to be pretty good," Gundy answered. "They have been really consistent all year."

Just as we wrote in our column earlier today with some random thoughts left over from the win over Texas, Gundy agrees that the early second half field goal by freshman kicker Ben Grogan, who has had his struggles, may have really cemented some confidence.

"I think he's playing with more confidence. He has practiced well," Gundy said of the highly touted freshman kicker. "That was the best field goal that he had hit all year. He hit that ball really well. The rotation was good. I think it was a 39-yarder or something like that. I am not sure. It could have been good from another 10 yards.

"And it was an important kick at that time. They had gone down the field and kicked a field goal and so we were able to come back and match their field goal, which really eliminated their score and at that point there was like seven minutes to go in the third quarter, so we were halfway through the third quarter and it eliminated their points so it was a big kick."

Gundy is eager to talk about guys that embrace playing on the coverage and return units, and he mentioned backup cornerback Ashton Lampkin, who was named the team's special teams player of the week for his play against Texas.

"The first thing is they really have to want to do it, and he is skilled, he is fast, (and) he is elusive," Gundy said of Lampkin. "He had three tackles on kickoffs and had the big tackle on the punt early when they fumbled.

"He has really committed himself to being a terrific special teams player and it just comes down to them wanting to do it, that it's important to them. We've got a number of guys. We are the best we have ever been on special teams because of the commitment that the guys have in all the phases -- the blocking and the coverage skills. It has really helped our football team kind of get through the middle part of the season when we weren't as productive on offense."

And finally, Gundy was asked that if Josh Stewart doesn't play at all or can't play on punt returns, then who will return punts. David Glidden had a problem catching them at Texas and Charlie Moore is not a real threat to return a punt very far.

"I'm not sure right now," Gundy answered. "We won't know that until later in the week."

They may not know if they will even need somebody until later in the week. Stewart seems confident that he will be on the field Saturday, but there are still six days until kickoff.

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