STILLWATER – Oklahoma State's surge toward national title contention offers no news flash to Art Briles.
The Baylor coach, whose Bears were blistered 59-24 by OSU Saturday, said he's seen it coming.
“They've certainly been good the last three years,” Briles said. “They didn't just all of a sudden get good. They've been a top 10 team the last three years, no doubt.”
Top 10, perhaps, although the final polls haven't necessarily reflected it.
And these Cowboys aim even higher, and currently reside in a more exclusive neighborhood than they're accustomed, holding the No. 3 spot in the BCS Standings.
“They've done nothing to make anybody feel like they're not deserving of their ranking,” Briles said.
Baylor players, at least the veteran Bears who have been around long enough to come face-to-face with past BCS bunches like Texas and Oklahoma and TCU, were hesitant to heap too much praise on the Cowboys. Despite Saturday's blowout, which saw them down 42-0 just 1:50 into the third quarter, the Bears pointed more fingers at themselves than OSU, due to their five turnovers.
“This is a good team. I thought we helped them out a lot today,” said Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway.
Said Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III: “It's not that they're not a great team. They came out and did what they had to do. (We) can't be in goal-line situations — I think four times — and not get any points.”
But that's where the Cowboys sucker teams, surrendering yards, but preventing points with their takeaway defense.
“If they keep getting those, they'll keep winning,” Briles said.
And they do keep getting them. The Pokes have now claimed 26 turnovers over the past six games, having entered Saturday ranked second nationally in takeaways.
Baylor finished with 105 plays and 622 yards. The Bears also had the five turnovers and only a flurry of fourth-quarter points.
“I don't care about the yardage,” writer Stewart Mandel of SI.com tweeted during the game. “Oklahoma St. makes plays on defense. Much like last year's Oregon team.”
Finally, folks may be catching on about these Cowboys and their turnovers.
Nobody bothers finding flaws with the OSU offense, which has scored no fewer than 37 points in a game this season.
The warts are seen, at least perceived, on the Cowboys defense.
Yet the Bears brought the nation's No. 2-ranked offense into Boone Pickens Stadium and couldn't find the end zone until a large chunk of fans were inhaling cheese fries at Joe's. RG3, hailed for his efficiency most of this season, was picked and popped and likely saw his Heisman candidacy halted.
“They play hard,” said Griffin III. “You can't take that away from them. Today, there were some times, it's not like there was a big hit, the ball just squirted out. I guess you could say it's fortune, good luck. But they're the No. 3 team in the nation, so obviously luck's been on their side all year.
“They do have great players.”
And the Cowboys are 8-0 for just the second time in school history and for the first time since 1945.
“I've seen some good teams,” said Bears senior linebacker Elliot Coffey, “that right there is a very solid team. Hats off to them.”