Bedlam, Not Bowl, Is Gundy's Focus

Oklahoma State's blown opportunity at Texas Tech Saturday coupled with the Kansas upset of rival Kansas State created an urgency for the Cowboys in the Big 12 bowl picture. This week a Kansas win over Missouri coupled with a loss by the Cowboys in Saturday's Bedlam game could leave a bowl-eligible Oklahoma State squad on the outside looking in.

In fact, Dave Hunziker, my broadcast partner on the Cowboy Radio Network, did his homework and a lot of unpredictable events would have to happen to open up an outside bowl bid for a ninth Big 12 bowl qualifier with a 6-6 record. If the Cowboys beat Oklahoma then the Missouri-Kansas outcome doesn't matter. If Missouri wins, obviously Oklahoma State is in.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was asked about the bowl situation and he was taking the right approach.

"All I'm worried about is playing OU," said Gundy. "I haven't even thought about bowls yet."

Now I am not buying into that statement entirely. I'm pretty sure that Gundy is aware of the situation but spending time thinking about it does no good for Gundy, his staff or his players. The Cowboys have their fate in their own hands.

"I think our players will come back and practice hard and prepare for OU like they have each week this season," said Gundy, who will likely be very boring this week in staying away from Bedlam bravado. "I know they see this as a big football game, and that's no problem. I think it is always that way. I know the people of the state enjoy this game. Coaches and players approach it like any other game, but there is the added emotion in that our players are familiar with the players on the other team. I don't think it effects a coach as much as it does players with the Bedlam series."

If you want to cut through that coach speak, Gundy has been a part of this series as a player, assistant coach and head coach. His brother, Cale, is on the other side. He grew up in this state following both programs. The truth is Gundy's competitiveness will be stirring and possibly boiling all week, but it will just be himself and those closest to him that will experience that side. Like the bowl situation, letting those feelings bubble over would be counter productive to preparing and being ready to win the game.

Gundy also gets it - if you worry, get uptight, and stew over this game then you let Bedlam work against you and your football team. It has happened to both schools in the past. For years, it was a reason OSU struggled. Both Jimmy Johnson and Pat Jones would go crazy during Bedlam weeks. They treated it different, and it impacted preparation and their team's attitude. More recently there have been signs that has happened on the other side with negative results.

As for the Cowboys bouncing back, it has been a strange season with the Cowboys in the Big 12 following a distinct pattern of loss, win, loss, win, loss, win, and now loss with one game to go. The pattern would call for a win on Saturday but patterns, unless they are pass patterns, don't win football games. Oklahoma State will have to complete the pattern with its effort and abilities on the field.

As for the loss to Tech and the post mortem on it.v"It isn't any different than any other game," Gundy said in the cause and effect categories from the 30-24 loss to the Red Raiders. "Nothing different than what I told you yesterday. Early in the game we played well and then in the middle of the game we went to sleep. On defense we blew a couple of coverages and they made a couple of good catches. On special teams we got beat with speed. On a couple of returns we were taking an angle to block back inside and on one we had two guys guilty of block in the back. We dropped the ball on one, but (Perrish) Cox also returned one (taken back for block in the back penalty)."

Gundy gave credit to linebacker Jeremy Nethon for a bold play he made early in the game when he went downfield to cover a punt after his helmet was knocked off and ended up forcing a fumble. "He was a big part of the two goal-line stands too," Gundy said of Nethon.

Gundy also said that quarterback Bobby Reid played OK and that his play was probably impacted by some of the drops in the passing game.

"He made one bad throw on that interception the guy turned back," Gundy said of the fourth quarter interception by Tech's Darcel McBath. "Other than that he threw and ran OK."

When asked what upset him the most about the Texas Tech game, Gundy replied, "Not winning."

If the Cowboys don't regroup as they normally have and close out the regular season with a win at home on Saturday, he'll likely have the same opinion of the Bedlam game.

GoPokes Top Stories