If Oklahoma State Can’t Navigate a Clear Path in Weak Big 12 This Season, When Will They Ever Do It?

Only 16 FBS teams won more games than Oklahoma State (129) over the last 15 full seasons, the first of which was Mike Gundy’s first season as Cowboys’ head coach. Only one of those 16 schools has been a full-time Big 12 member over that time (Oklahoma), and only one other Big 12 team is anywhere near Oklahoma State’s win total (Texas, 129).

Oklahoma State isn’t an annual national championship contender, nor should they expect to be, and they aren’t one of the 10 best programs in the country, nor should they expect to be. However, in living just below the latter group, life has been pretty good for a program that did practically nothing until the 1980s and was nationally and regionally irrelevant as recently as the 1990s. They’re headed toward a 15th straight season with at least seven wins, won a conference title last decade, and was one of only 10 FBS teams to win at least 78 games from 2010-17.

That’s not a bad place to live…most years.

That’s not a bad place to live when Oklahoma is fielding one of the four best teams in the country, or when the Big 12 has multiple playoff contenders. It’s not a bad place to live when the conference is littered with nine-win teams and six or seven top-25 teams.

Oklahoma is not fielding one of the four best teams in the country this season, nor is another Big 12 team contending for the College Football Playoff. The conference is not littered with nine-win teams (if they were playing a 12-game schedule), nor does the conference have six or seven top-25 teams. That’s not good for Oklahoma State, who returned loads of talent and, with mediocrity sweeping the conference, had a clear path to at least the top seed in the Big 12 Championship, which in most years means you’re one win away from the playoff.

by Andrew Doughty

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