Cowboys Fans Shouldn't Get Upset

Honestly, I would prefer that the nation ignore that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is back to his "bigger than life" persona and that he is exuding all kinds of confidence courtesy of his football team. Somebody wrap Stillwater up so nobody from the outside can see that Mason Rudolph is bigger, stronger and smoother than when he was engineering upsets in Bedlam and in the Cactus Bowl.

Please hide that the defense is experienced, faster than in several seasons, and the new coaches have jumped in and fit the program like a glove and gained the confidence of their players. Stop it all, so that the outside world of college football won't be overzealous in preparing for appointed dates with Oklahoma State.

Okay, so Phil Steele in his annual prediction of how the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll will shake out has the Cowboys not even a close miss and the rival Sooners as the third team in from the Big 12 at number 22. Heck, TCU is at number 2 and the Baylor Bears are sitting there at number 4. However, it is the Sooners that has Cowboys fans rankled.

Before you go accusing Phil Steele of being a Sooner sympathizer that collects strands of Bob Stoops hair and keeps it on his mantle, Steele has it right as the AP poll is full of national voters that may not be zoned in on the Big 12. The Cowboys late season exploits may have escaped them a tad, maybe they were blinded by the first ever CFP.

Either way votes for teams beyond the top 12 or so will be reserved for those national brands that are up there every season, or most seasons. Those votes go to the teams that voters look at as window dressing, but good window dressing.

On my radio show today I spoke to an AP voter, albeit one that is clued in, OSU graduate and ESPN flagship college football news breaker Brett McMurphy. He agreed with me (and with Steele) that those spots in the preseason top 25 are cheaper real estate in the preseason.

"I vote in the AP poll and I've done it for a number of years and I'm pretty sure that most voters don't watch every game of every team. Phil Steele does watch tape of every team, I'm pretty sure," McMurphy said kind of but not really jesting.

"A lot of it is researching the different teams and a lot of people look at how many returning starters are coming back. The more success you have the more these writers and broadcasters know about you. I guarantee they know more about TCU than they did several years ago and I know they know more about Baylor than they used too.

"When Oklahoma State made that run in 2011 a lot more people were in tune with what happened in Stillwater. People love these predictions but they usually aren't right or not completely right. That is what makes college football so great."

This all may be blown by the time AP voters actually send in their preseason ballots because Gundy's enthusiasm is catching. Between the Big 12 media days, the ESPN car wash this summer, plus a summer full of positive stories cranked out at then the secret may be out. The Cowboys are going to be good.

"I've been in Florida and I've ben reading about his change of mindset and it kind of reminds me of the year when Oklahoma State won the Big 12. I don't know if you remember this," McMurphy started. "I was covering the Texas game in Austin and I think you were in there doing a post-game interview. The way he was then is almost kind of how he is now. I know a lot has been speculated about what was going on between him and Boone.

"I have Oklahoma State picked third in the Big 12. It's going to be interesting and I have noticed the change in Gundy from afar."

Brett is alert and he stays pretty clued in to the Big 12, but many nationals won't and that is why you shouldn't get mad at Phil Steele. I agree and would almost prefer for the Cowboys to come out of the clouds at the start of the 2015 college football season. However, I'm afraid if Mike Gundy stays so positive that more people will figure this out before the first kickoff of the season in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

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