â€œI wanted to go somewhere I could make a difference,â€ said State safety Markelle Martin. â€œIf I could beat Texas, it would be one of the great feelings in the world.â€
I've been writing for years that for the Big 12 to prosper, someone needed to challenge the Sooners and Longhorns. That someone needed to be Nebraska, and now that the Cornhuskers â€” titleless since the 1900s â€” are poised to do just that, off they're headed for the Big Ten.
Time for Missouri, we said. Where are you, A&M?
But into the void suddenly steps OSU. If the Cowboys win the Big 12, or at least knock off the OU/UT cartel, the league has a new look. It won't be King Kong, Godzilla and eight maids a milking.
â€œIt'd be huge, for recruiting and everything that goes into it,â€ said OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden. â€œObviously, Texas and Oklahoma have been staples. But we've liked our chances all along.â€
That's good solid optimism. That's how teams do stuff their predecessors never did. Belief.
But Holder, an athlete, coach or administrator at OSU since the 1960s, knows his history. He knows what an achievement it would be to win the South, to win the league, to sweep OU and Texas.
â€œI put all kinds of scenarios in my mind on how many games we can win,â€ Holder said. â€œBut games are a lot easier to win in the summertime.â€
Not so fast on that thinking. Not this transformational season, when Texas is gasping and OU looks vulnerable and Gundy's guys seem poised to proclaim their piece of the new-look Big 12.