When the first wave of realignment impacted the Big 12 and its 2011 scheduling, it sounded hallelujahs in Stillwater, where the Cowboys would host Oklahoma for a second straight season.
That game, shifted to Dec. 3 and looking every bit like a Big 12 championship tilt, holds great promise for Oklahoma State. Any edge against the high-powered Sooners, who have the Pokes' number of late, is welcome.
But the shifting schedule delivered reasons to groan as well, including a back-to-back trek into Texas Longhorn territory, where OSU has won but once since World War II.
The good news: that one win came just last season, when the Cowboys were the superior team in a 33-16 romp in Austin.
More good news: Texas remains in reeling mode, regardless of a No. 11 ranking just last week, having been slammed back to reality by the Sooners with Saturday's 55-17 beat down on the Cotton Bowl floor.
What once looked like a worrisome road trip just days ago, now doesn't conjure the same consternation.
UT's early schedule was fool's gold, leading to an unwarranted rise in the rankings. A soft start, yes, for a solid opening in what was billed as a rebound season, but instead still looks like a frustrating rebuild in Austin.
And it isn't pretty, with shuffling quarterbacks and young cornerbacks who were exposed by the Sooners.
Check out what's being written about the Longhorns post-OU:
From columnist Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman: “Never has swagger turned to stagger as quickly.”
From Tim McMahon of ESPN.com: “Texas' spirit might be hard to break, but the perception that the Texas pass defense might be prepared for elite competition burst like a bubble at the Cotton Bowl.”
Dick Weiss, New York Daily News: “The Longhorns gave the illusion they were improved this year, storming out to a 4-0 start and soundly defeating two teams that defeated Texas last year during an uncharacteristic 5-7 season. But it became quickly obvious that (quarterbacks Case) McCoy and (David) Ash weren't ready for this upgrade in competition. Not even the much talked about Longhorn Network could sugarcoat the carnage.”
For the Cowboys, games against Texas once routinely resulted in torment. But these Cowboys aren't attached to the OSU meltdowns of the early 2000s. Instead, they recall near misses in 2007 and '08, and of course last year's breakthrough in Austin, just a piece of a growth pattern that has the Cowboys – not the Longhorns – rivaling the Sooners.
Bright Orange trumps burnt orange these days.
While fans with longer memories might squirm over tangles with Texas, there's no such fretting in the Cowboys locker room.
“The Texas Longhorns are our opponent,” said OSU defensive end Richetti Jones. “And we're going to treat them accordingly. That's what it is.”
Another trip to Austin?
The Cowboys' last visit was fun.
“We're going to go back there and have a lot of fun again,” said Cowboys receiver Hubert Anyiam. “We're going to go back there and get another W and we're going to come back here and enjoy it.”