AMES, Iowa — Remember the furor of spring 2007, when OSU's marketing department momentarily sent out that “world's great offense” promotion?
Turns out, OSU was spot on. Just four years early.
The second-ranked Cowboys, on the verge of history, play at Iowa State on Friday night. And the world's greatest offense has OSU one away from a national semifinal.
Beat the Cyclones, and the school of Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton reaches the football version of the Final Four: a Dec. 3 Bedlam showdown, with a Big Bowl berth on the line.
OSU's defense has its moments, and the Cowboy kicking game is often sublime. But make no mistake, State is in view of the summit because of Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and their band of end-zone assaulters.
World's greatest offense? How about school's greatest offense?
This OSU offense is so good, it has surpassed the 1988 Cowboys, both in wonder numbers and the endorsement of the most relevant man to both units.
Mike Gundy picks 2011, which he head coaches, over 1988, which he quarterbacked.
“The difference is, if I had to give an edge, this group now, because we can score fast,” Gundy said. “What I've been most impressed with, when they can get out there and get going, they can score fast.”
Gundy conceded that a pitch to Barry Sanders could produce an instant touchdown, but those Cowboys also often ground it out, and Gundy's passing largely was one-dimensional. Throw it to Hart Lee Dykes, who accounted for 47 percent of OSU's receptions that season (84 of 179).
Weeden throws to Blackmon all day long, but he also spreads it around. Blackmon has just 27.9 percent of OSU's catches (93 of 333).
Despite Gundy's endorsement, I'd probably favor the '88 OSU offense. The ‘88 Cowboys averaged 48.7 points a game, which for that era is even more impressive than the 2011 average of 51.7.
But the point is not to pick. The point is to praise. The Cowboys have been building toward this kind of production for years.
Some eager web designer, just barely on the job in 2007, sent out an Internet promotion selling “the world's greatest offense.” His boss, Kyle Wray, then director of university marketing and now an OSU vice president, saw it an hour or so after posting and was mortified.
Wray, who knows his 16th chapter of Proverbs — pride goeth before destruction — had the proclamation removed, but you can't unring the bell. To Wray's credit, he took the bullet for youthful brazen.
And what goes around comes around. The world's greatest offense indeed has landed in Stillwater, too late for 2007 embarrassment, but just in time for the Cowboys to take a crack at history.
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 AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.