Emails in on Cotton Bowl & Texas-Alabama
The new emails are in, and lots of talk about the Cotton Bowl and the national championship game. Let’s get right to it.
Greg: “What do you think the chances are Gundy will try to hire Leach as offensive coordinator for at least a year? Do you think he should give up the reigns as head coach and coordinator? I do.”
I do think Gundy would be better served to have a true coordinator. Gunter Brewer has the title, but it’s Gundy’s offense. First, OSU lost Larry Fedora. Now it loses Zac Robinson, who frankly served as a de facto coordinator, a guy who knew the offense as well as the coaches. But I don’t think Leach is the answer. OSU’s and Texas Tech’s offenses and personnel are so different, and Leach wouldn’t be a long-timer anyway. I would be leery of hiring Leach as coordinator. I think he’ll be a head coach again soon.
Tony: “I don’t know what game you watched, but if the Rebels would have taken care of the ball in the first half, hit wide open receivers running for TDs, OSU would have never been in that game. They faced an SEC defense, the best D-line they faced all year, and that is why it took them 22 minutes to get a first down. The Rebels tried to give them the game but in the end the best team won. People around here just don’t understand how much better the SEC is than the Big 12. When Alabama beats Texas, your conference will be 0-3 against the big boys. Ask yourself why does Tennessee play Virginia Tech, Kentucky play Clemson, Arkansas play East Carolina? Because the real experts know there is a good chance a 3-5 SEC team can beat a 6-2 ACC or 9-1 C-USA team. Of course they only won one of those three games, but believe me, the SEC is laughing all the way to the bank!”
Let me follow this logic. The SEC’s bad record in lower bowls proves how good the conference is. Sort of like South Carolina losing to the Big East’s fifth-place team, or Auburn needing overtime to beat Northwestern? As for the Cotton Bowl, here’s the game I watched. The game in which OSU was tied 7-7 midway through the fourth quarter, and if the Cowboys had taken care of the ball, they would have won.
A different Tony: “I agree with your article with the exception of not putting in Weeden, I would have liked to have seen him throw. Zac was at his best when he could scramble, he looked like he was afraid to run and rightly so. Hunter was definitely our best hope; I couldn’t understand myself why he wasn’t used more. Who do we have coming back as an offensive line or are we starting fresh?”
The OSU O-line is mostly a rebuilding project. And Robinson was indeed hesitant to run. He was a shell of his former self. Still, I liked Robinson better than Weeden. I think Weeden would have been a sitting duck for the Ole Miss defense. Of course, if you knew Robinson was going to be so turnover-prone in the fourth quarter, you’d have used Alex Cate, much less Brandon Weeden.
Paul: “I have always heard a definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over and expect a different result. The question is simple. With all that speed in Kendall Hunter and to a lesser degree Zac
Robinson, why did OSU run its slowest back into a wall of 300-pound lineman three straight times? I cringe every time I hear Dave Hunzicker say ‘jumbo formation.’ Even with Julius Crosslin, who was a monster, it was difficult. I think Gundy is too stubborn or too cautious to call plays any more from the sidelines.
He seems terrified of making a mistake. I think the pressure of calling plays from the sidelines has turned the former gunslinger into a slave of the game plan. Maybe a new drop back style QB will steer him toward an offense he is comfortable with, and away from Fedora’s offense in which he is not comfortable.”
Well, I don’t like that jumbo, either. It gets the defense too congested. But I think that’s a bad rap on Gundy. I think he’s still got some daredevil in him. Heck, he had Keith Toston throw a touchdown pass. But Gundy just had no confidence in that offense. I just wish he had run Hunter more.
James: “Just drove back from the game. For Gundy to have four weeks to plan for that game against that team and come up with that hideous game plan is embarrassing. His playcalling is an abomination. Does he know that on a 3rd-and -1 situation it’s OK to get MORE than one yard? This isn’t the Price is Right where you’re penalized for going too far. To be more consistent with his second-rate offense, he should have punted on second down a couple of times. I want Leach. I don’t care who he puts in a closet. At least he’d have the guts to go for it on fourth and a foot. I’ve been a Cowboy fan for every one of my 39 years, but the last two games are enough to make me sick. No ass kicking in the ’80s was as bad as the last two games. Gundy’s recent effort reminds me of Les Miles last game against Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl. Either Gundy has quit or he’s simply not the guy for this multi-million dollar job.”
You know, this is actually kind of interesting. Good to see OSU fans sort of fall into the we’re-entitled-to-win thinking that afflicts a lot of OU fans. Gundy had a beat-up quarterback. His receivers are just so-so. His all-American tailback has been out but finally was back. He’s playing against a good defense that can get after a quarterback. And people want him to pull Robinson or throw the ball all over the place. And Gundy DID go for it on fourth down. There were some things I disagreed with. Not enough Hunter. Too much Jumbo. But the truth was, the Cowboys weren’t very good on offense by the end of 2009.
Greg from Florida: “OSU more than contributed to its own demise. Yes, Zac and crew stunk it up in the fourth quarter. But your column would not be complete without at least a mention of the worst officiating in history of college football, excepting of course, the OU-Oregon game of 2006 and OU-Texas ’84. But it stunk. The interception in the end zone with an Ole Miss defensive tackle about two yards past the line of scrimmage before the snap, was pretty top notch officiating. I really loved the beautiful 86 yard run where an Ole Miss offensive lineman executes the perfect block by pulling the OSU defender down at the corner by the facemask. OSU should have won this game with about six turnovers. As it is, all of us Big 12 types get to live in this SEC abyss hearing about how superior they are.”
That’s why the Big 12 needed a Texas victory.
Michael: “As an Ole Miss graduate, I always find it interesting to read the articles by our opponents’ journalists. I read your Cotton Bowl article and am a little confused. You credit OSU’s defense with forcing the Rebel turnovers, but you don’t seem to be willing to give Ole Miss any credit for forcing the turnovers made by OSU. Anyone watching that game knows the only reason OSU was in it late was that Ole Miss failed to take advantage of their first-half dominance. The Rebs were the better team. Period.”
As a journalist, I always find it interesting to read the emails from opponents who are so lacking in self-esteem that they feel unfulfilled unless people in other parts of the country wave palm branches. How’s this for some truth. OSU, while once a pretty good team, stunk down the stretch and stunk in the Cotton Bowl, and darn near won. Heck of a ballteam, they’ve got there in Mississippi.
Jim: “When are we going to learn that Gundy should not be calling the offense plays? Against a bigger, better defensive line, he continued to try to go to the middle of the line and never give Hunter a chance to circle the end or at least off tackle. After watching Texas Tech play the uptempo style once again and watching how much fun it is for the players and the fans, I wonder when Gundy will get the message. His style of quick play calling is really dull and slow. I agree that Zac has not been right since Gundy called that run play with two minutes left and Zac hurt his shoulder even more. Thank goodness the defense played exceptional or the score may have been a whole lot worse.”
I don’t think OSU went up the middle too much. I don’t think they went up the middle enough. More than the goal-line problems, OSU got too herky-jerky with the ball in the fourth quarter, when some simple runs would have been just dandy.
Cowboy: “Why is no one addressing who is to blame for this debacle of an offensive performance by OSU? The obvious answer is they were hindered by turnovers. The reality is for me and the 40,000 fans sitting next to me is to minimize the continuance of this by pulling Zac. Gundy needs to develop some intestinal fortitude and make the offensive changes when needed. Being a parent, I never believe in blaming kids (Zac), but I do believe that in accountability and that ends with Gundy. He was foolish enough to make himself offensive coordinator, thus there is no one below him to point fingers at and the blame lays solely on his shoulders.”
Did anyone watch Texas-Alabama? Did you see how the UT backup played? Eventually, Gilbert got going, but the game was virtually over by that time. Weeden was good against Colorado, but Colorado stinks. OSU’s best chance was with Robinson.
John: “When will someone write a story about the decline of OSU football since Larry Fedora’s departure? I’m a proud OSU grad (’92) and was there when Barry Sanders and Mike Gundy played. Unfortunately, if OSU expects to get to the next level, they need a legitimate head coach and offensive coordinator. Our defense did everything they could today (five turnovers) and still our O let them down. Ole’ Miss is not that good. This should be an embarrassment to everyone associated with OSU. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve wasted the last two years of Zac Robinson’s eligibility. Our offense has been less then average, at best, since Larry Fedora left. Mike Gundy is not an offensive coordinator. Hopefully, Mr. Pickens means what he says about not planting small trees, because without a legitimate head coach and coordinator, OSU won’t reach its potential.”
OSU went 7-6, 7-6 the last two years of Fedora. Since he left, OSU has gone 9-4, 9-4. OSU’s offense was great until this year. The Cowboys scored 41 points on OU last season and 31 on Oregon. Heck, played Texas off its feet, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal on eight possessions. I liked Fedora. I thinkt the Cowboys miss him. But there has been no decline in OSU football since his departure.
Lisa, a self-proclaimed annoyed OU fan: “Will you kindly remind the giddy Sooner fans that it’s not really in OU’s best interest to have its intrastate rival and the second-place conference team humiliated on national television?”
Consider it done.
John: “Archie Randall stated in your paper several weeks ago that one of the things he disliked in sports was bad officiating that determined the outcome of a competition. I thought I would see that happen twice today, both to OSU. However, the Cowboys played so poorly in the last quarter of the Cotton Bowl that I can’t claim the horrible officiating actually determined the outcome. Poor calling did stop two drives for the Cowboys within 30 yards of the end zone late in the game. Momentum is everything. Ole Miss regained it and moved on to win. The Cowboy basketball team was robbed of its win by the worst lopsided foul calling I have seen this year. I saw an OSU player foul out for being near a Rhode Island player who simply fell down. No one within a foot of touching him. All you have to do with the Cotton Bowl is watch the replay. Horrible officiating for a game of such prominence. If a player screws up, he is penalized or suspended from play. If a coach screws up, he is fined or kicked out of the game. So many consequences for the participants in the game and nothing for poor officiating. Tell me why no one is pressuring to hold officials accountable? They cost a team a game and nothing happens. Why aren’t they fined or disqualified when they screw up? I seldom watch college basketball because of the officiating. I’m a diehard Sooner fan, so OSU sports is not my forte’. But I hate to see any team do their best in competition to have a shitty official take it away. Something should be done. This is why more and more people are hoping that Congress gets involved in NCAA activities. They have become dictators and have given God-like status to officials.”
The world would be a lot better place if we sent refs to officiate Congress instead of the other way around.
Dan: “In conference games, officials have oversight from the conference such as the Big 12, but in bowl games when the officials are from a neutral conference, who answers for (the really bad) officiating blunders? In the Cotton Bowl, the entire stadium saw a defensive tackle jump offsides and make contact with the center and guard. The QB did the correct thing and threw the ball deep due to the offsides which wasn’t called. I know that that is not reviewable and I’m not all up in arms about it, but unlike a conference game when a coach can send the tape to the conference headquarters, what happens in a bowl game when officiating snafus occur?”
I think the same thing. I assume conferences send their best crews to bowl games. If they don’t, we’re all screwed anyway. But conferences that send crews to bowl games don’t want problems. They want sharp games. I think the leagues still monitor their officials.
Jim: “Here is a list of adjectives you can and should use to describe OSU: inept, incompetent, stupid, inert, powerless, apathetic, impassive phlegmatic, stolid, dead, inanimate, lifeless, unfit, infecund, unprolific, unraveled, immature, fumbleitis, 11 turnovers; appalling, horrendous horrific, ineffective, inattentive, careless, distraught, heedless, thoughtless, undiscerning, unmindful, unthinking, sluggish, and last but not least, be sure and state that the ghost of Bedlam was looming in their minds. OSU embarrassed this state.”
No they didn’t. I wonder if people realize what fools they look like when writing stuff like this. OSU lost the Cotton Bowl 21-7. It wasn’t 143-0. It was 21-7. It was a sloppy ballgame, but a competitive ballgame. OSU’s defense played superb and the Cowboys had a chance to win. The whole thing makes me wonder why some people are sports fans. If you can’t stand it, why bother?
Lonnie: “Oklahoma State University football deserves better offensive coaching. The defense can read Gundy’s play calling like reading a book. Why did OSU give up on their running game? Zac Robinson may have set OSU football records, but he was not a winner. I feel sorry for the defense, they played an outstanding game. The offense lost the game when they could not score from the 1-yard line with two attempts. Poor play calling on Gundy’s part. I think OSU deserves better than what Gundy has produced. In football OSU will never achieve the status that OU has achieved. T. Boone Pickens’ money has improved OSU’s facilities, but OSU will never recruit top notch players in football needed to establish a real winning football program. They may recruit one ever so often. This year Gundy provided OSU fans false hope for the future. The loss of the Cotton Bowl will hurt OSU football recruiting for 2011.”
Uh, I’m a little confused. Was it bad play-calling or lack of top-notch players? If OSU lost the game when it did not score from the 1-yard line, why did Ole Miss not lose the game when it failed to score from the 1-yard line?
William, a general malcontent, wrote about both bowl games: “Kudos to OU’s coaches and players. On the flip side, Gundy’s loyalty to a one-time good quarterback doomed his team. Like Adam James, Zac is entitled. Gundy put one guy ahead of the team and disappointed 40,000 OSU fans at the game and millions others who watched. Giving Hunter the ball nine times. I said earlier, and you disagreed, that Stoops would not win another Big 12 championship. With Texas and Nebraska in the picture, and KSU coming on, I still believe that is true. I will add another prediction: OSU will never win the Big 12 South. Gundy is no Les Miles. I know Boone Pickens. He won’t put up with such incompetence forever. Gundy sucks. A true consolation for OU is that they have a new quarterback who can do the job.”
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