STILLWATER — Boone Pickens was a little down this week. Mitt Romney had lost the night before. Boone was glad to talk a little football.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have become a nice diversion for Boone. OSU football beats natural gas cars in reaching the national consciousness.
Dana Holgorsen is one reason why. The one-year wonder transformed OSU with his Air Raid offense that still sizzles today, even when the Cowboys have no idea who will quarterback it.
Saturday, Holgorsen brings his West Virginia Mountaineers into Boone's stadium, and despite theories to the contrary, Boone takes no credit for Holgorsen's drive-by season in Stillwater.
“I didn't know anything about him,” Boone said of Mike Gundy's 2010 offensive coordinator, hired away from Houston U. after a long stretch with Mike Leach at Texas Tech.
“Nothing. I knew a little bit about him after he got there. I didn't try to get any background. I was not included in that decision at all. Didn't have anything to do with that.”
But Boone learned quickly. Holgorsen was an offensive mastermind and Holgorsen had itchy feet to become a head coach.
“He was no question going to be a hit and run in Stillwater,” Boone said. “Wasn't going to be around there very long.”
Holgorsen went to West Virginia with the promise of being the next Mountaineer head coach. Promise kept. Holgorsen took over WVU before the 2011 season and coached the ‘Neers to an Orange Bowl victory.
“Doesn't surprise me,” Boone said. “He's a guy that can put an exciting team on the field. We know that. He taught us a lot of about offensive football.”
Boone was a big proponent of keeping the Big 12 together in its old form. When that didn't happen, Boone championed TCU's admission and wasn't crazy about the geographic ramifications of adding West Virginia.
But Boone loves the 10-team Big 12 format.
“That turned out like I wanted it to,” Boone said. “Ten teams, you get to play everybody. I don't like south north divisions.
“I really like the addition of TCU. I don't have any problem with West Virginia. It's fine with me. But I was enthusiastic about TCU.”
As for the OSU-West Virginia game, Boone is like the rest of us. Guessing on the quarterback.
Wes Lunt suffered an apparent concussion last week against Kansas State, and third-teamer Clint Chelf played well in relief. So who goes Saturday?
“Ol' Chelf, he was good the other night,” Boone said. “I kind of think Lunt will be the quarterback, but I never talk to Gundy.”
The Cowboys are 5-3 and virtually out of the Big 12 race they won a year ago. But Boone is not down about his ballteam.
“I'm happy with the way things have gone,” Boone said. “We've got, finally a little depth. Something you and I haven't seen for the last 20 years. We've got some people sitting on the bench that can play.”
And now Holgorsen returns, with a spiffy quarterback of his own in Geno Smith and a wildly-productive offense, though with a leaky defense.
“That game Saturday's not going to be a cinch,” Boone said. “West Virginia's going to come with a hell of an offense, great quarterback.
“Hope they play defense like they did the last game; 42-41 would be a good win. That guy's going to be hard to beat.”
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.