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OSU needs to keep a foothold in Texas

Berry Tramel: When conference realignment begins, Oklahoma State needs to be in line with a school from its best recruiting ground: Texas.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 27, 2011

Texas A&M's move to the Southeastern Conference has some warning the Aggies about the lessons of Arkansas.

The Razorbacks left the Southwest Conference in 1992. The most recent Sugar Bowl was the Arkies' first major bowl trip of their SEC era. They played in six major bowls their last 17 years in the SWC.

Clearly, the Hogs lost their Texas recruiting base.

But how could the same happen to the Aggies? A&M is in Texas. A&M won't lose its recruiting base. Whatever the Ags lose by fewer games in Texas should be offset by the lure of the SEC.

But the Razorbacks certainly do serve as a warning. To Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are the new Arkansas.

OSU is the school that goes into Texas to nab recruits, either with the occasional swipe from Sooners or Longhorns, or a battle royale with Aggies, or diamonds found among stones.

Since going to the SEC, Arkansas has produced three All-Americans from Texas. OSU has produced five All-Americans from Texas just since 2008. Perrish Cox, Kendall Hunter, Dez Bryant, Russell Okung and Quinn Sharp.

Thus the Cowboys must walk gingerly in conference realignment.

OSU's preference absolutely is preservation of the Big 12. Ties to Texas. Not the school. The state.

Whereas the Sooners recruit nationally and recruited famously south of the Red River long before they bonded with the Big 12, the Cowboys' Lone Star hauls have been Big 12-centric.

Heck, OSU probably would sign off on that Houston-to-the-Big 12 talk. Put the Cougars in the conference, and that's a regular game right in the Cowboys' wheelhouse.

Last summer, when the Big 12 nearly imploded, OSU stood seemingly motionless, believing its friends at OU and Texas would take care of the Cowboys. Which seemed to be the case. State was ready to go west until the Pac-16 plan crumbled at the midnight hour.

The Cowboys still have such friends — not just Oklahoma politics; Boone Pickens' attorney, Bobby Stillwell, is a University of Texas regent — but Big 12 sources say the Cowboys are more proactive this time amid the turbulence.

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by Berry Tramel
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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