STILLWATER — Imagine Pistol Pete, pistols firing, roaming the sidelines during the 2010 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
A simple dream.
It’s a dream that becomes a genuine possibility with a win on Halloween in what might be the biggest home game in the history of Oklahoma State football.
The No. 14-ranked Cowboys host No. 3 Texas on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium with visions of becoming the favorite to win the Big 12 South. OSU can transform itself from an emerging program to a legitimate BCS bowl contender.
"It’s probably one of the bigger games I’ve played in my career,” OSU senior running back Keith Toston said. "Because of who they are, the history with them and because of everything that is on the table.”
The Cowboys’ program has accomplished a lot in Mike Gundy’s first 41/2 years as head coach: numerous bowl games, a top-five ranking and eye-popping offensive numbers.
But a win against Oklahoma or Texas has proved elusive. And without it, the program has not been viewed as a legitimate contender in the Big 12 South.
That could change on Saturday.
Before the season, many analysts pondered if this was the year it would
change. The Pokes seemingly answered that question with a resounding "Yes!” after a 24-10 win over SEC power Georgia in the season opener. Dez Bryant graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Pokes jumped from No. 9 to No. 5 in the AP poll.
Then came the loss to Houston and the subsequent tumble to No. 16.
Gone was all the momentum and national attention of being a No. 5 team as well as the notion the Pokes could be BCS title contenders.
"It was a reality check,” tight end Cooper Bassett said. "We beat Georgia, and we were on cloud nine, then we go to ground zero after the Houston game.”
Since then, OSU has reeled off five straight wins, including Big 12 victories against Texas A&M, Missouri and Baylor.