STILLWATER — After three Oklahoma State home games, time for head counts. Georgia: 53,012. Houston: 50,875. Rice: 51,803. Now comes Grambling State and, with a marketing push, the biggest crowd in Boone Pickens Stadium history expected. Time for everyone to admit, Mike Holder’s ticket policy is working. Refusing to sell single-game tickets to OSU’s marquee matchup in both 2008 (OU) and 2009 (Georgia) has greased the turnstiles. Despise the plan or not. Like the man or not. You can’t deny, the Cowboy athletic director has generated unparalleled interest in O-State football. A school that sold 32,000 season tickets as recently as 2006 has sold more than 45,000 in 2009. "I learned early in life, to create value in something, make it hard to get or take it away from someone,” Holder said. So Holder took something away: easy access to Bedlam (’08) or Georgia (’09, a game as anticipated as any in OSU history). Fans squawked and yelped and complained. Then bought season tickets in record numbers. "Good thing the athletic director isn’t an elected office,” Holder deadpanned. OSU president Burns Hargis said, "It was a creative idea. I like creative ideas, and it worked. "We tried to explain to people, everybody’s got to support this. It can’t just be Boone Pickens. "And the way to support it is to buy season tickets. We’ve got to sell out in season tickets.” That day is a long ways off. But it’s nearer than it’s ever been. You can’t instantly jump from crowds of 40,000 to 60,000. It takes time. OSU’s jump from 40,000 to north of 50,000 in a couple of seasons is remarkable. Yes, OSU got some help. A new stadium, courtesy of Pickens. An exciting team, courtesy of Mike Gundy. But the Cowboys have sold all these tickets in a down economy. "Really elite programs haven’t experienced dropoffs, but a lot of schools are down 10 percent or more,” Holder said. All of which means, Holder’s ticket policy is here to stay. Bedlam in odd-numbered years, Texas or somebody in even-numbered years. Stick with what works. "We’ll keep doing it until we don’t need it any more,” Holder said. When will that be? "We’ll know that when we’re sold out of season tickets,” Holder said. OSU will have to keep winning, of course, but creating demand and keeping customers happy could one day make for a season sellout at Boone Pickens Stadium. And when that day comes, another tip of the cap is due the man who is fortunate indeed that his office is not elected. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.