The Bedlam loss will linger with the Cowboys for a long while. Maybe forever.
A game that could have given OSU its second Big 12 title in three years – Mack Brown won two Big 12 titles in 16 seasons at Texas – instead went OU’s way, with two touchdowns in the final 20 seconds giving the Sooners a 33-24 victory.
Tough to come back from that disappointment. Tough to get ready for a bowl game, even a quality matchup like Missouri in the Cotton.
And to Mike Gundy’s credit, he didn’t shortchange the disappointment.
When the Cowboys returned to practice a week after Bedlam, they were down, Gundy said.
“But they were better on Tuesday,” Gundy said. “For four or five days, they were in a jar. Then the first practice we had was real average. We made ‘em aware of it. They kind of regrouped.
“When things don’t go as you want to, time is the best healing process available. They were very disappointed they didn’t win the game, and it showed. But from the practice we had on Tuesday, it’s been much better. They understand they’re getting ready to play a really good football team.
“We talk all the time about preparation. I feel like they’ve made that transition over the last couple of days.”
Bowl games often are determined by who wants to be there. The truth is, a Cotton Bowl against Missouri is as high-profile as a Fiesta Bowl against Central Florida.
But that Bedlam dismay won’t be easy to cast off.
“This season has been unique,” Gundy said. He was referring to the West Virginia debacle, when the Cowboys lost 30-21 to a team it had no business losing to.
“They’ve rallied as a group,” Gundy said. “They came together, the leaders of the team, and made a decision to rally, come together as a group and find a way to get better.”
Gundy says that to a certain extent, coaches can’t control the attitude of their teams. That’s up to the players.
“This group has been impressive over the last few years,” Gundy said. “Parker Graham said it, others have said it, we don’t have a couple of first-round picks, and a couple of thirds, and fourth round pick. They’ve come together as a group.
“That’s what we remember most about this team.”
This much is true. The Bedlam bitterness can be made much more bearable with a victory in the Cotton Bowl.