Cowboys rise to top dog with OSU talent


Oklahoma State running back Jeremy Smith, left, celebrates his touchdown against Kansas. The Cowboys have quietly built one of the big 12's best teams.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Somewhere above the Red River, lives a top-10 team, one with a Heisman contender at quarterback, the nation’s most dangerous receiver and an offense that moves so fast it —

OK, I’ll save you from the whole “Ha! Made you think it’s Oklahoma and then it turns out to be Oklahoma State!!” thing because the Cowboys are clearly the focal point of this issue.

So let’s get right to it with this question: How did we get here? How is OSU better than Texas?

Luck’s a good place to start with it. Its quarterback, Brandon Weeden, joined the program as a walk-on after spending time in the New York Yankees’ minor league organization. Its best receiver and Biletnikoff recipient, Justin Blackmon, was considered the 91st-best wide receiver coming out of high school.

Nintey-first. Wow. So it’s luck for the Cowboys that some of their biggest starts are bypassed by the bigger programs — Texas didn’t offer Dez Bryant — and head to Stillwater instead.

But luck’s only so much of it. OSU and head coach Mike Gundy have proven very successful at developing major talent. Far better at it, I must say, than Texas. Here, we tend to spend the season asking, “What happened to that guy?”

There, at OSU, they wonder, “Where did we get this guy?”

The Cowboys have churned out NFL running backs, guys like Tatum Bell and Kendall Hunter. They’ve had a ton of talent at the wide receiver position, with Bryant and Adarius Bowman and Rashaaan Woods and now Blackmon. Former tight end Brandon Pettigrew is now starting with the Lions.

Has OSU produced better talent than the Longhorns? Historically, no But now, there’s better talent in the orange and black than there is in the orange and white.

The ‘Pokes will win Saturday, even though there’s no way Texas will play as poorly on offense as it did against the Sooners. I’m not sure the defense will be able to contain the Cowboys’ high-speed, high-skill passing attack, a Heisman contender at quarterback, the nation’s most dangerous receiver and an offense that moves so fast it just might be faster than Oklahoma.