PFB - Mike Gundy on OU’s Recent Stranglehold on the Big 12: ‘Somebody’s Got to Take It From Them’

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Feb 17, 2018
Sitting at a podium inside AT&T Stadium, Mike Gundy poked fun at his tormentor.

Gundy was asked a complicated, and somewhat deprecating, question about why it was that Oklahoma has owned the Big 12 in recent history.

“The last couple of years they’ve had average quarterback play and they’ve overcome it,” Gundy said with a hint of a grin.

Of the five coaches who appeared on stage Monday, he was the only one asked any form of that question. Of course Kansas’ Les Miles and Texas Tech’s Matt Wells can’t claim any blame in the matter, but Gary Patterson has spent enough time coming up short against OU. Since joining the Big 12 TCU is 1-7 against the Sooners, even losing them in the one year it shared a part of the Big 12 crown. The subject wasn’t broached with Patterson.

Perhaps it’s because, for a good chunk of its run of four-straight conference titles, Gundy’s team has been the closest thing to standing in the Sooners’ way of complete league dominance — he’s going on five years since his last Bedlam win. Perhaps it’s because he is the front man for the other state school. Perhaps he’s just low-hanging fruit.

It’s a complicated question because in 14 years as his alma mater’s most successful head coach, Gundy has only come out on the right side of Bedlam twice, even if several of those games were down to the wire.

But Gundy looked anything but bothered by the question, exuding the panache we’ve grown accustomed to from the veteran head coach at this time of year. Maybe humor is his preferred method of coping with the ugly truth.

Lincoln Riley turned two transfers into back-to-back Heisman trophy winners, back-to-back No. 1 overall picks and has three Big 12 titles in three years to show for it. Now that QB whisperer has Jalen Hurts, the most sought-after journeyman passer in this budding age of the NCAA portal.

“They’ve been very successful and somebody’s got to take it from them,” Gundy said. “That question came up a few years ago about Alabama and the SEC and my response was, and somebody from another league needs to beat ’em and take it from them, and I think it’s the same in dealing with Oklahoma.”

That’s easier said than done. Recruiting has only ramped up since Riley took the reins in Norman while further south at Texas Tom Herman continues to accumulate talent around entrenched started Sam Ehlinger. Following his own 7-6 finish, the question may not be whether Gundy’s team can contend with Oklahoma, but if it can stay relevant in the league.

Gundy’s demeanor was jovial but not passive. He had a determined confidence when addressing his team’s issues in 2018 repeating the buzzwords “discipline” and “toughness” while placing the brunt of the blame on himself.

The margins in college football are razor thin — especially at a place like Oklahoma State — and you can’t afford to shoot yourself in the foot. But for the Cowboys to return to conference contention, much less have a chance to upset the champs, they will need elite quarterback play.

Despite not tipping his hand on the QB front, Gundy seemed positive about his process.

“We have not been in the transfer business at the quarterback position,” said Gundy. “Our quarterbacks have been developed in our organization over a number of years. That’s been our history for a long, long time.”

Last year at Media Days, Gundy named Taylor Cornelius as his starter and then rode him all the way to the finish. Now entering August, he hasn’t publicly given the edge to either candidate. Is that an indictment on either player or is Gundy just playing his cards close to his vest? Let’s hope it’s the latter if Gundy wants to wrestle the Big 12 out of Lincoln Riley’s hands.

The post Mike Gundy on OU’s Recent Stranglehold on the Big 12: ‘Somebody’s Got to Take It From Them’ appeared first on Pistols Firing.

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