Chaos rules the stock market. The economy’s in freefall. Boone Pickens’ hedge fund has lost a billion dollars. Even a tycoon needs a little boost every once in a while. Pickens has found his.
"I look forward to the weekends, when the markets close and I’m headed to Stillwater,” Pickens said. T. Boone has been awfully good to Oklahoma State football. But who knew Oklahoma State football could return the favor? The high-riding Cowboys, 7-0 and ranked seventh in the AP poll, have justified the more than $200 million investment by their benefactor. Pickens gave his alma mater a boatload of money to get competitive in football, and darned if OSU hasn’t done just that, even faster than Pickens could have dreamed. Nine days ago in Columbia, Mo., Pickens walked into the victorious OSU locker room, after a 28-23 upset of then-No. 3-ranked Missouri, and celebrated one of the monumental victories in school history. Pickens led the chant that concludes the post-game huddle — "1-2-3 Big 12 champs!” — and considers his financial gift repaid in full. He told OSU athletic director Mike Holder, "Now I’m getting my money’s worth.” "Pretty good stuff,” Pickens said of that locker-room atmosphere. "I really like that. The guys were very happy.” Now comes an even bigger game. OSU plays at top-ranked Texas on Saturday, and while most Cowboy fans circle Bedlam as their big game of the year, not necessarily so for a certain fan who offices in Dallas and for decades has wrestled in boardrooms and oilfields with UT fatcats. "The two biggest games for me are the OU game and the Texas game,” said Pickens. "I’d like to beat both of ‘em. That’d be a real thrill for me.” Pickens is a prime reason why OSU is smack dab in the middle of college football’s game of the week. New stadiums are hard to come by.