STILLWATER — Here's one more reason to loathe the SEC: Mississippi State is to blame for eight long months of questions about Oklahoma State's starting quarterback.
If the Cowboys were opening against a lesser foe from a lesser conference, we'd have avoided all of this. If the Cowboys were opening against, say, Savannah State, Mike Gundy would've already named a starter.
“Very well could have,” he admitted Saturday during the Cowboys' media day. “I would say there's probably a pretty good chance.”
No need to be all secretive with a lower division opponent.
But with Mississippi State?
I don't blame Gundy for not naming a starting quarterback.
Has the whole thing gotten goofy?
Yep, especially since we know it's going to be Clint Chelf.
But this game against Mississippi State is a must win. The reasons are many. Championship aspirations. National perceptions. Conference pride.
“I don't think there's any question,” Gundy said, “the Mississippi State game is a big game.”
Take every advantage you can get.
Now, granted, the whole cloak-and-dagger act has become comical, starting back during spring practice when three guys — Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt — were supposedly battling for the job. On April 3, Gundy proclaimed Chelf the guy.
“Chelf is our starter,” he said.
Doesn't get much more definitive than that.
“He takes all the reps with the (first team) right now,” Gundy continued. “(Walsh and Lunt) compete out there, but I don't necessarily feel like there's a battle out there to start in the first game.”
But then on April 17, he insisted he never said that.
“We haven't necessarily said anything about the first game of the season,” he said.
That would be true except for the part where he said he didn't feel like there was a battle out there to start in the first game because Chelf had won the job.
A quick note: the Chelf-is-our-starter quote is on the official OSU athletics website. OKState.com. “Oklahoma State Football Report, April 3.”
Then came the spring game when Gundy muzzled himself, saying that he wasn't going to talk about quarterbacks. Not anymore that day. Not this offseason. Not until after the opener.
Except that a couple minutes later, unsolicited, he started talking about the quarterbacks.