Originally scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m., the contest was delayed three hours by severe weather that included heavy rain and lightning at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
The game started at 12:16 a.m. Sunday and concluded at 3:35. The No. 7-ranked Cowboys posted a 59-33 victory over the Golden Hurricane.
"My suggestion was once it got to 11:30 or so was to not play the football game and I didn't think it was good, but obviously we went ahead and played it so I'm going to say it wasn't my call," Gundy said Monday morning during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "Somebody else above me made those decisions. There was communication going on, but I think ultimately it became Tulsa's call because it was their home game. Nobody came to me and said, 'Do you want to play this game?' 'No, I don't.' 'OK, we're going home.' So obviously somebody else was able to make a stronger impression than I was."
Gundy said there were many challenges to overcome.
"I had concerns about our players being out there at that time," Gundy said. "College kids stay up late and all that, but they don't exert energy and try to play a football game from 1 to 4 in the morning, so you don't know. I don't think anybody's been in that situation before.
"Once we got into an hour and half or two hours (delay), if they would have decided to not play the game, I was OK with that. I wasn't excited about our players being out there at 2 and 3 in the morning playing a football game. I was concerned about their health. I don't know how players compete at 2 or 3 in the morning, and I certainly didn't want a young man to get an injury and not be able to play the rest of the year because he's out there at 2 or 3 in the morning. I had concerns with it, yes."
Gundy said he knew there would be challenges when the original late starting time was set so the game could be shown to a larger television audience on the Fox Sports Network.
"I said after the game it's not really anybody's fault, but at some point do we really want to start a game at 9 o'clock and be put in that situation?" Gundy said. "The rain was coming anyway, but when you start at 7, you're in the third quarter anyway when all that happens. I just don't think it's best for the student-athlete.
"Maybe I'm a little bit too outspoken, but our APRs (Academic Progress Rates) are going up, our required number of hours to pass by semester is going up and everything's moving toward education. Then we're going to start games at 9 o'clock? I'm not sure all that ties together. So whoever's making these decisions need to think things through before we put ourselves in those difficult situations."
Asked if he was fatigued, Gundy said, "I think everybody was fatigued. I know I was fatigued. About 11 o'clock, I was fatigued. I knew going into the game that I was going to be tired in the second half because my biological clock is not made that way. I get up early and I go to bed earlier than most people. Sometimes I can stay up until 10:30 or something if I'm trying to watch a game.
"I knew that going in, but there wasn't any reason to talk about it because somebody made a decision that we were playing at 9 o'clock and so I certainly don't want to affect our team in any way, form or fashion by commenting on when the game starts. As a coach you say, 'Look they told us we play at 9, we play at 9,' but when it gets to 1 in the morning and 2 in the morning … I know I was kind of like a zombie. The players were doing better than I was because they're used to staying up a little later. I don't know that they're used to playing football at 3 in the morning. In fact, I know they're not. There were some people who were just kind of like zombies."
Now ranked No. 6 in the USA Today coaches' poll, the Cowboys play at No. 8 Texas A&M on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Gundy's responses to other questions during the teleconference:
What similarities or differences do you see in last year's Texas A&M team?
"Oh, I think they're playing with more confidence, in my opinion. They're a well-rounded team. They move the ball. They're throwing it good. They're able to rush the football. Defensively, they're giving up 10 points and 275 yards, which is kind of unheard of nowadays, so they're playing good defense and they're kicking game is sounds. There's no question they deserve to be ranked in the top 10 in the country. It'll be a great challenge for us."
Do you envision a high-scoring game?
"I'm sure we both feel the same way. You never know how these games are played out. There are times when people have talked about two offenses that have gone up and down the field and it's going to be a high-scoring game, and it ends up being 17-14. It's really hard to predict what will happen. We certainly have to play better defense this week than we did last week. I know they've performed well on defense in the last six or eight games they've played through last year. I think you'll see more of a normal football game. I'm not so sure that you'll see a shootout."
Assess your defense so far this year.
"We had really good numbers and they had tackled well other than when we played a couple days ago. We did not tackle as well as we had in the two games to start the year and I wasn't happy with the way we came off the football and played up front in the last game. I was not happy with the way we played at Tulsa, but the first two games we played pretty well on defense."
Why the struggles against Tulsa?
"I wish I had the answer. We just played kind of soft. We just didn't really keep them from moving the ball up front. They just kind of pushed us back a little bit and guys didn't really fit correctly and they weren't in the right gaps. Everything that happened there's an answer for. There's a way to correct it. They just didn't play with as much enthusiasm as they should have. At one point we were ahead 45-6 and we had a couple letdowns from that point on. Maybe they relaxed a little bit. I don't know, but as a coaching staff we have to find a way to keep that from happening."
What makes the Texas A&M offense so difficult to stop?
"They rush the ball and the quarterback's playing well, he's throwing it around and completing his passes. They're sound and they're going to move fast. They're mature. They're staff's been there three years, maybe longer than that, so they're kind of set in what they want to do, and they have good players. They've got running backs that can make plays. They've got two or three receivers who are getting five or six catches a game and the quarterback (Ryan Tennehill) is playing good."
Did the players know that co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer had left to be with his ailing wife, who died early Sunday?
"They knew, because we told them. We have a policy with our football team that we're up front with everything that happens, so I told them that he left and that his wife was in a difficult situation. They know she has been a heart patient. It affected me. I have a lot of respect for their family and what they've gone through. We've been drawn close together because of her being a heart patient and having a heart transplant. I wasn't in the best of moods or as focused as I should have been, sitting in a locker room for three hours and knowing that Glenn was hurrying home as fast as he could to be with his family in a difficult situation. When we lost her in the first quarter, it affected me. Other than being out there with the players and playing a game, it wasn't the best of evenings for me."
Thoughts on winning what might be the last Big 12 championship.
"Our goal is to win a championship, and we haven't done that yet. We've probably been as close as anybody could be to not getting to that point. Really, whether it would be this year or the last year, I think it would be the same for your team because that's a goal that they have. We're playing in a league right now that's got three of the top 10 teams in the country. … Our goal is to win a conference championship, so it would feel good for the coaches and the players, either way."