Boone Pickens continued his tradition of meeting with the press just before kickoff of Oklahoma State football’s season opener. Pickens chatted Saturday about an hour before the OSU-Mississippi State game in Houston. Among his thoughts: he will be disappointed if the Cowboys don’t win the Big 12 and reach at least 10 wins.
What are your expectations for the year?
Pickens: “Pretty high. It seems like everybody else likes us, too. So I’ll go off that. But I think we’ll have a good season.”
What are your expectations year to year?
Pickens: “That’s a memory question. I’m always optimistic. But when we had Dez back there and got kind of, I thought, a bad call out of the NCAA deal. I had high expectations then. Brandon Weeden and Justin and Kendall, all of them. I’m trying to answer the question and I’m having trouble remembering how I felt. But I think I always feel pretty good about our team. I think we’ve got a pretty good team this year.”
What are your thoughts on the Johnny Manziel decision?
Pickens: “I didn’t understand it. I don’t know how you can penalize a guy half a game. I guess you could do a quarter, maybe sit out one and three and play one and four. I don’t know. It all is just a little bit strange to me.”
Do you like neutral-site games?
Pickens: “You know why I like them? We need the money and we get paid good for this game and next year, the FloridaState game will be a big game for us. You’ve got to run it like a business. I don’t want to play all my games at a neutral site, but it doesn’t bother me. You ought to be ready to play wherever you’re going to play somebody. They’ve got to play on the same field you do.”
Do you like playing teams from power conferences?
Pickens: “I do like them. SavannahState is not much of a game. Kind of a waste of time. iw ant to play somebody. You can’t play SEC three times. I understand that … but you can play them every once in a while.”
Were you worried that Mike Gundy actually leave for Tennessee or Arkansas?
Pickens: “I didn’t understand flirting with other jobs. He had a new contract. I don’t even think he was serious about the flirting. Had a good contract, a new home. He’s from Oklahoma, coaching Oklahoma State, went to Oklahoma State, he’s from Oklahoma. Family is. Three boys, all doing well in school. I didn’t get it. I thought he wasted his time. I didn’t think he was serious.”
Are you happy with your investment?
Pickens: “I’m happy with the progress. I think I got my money’s worth. There’s no question, they take it serious now. It’s a different deal now. Barry Switzer and I were talking about this three or four years ago. He said, it’s changed, and it’ll never change back. You guys are going to be competitive. Barry and I are good friends. I thought, we saw it the same way. The program’s changed. Look what’s happened. We’ve got as good as the best facilities. Our indoor deal. I couldn’t believe that Saturday Wall Street Journal article when they said everything shut down the Athletic Village. Gosh almighty, the guy didn’t even go to Stillwater. He didn’t even look at it. We were moving ahead on everything. That indoor facility, that’s real. Ol’ Rick Cooper built that. OSU guy. He also did those doors on it. May not meaning anything to you, but those doors are very, very ingenious, what he came up with. Open that thing up, it’s outdoors. Close it up. It can happen in just a few minutes, too. So yeah, I’m happy with the results. I didn’t like last year. 7-5 is not what I’m looking for. But had a good year the year before. We were close on a couple of games . I didn’t want OU and Texas beating us, like they did last year.”
Are you more proud of the victories or the changed perception?
Pickens: “You’re going to come down, you know, what the sport is, you’re going to have to win, if .you’re going to get to the big time. Perception, I think we’re perceived as a school, when you play OklahomaState, you know you’re going to have a football game. It isn’t the old deal, where we win one out of 10 if it was that good, with OU. Those are behind us. We’re not going to see those anymore. We’ll do a lot better than that.”
Do you have a quarterback preference?
Pickens: “I think it’s a high-class problem. You’ve got two good quarterbacks. I didn’t like Lunt leaving. I thought we might be able to save him. But we didn’t. We’ve got two good quarterbacks this year. I don’t care which one of ‘em wins out. I‘m not pulling for either one of ‘em, I’m pulling for both of ‘em, is kind of where I am.”
Any predictions on wins this season?
Pickens: “I think if you had some luck, you might sweep it. But I would be disappointed if we didn’t win 10 games.”
Do you expect to win the Big 12?
Pickens: “I know we’re picked to win it, and I expect to win it. Yeah, if we don’t win it, I’ll be disappointed. Of course.”