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Oklahoma State football: OSU and the NCAA owe Barry Sanders five touchdowns

COMMENTARY — Barry Sanders' NCAA record for touchdowns in a season may be surpassed by a running back who scores fewer TDs. Don't blame Wisconsin's Montee Ball. Blame the NCAA and Sanders' own school — Oklahoma State.
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm •  Published: December 26, 2011

I mean, if Montee Ball's Rose Bowl stats count, shouldn't Archie Griffin's? If we're going to ignore ballgames, why are we counting September games against Eastern Kentucky but not January games against Southern Cal?

Of course, before we get too hard on the NCAA, you can't let Sanders' own school off the hook. Oklahoma State University itself doesn't even recognize Sanders' bowl totals.

Back in 2002, some schools decided to go back and count their bowl data in historical totals. For instance, overnight, Billy Sims replaced Joe Washington as the leading rusher in OU history. Little Joe, probably realizing he had 23 years of bonus glory, didn't complain.

But OSU chose not to reconfigure its records. That was a mistake. The Cowboys didn't have all their bowl data – the Sugar and Cotton bowls from the 1944 and 1945 are sketchy – but like I said, that's no reason to ignore what we do know.

And Kevin Klintworth, OSU's athletic media relations director, has begun the process of uncovering the bowl records. He has hopes of his staff updating all the records by this summer, and he's leaning toward counting the bowls in school records.

“The season is getting so long now, you're going to wipe out every record,” Klintworth said.

“The true measure for people in the future is per-game averages. As the season keeps getting lengthened, every single-season mark's going to get wiped out.”

Klintworth points out that Cowboy star Bob Fenimore played eight-game regular seasons in 1944 and 1945.

“Every record is going to be gone,” Klintworth said. “We always remember the stuff that gets wiped out in our lifetime, but we don't think about the stuff that gets wiped out before we were alive.”

Klintworth once worked at Northern Arizona, a Division I-AA school, so he knows how post-season games can skew the statistical record. Teams might play four playoff games in a season. His suggestion: no post-season games count.

But bowl games do count and have since 2002. The bowl games before 2002, which included some memorable matchups and some epic players and a certain five-touchdown game from Barry Sanders, should, too.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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