Oklahoma State football: The perfect system arrives, but three years too late

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF — OSU would have benefited from a four-team playoff in 2011.
by John Helsley Published: August 21, 2014

— Brandon Weeden still ponders how close his Cowboys came to playing for the national championship.

“All the time,” said Weeden, now three years removed from Oklahoma State’s 2011 bid, yet still contemplative, even while focused on his career in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.

“I still think about it.”

OSU was thisclose to being in the big game, falling .009 shy of the No. 2 spot in the final BCS Standings, leaving Alabama and LSU to face off instead in an all-SEC showdown that was a rematch from the regular season. The Cowboys felt they belonged on college football’s grand stage that year — and still do.

Now, space in the ultimate spotlight expands, with arrival of the simply, yet aptly, named College Football Playoff, a four-team bracket that begins with two national semifinals.

For the Cowboys, it’s three years late.

“There should have been a better answer, a better format,” Weeden said. “I think this system will give a chance for the two best teams to play for the championship. The two most deserving teams.”

Mike Gundy campaigned for his Cowboys in 2011, suggesting an entertaining matchup and a clash of wills: the Big 12’s best offense vs. the SEC’s defensive reputation.

“We certainly would have liked to have been in it,” said the Cowboys’ coach. “It would have been interesting.”

Gundy proved, too, to be ahead of his time, pushing the need for a four-team playoff.

“That year, and before this came to be, I mentioned that there should be a four-team playoff,” he said. “And it’s kind of funny it came out that way. There’s always debate over (Nos.) 2 and 3, so you could throw 4 in there and play it off.

“I think it’ll be really good for college football.”

Three years ago, it could have really been good for OSU football.

The exposure alone would have been priceless.

It’s more than logical to believe that the program and the university would have gained a significant bump in popularity. And in turn, a boost in recruiting.

And the Cowboys were close to gaining all of that.

After LSU beat Bama late in the season, OSU moved up to No. 2 in the BCS Standings, having improved to 9-0 with a wild win over Kansas State. Another win, over West Virginia, kept the Cowboys at No. 2 another week, with three weeks remaining.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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