STILLWATER — The scene at Boone Pickens Stadium before Oklahoma State's Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma on Saturday night will mirror many pregame ceremonies that take place around college football this time of year.
The OSU seniors will be introduced individually as they run out of the tunnel. They will hug their families and coaches. The fans will show their thanks with loud cheers.
But this group of 16 seniors should be remembered differently. These Cowboys, the most successful class in school history, will go down as the group that spearheaded the rise of the OSU football program.
A four-year record of 39-11, with two more victories still possible. Four bowl games. A program-best 11 wins in 2010. And a historic 2011 season that could be capped with the school's first Big 12 title and BCS bowl berth with a victory over OU.
“That's pretty special in itself,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said.
Yes, Boone Pickens' lofty donation gave OSU the facilities it desperately needed. Yes, Gundy and his staff have built a program that has attracted and developed talent. But players ultimately win games and drive the success of a football program, and these Cowboys have delivered.
Brandon Weeden is the school's most prolific passer (8,644 yards, 72 touchdowns), an undisputed leader and the face and voice of the program.
Josh Cooper, always overshadowed by superstar receiver Justin Blackmon, will finish his career ranked in the top 5 in OSU history in catches and has an NFL future.