I have enjoyed every step of Oklahoma State's rise from being a football doormat following a devastating NCAA probation period and rehabilitation to becoming a resident of the top 25 college football programs in America. Not a member of a Top 25 poll, but a recognized football power.
I appreciate all the contributions of that climb from the coaches and players to Boone Pickens' monster contributions and smaller but significant gifts from so many donors to the OSU administration, including athletic director Mike Holder. I appreciate the Cowboy fans, longtime and newcomers, that have crossed the 50,000 season ticket threshold just last year. I love those fans making Boone Pickens Stadium a rowdy companion to the once rowdiest arena in the country. The Paddle People are great!
However, on Saturday against Iowa State, in a season where your team needs you even more as they work to get steady in the face of a lot of new and young players being counted on, some of those fans and a vast number of students let the team and the program down.
I'm not chastising anybody for not reaching in their pocket and buying tickets. I'm talking to the people that had tickets that were already paid for. I'm criticizing students and fans alike for not getting their butts out of bed or just get going and go to the stadium on an absolutely beautiful day to enjoy what was some really good action and another Big 12 win.
Those wins should never be taken for granted as they are all hard earned. The players and coaches worked all week and they were ready for action. The Paddle People were doing their usual fine work of making noise and delivering the desired environment and many fans were there as well. However, there was a huge portion of the student section in the northwest corner and large pockets on the north side of the stadium that were empty. Use your tickets or give them to somebody that will.
The players and coaches noticed. Yes, they talk about it. There were also two recruiting prospects on official visits, an offensive lineman from California and one of the top high school defensive tackles in the country. I'm sure Oklahoma State fans want Mike Gundy and his staff to bring in these kind of top prospects but empty seats don't impress recruits.
Other fans have voiced the same opinion, and I am about to write my usual Sunday analysis of the team's performance and some of it will be critical. However, my most critical review of Saturday is to those fans that no showed. The game book and stats tells me that 52,608 tickets were out for that game, but my eyes tell me less than close to 40,000 were actually there. That's a big number of you that let the team down. Don't do it anymore.
I know the 11 a.m. kickoff is a hassle. I know it means getting up way early for those that travel. I also know if you aren't going to travel then there are people that would use your tickets.
Before I get the complaints of "we had a family emergency" or "our kids had games." I understand those. On the kids had games excuse, you had time to give the tickets away. A family emergency is a family emergency and family comes first. I went to my kids' games and that takes precedence over OSU. But I refuse to believe that over 12,000 or more fans had emergencies or their kids had games. The students wouldn't likely fit in those categories, and as I mentioned I think they were the bigger problem on Saturday.
For those that did just simply let the team down, don't complain on message boards or radio when you feel the team didn't measure up. In my opinion, Oklahoma State had a lot of students and fans that didn't measure up on Saturday, or to be more accurate didn't get up.