STILLWATER — Excitement with a tinge of unease.
It's the general feeling of Oklahoma State fans with the Cowboys sitting atop the Big 12 South standings in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. While the Cowboys have been hovering around the top of the Big 12 South in recent seasons, seeing the Pokes with sole possession of the Big 12 South lead is unique.
"I don't think there is an OSU fan out there that isn't fully energized about the potential this team has now," said Cowboy fan Mike Perez of Tulsa.
The Oklahoman polled 30 Cowboy fans via e-mail, and the excitement about Mike Gundy's squad is reaching unique heights.
"I guess I'm the 'typical' OSU fan," said Tristan Brown of Valliant. "Every season I say, 'This is the year we've been waiting for.' So my mood is still the same, OSU just hasn't made me look a fool this season!"
With OSU losing several starters, many expected a rebuilding year for the Cowboys.
"Being able to have success during what was supposed to be a 'rebuilding year' shows that we have taken that step to the next," said Greg Young of Midwest City.
Despite all the excitement surrounding the first-place Cowboys, apprehension remains. Traditional Big 12 power Texas looms on Saturday, and several OSU fans are hesitant to assume the Cowboys will defeat the Longhorns despite Texas' 4-5 record. Visions of second-half collapses and Longhorn comebacks remain fresh in everyone's mind regarding a series Texas leads 22-2 including 12 straight wins.
"Being a lifelong Cowboy fan and having gone to school there, I don't want to let myself get too excited yet, " said Greg Young of Midwest City."They should beat them, but I am definitely not getting my hopes too high at this point."
Said Perez: "I'd be lying if I said that the sticker on the side of the helmet didn't make me a bit nervous. I feel like Texas is a sleeping giant and I really hope K-State didn't wake them up with a splash of cold water to the face last weekend."
Cowboy fans can't help but worry the Longhorns will finally put it together against OSU and play like the squad that was picked in the top 5 nationally in the preseason.
"Texas is still Texas," said Mac McCrory of Oklahoma City. "I feel better about the game than I've felt in years. But, a quarter like the ones against Nebraska, Troy, or Tulsa and we could be dead meat."
Said Hiram Sasser of Plano, Texas: "I guarantee there are not 85 recruiting busts on that team. They can beat OSU or any team in the Big 12 South on any given Saturday."
Unease aside, the excitement surrounding the Cowboys' program is as high as it has been in recent years with OSU closing in on a potential Big 12 Championship game berth.
"I hate it that Texas and Oklahoma are having a down year," said Dustin Brown of Midwest City."Idon't want anything to be taken away from OSU when we beat them. I don't want anyone to say, 'Well, they were just given the Big 12 title.'"