By John Helsley
I was wrong. There, I said it.
Picked OSU to win. Put it in the paper. Said so on the airwaves.
Wrongo. Way wrongo, in fact.
And it started with Zac Robinson. If Robinson played, I thought, heck, we all thought, the Cowboys stood a strong chance of winning. I’d have even said they were the favorite to win, because the OSU defense was going to dominate OU’s maligned and makeshift offensive front (wrong again on that).
Turns out, Zac’s playing may have been a curse. I know Zac and Mike Gundy and everyone went along with the thought that the quarterback was healthy enough to play Saturday, but he didn’t look it. While he’s never going to be confused with John Elway, not one of Robinson’s passes was thrown with zip. They floated, with and against the wind.
Of course, Zac deserved to play, 100 percent or not. He’s as important as anyone in OSU’s rise in the Big 12. He belonged on the Bedlam stage, with a chance to lead this group of seniors past the Sooners for the first time.
Yet, that came with a cost. The game plan had to be simplified to account for Zac’s limitations. Not that all the offense’s struggles fall on the quarterback. The receivers allowed OU’s defensive backs to intimidate them with rough play. And they played soft because of it. And the running game struggled to get started, with the O-line losing the battle with Gerald McCoy and Co.
At less than 100 percent, Zac couldn’t be the game-changer the Cowboys needed. College football is a QB-dominated world. In the big games, QB’s must stand up and stand out.
Zac wasn’t able. Neither were the Cowboys.
Not the football Cowboys. But out in Las Vegas, the basketball Cowboys are offering an appealing transition.
Romping to the tournament title at the Las Vegas Invitational, OSU improved to 6-0. The trip to Sin City featured nice wins over Bradley and Utah.
It’s time to start considering the Cowboys for a spot in the Top 25. And it’s time to think of James Anderson as a factor in the Big 12 Player of the Year race.
Anderson’s been that good.
The Cowboys have been quite good, too, and yet, they haven’t begun to tap their upside.
Next up is a tough trip across the state to take on 5-1 Tulsa on Wednesday in the first true road game for the Cowboys.
Basketball crowds have been light in the early going. Understandable, considering the competition and the fact that football season still had much to offer.
With a break before the Cotton Bowl, it’s time to get on board for basketball.
Consider it a cure for the Bedlam Blues.