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Could Oklahoma State be the next Auburn or Oregon?

by Berry Tramel Modified: January 10, 2011 at 7:02 am •  Published: January 9, 2011

Over the last 10 years, when talking about how far Oklahoma State football could climb, Auburn and Oregon have been two of the most-mentioned schools as guideposts for the Cowboys.

Yep. The two schools playing Monday night for the national championship.

Auburn, because it has carved out a successful program playing in the shadow of mighty Alabama. Oregon, because the Ducks had meager success for much of their history but used the generosity of a mega-booster (Phil Knight) to build superb facilities that immediately upgraded the football program's status.

So can Oklahoma State look forward to one day playing for a national championship?

It won't be easy. The Cowboys still seek their first Big 12 title. And the current two-team playoff system doesn't favor an up-and-comer.

Consider this. OSU finished 11-2 in 2010; had the Cowboys reversed the results of those two losses, 51-41 to Nebraska and 47-41 to Oklahoma, and won the Big 12 title to go 13-0, OSU still wouldn't have cracked the BCS top two.

But clearly, outsiders like the Cowboys have more of a chance than in the past.

“I think it's become more accessible,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “Schools between 15 and 40 have narrowed the gap on the so-called top 10.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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