It's Not A Year For Style Points

Even though several of the Cowboys wins haven't been the most impressive, Oklahoma State is still among the nation's undefeated teams

"Six and oh, six and oh, six and oh," was the chant the Oklahoma State players were chanting as Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy entered the visitors' locker room at Milan Puskar Stadium to address his unbeaten football team. Now, as to how they have made their way to unbeaten and 6-0 is not necessarily a piece of beauty, as the Cowboys have had some good defensive halves, some so-so defensive halves, and some superlative defensive halves in earning the reputation of being a strong defensive team. 

They have thrown for over 260 yards in every game, but sophomore starting quarterback Mason Rudolph has been good overall while having some rough spots, which is to be expected. The receiver corps has been good and is deep but is lacking that all-conference or All-American kind of guy. Quarterback J.W. Walsh has been outstanding in his role as a short-yardage and score-zone specialist. The biggest issue offensively has been with the offensive line and the running backs as the run game cannot get going, but the pass protection has been solid. 

The scores have been closer than expected with Saturday's 33-26 overtime victory at West Virginia, a 36-34 win over Kansas State, the 30-27 victory at Texas, and even a 24-13 win in the opener at Central Michigan.

Some fans have been worried, disappointed, and even frustrated so far as the Cowboys have earned few style points. You know those kind of dominant wins that will cause polls and analytics folks to drum your name out there for the College Football Playoffs and even the New Year's Day six bowl games.

My contention and that of the head coach is that style points aren't carrying a lot of weight this season. Gundy told his team he was proud of them and that they had earned their unbeaten record and they needed to stay the course, take care of their bodies, take care of each other, continue watching opponent video, continue to listen to their coaches, and the strength and conditioning and medical staffs. This week would be important as far as not letting down, but to rest and prepare for the second half of the season.

So who is Oklahoma State going to be compared to? The other OSU is Ohio State and they are unbeaten at 6-0 but have had close calls with the likes of Northern Illinois. The Buckeyes didn't exactly light up the world with their 49-28 win at home over Maryland on Saturday. TCU is unbeaten and the Horned Frogs had to scramble with Kansas State 52-45 on Saturday. Michigan State is spotless but that nearly ended on Saturday at the hands of Rutgers, and remember Purdue nearly upset Sparty earlier this season.

Then besides the near losses, there are the train wrecks like OU losing to Texas in the Cotton Bowl and Red River Rivalry. Alabama lost to Ole Miss, and then Ole Miss lost to Florida. 

"Those kind of games are happening everywhere," Gundy said. "People don't realize how close teams are to each other and that each week it is hard to win football games, especially on the road. These guys had Maryland here and they hammered them. West Virginia is really good defensively and they have always been that way. I came up here when I was at Maryland and they were that way then. They beat Maryland like 45-6 and then over at the horseshoe Ohio State can only beat Maryland 49-28."

Just remember, the object is to keep winning. If you do that no matter how or by how much the rest will take care of itself. I promise the only ones complaining will be the ones that don't get it. Most of those will be the ones that didn't keep winning or the ones that root for the ones that didn't keep winning.

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