It's Oklahoma State week here on Frogs O' War, which means that we've had our usual thorough preview from Purple Wimple and learned a bit of football history as well. In a break from the usual weekly question exchange with one member of the opposing team, we reached out to two blogs representing the defending Big 12 champions- partly because I enjoy talking to Cowboy fans, but mostly because of all the teams in the Big 12 this season I have the least idea of how this season will play out for Oklahoma State. Fortunately Kyle Porter, the prolific owner of the excellent Oklahoma State Blog Pistols Firing was kind enough to answer my questions, so make the jump as we get acquainted with the champs.
HawkeyedFrog: Oklahoma State was the story of the 2011 football season no matter how much the SEC wants to beat its chest in self-congratulatory bliss that its second best team was deemed the best in the nation for some reason. The Cowboys bounced back from the championship game snub to win their first BCS game, how has the Cowboy fanbase taken the highs and lows of last season and do you think that expectations are permanently raised as a result of last season- and is that a good or bad thing?
Kyle: Expectations ARE permanently raised after last season. I think fans got over the title game snub pretty quickly because, let's be honest, for us to play (and win) a BCS game against a team like Stanford, that's the high water mark in our football program history. Do we expect to win the Big 12 every year now? I hope not, I don't anyway. But do we absolutely expect to be in the top third annually and make a run at a title every two or three years. Yep, that's what a season like last year will do for you.
HawkeyedFrog: The keystone of Oklahoma State's offense, Brandon Weeden graduated last year, taking with him all of his knowledge of the Dana Holgorsen offense that he tried to teach to new coordinator Todd Monken. Is Oklahoma State still going to be doing the Holgorsen Air Raid this year, or do you expect Monken to put more of his own personal stamp on the offense this season?
Kyle: No they'll still run the air raid. Gundy has kind of settled on it as his system and they've started recruiting towards it. When they were recruiting guys like J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf (the backups) I think they were still uncertain about whether they wanted to run Urban's spread option system (because Zac Robinson was so good at it) or the air raid or a pro style or whatever. They were just adapting to whatever talent they could recruit. With the recent success though they can go out and say "we want you, these are the numbers you're going to put up, come on." And people come.
HawkeyedFrog: While we're on the subject of coaches, Mike Gundy has gotten a lot of recognition and praise in coaching circles that the outsider fan wouldn't have thought possible from a man who was previously best known for being a man who was forty. Where would you put him on the current Big 12 coaching totem pole and how long do you expect him to remain in Stillwater?
Kyle: He has to be in the top three I would think. I'm biased but I'd go Stoops first, then Gundy. I'd listen to arguments about putting Mack or Snyder ahead of him but just in terms of which coach I'd rather have, I'd say Gundy because he's younger and he's done more at a younger age than either of those two. Holgorsen is great too (I have a soft spot for skullets) but he's only two years deep into his head coaching career. You can also toss Briles in there but I'm going to need to see it sans Griffin for a few years.
HawkeyedFrog: Oklahoma State was safe throughout the conference realignment season last year, held as a definite traveling partner with Oklahoma. Somehow the Big 12 survived, despite losing another two teams who had history with Oklahoma State. What do you think of the current Big 12 lineup and do you think the Big 12 should expand back to 12 (or more)?
Kyle: I love the lineup. I LOVE having West Virginia though I would have loved just adding them and TCU and also keeping A&M and Mizzou. I think it's terrible that A&M and Mizzou are leaving because...well...who do we bet against now?! All seriousness though, I wish the Big 8 was still in existence (I also really enjoyed the original Big 12) so of course I don't want to see things change up but I guess those schools gotta do what they gotta do. I don't think we expand again in the next five years but if we do can I make a Washington State request? You know, for obvious reasons.
HawkeyedFrog: TCU and Oklahoma State have played twenty two games total in their history, but none since 1993 when both teams were quite awful. As a result we don't know nearly as much about Oklahoma State as we do about the rest of the former Big 12 South. What interesting facts/trivia should a TCU fan know about Oklahoma State?
Kyle: We have more wide receivers arrested per capita than the rest of the states south of the Mason-Dixon line combined! Kidding...kind of. You should know that OSU has the most NCAA titles of any school outside the state of California. (Ed.: Thirty Four wrestling titles will certainly help with that)
HawkeyedFrog: Finally we come to the prediction portion. TCU and Oklahoma State play in week eight, so we'll have a much better idea of what to expect of the two teams then, but as of now what do you think Oklahoma State's record will be this season and what's your pick for the TCU game?
Kyle: I've been saying 9-3 for OSU this year though 8-4 or 10-2 wouldn't surprise me a ton. I think TCU is one of OSU's toughest games but I'll take the Pokes by 10 at home.
HawkeyedFrog: The first opponent to pick their own team to win so far, I like the confidence even if I disagree. We'll all be interested in watching how Oklahoma State handles life with the target on their backs, and for a lot more from Kyle please check out Pistols Firing.