From the Stands

Game against Bears may be hard to bear

The OSU Cowboys take on the Baylor Bears Saturday; and, if the dire predictions are anything close to being accurate, the result will be tough to bear for the Cowpokes and their fans.

Even so, I’m not ready to throw in the towel, nor am I ready to go out on a limb and predict an upset. (Are two clichés in one sentence enough for you?) However, I am confident that long-time OSU fans can remember how heavily favored the Sooners were several years ago against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl and, no doubt, they remember how that came out. So (cliché time again), hope springs eternal, and we can hope OSU springs an upset.

As a fan, I’m more concerned about some of the issues facing the Pokes than I am about being a 40-point underdog.

The quarterback situation, for instance, poses concern. I really would feel sorry for Mason Rudolph if he has to blow his redshirt year in the next-to-last game of the season. How unfair, how frustrating. Perhaps how unnecessary.

Granted, playing him seems to be the only viable alternative if Daxx Garman can’t start or is injured during the game. The Pokes have a walk-on with impressive high school stats, but using him might be perceived as giving up on the last two games, which are key games on the schedule. Baylor is highly ranked and still in the running for a spot in the national playoff and OU in the following game is one all OSU fans strongly desire to win. It would be likely most people would assume that playing the walk-on is an admission of defeat.

Right or wrong, it seems to me that this is a situation the coaches would have been aware of early in the season when starter J.W. Walsh was injured and a decision had to be made on the quarterback situation for the remainder of the year. They are in a box now, but that is more a result of decisions made early in the year than in anything that has happened recently to make the present dilemma a reality.

Knowing how unfair it would be to Rudolph, and perhaps to the team, why decide to go with Garman only and live with the weekly angst of hoping that Garman would not only perform well but go uninjured all season and thereby allow a redshirt year for Randolph, the apparent future at QB for the Pokes? Those odds are about as good as the odds of beating the house at a casino.

I’m confident there were reasons at the time to decide not to play Rudolph, reasons that may not be readily seen or understood by the ordinary fan in the stands. So, we are left to wonder.

I’m glad I’m not in Randolph’s shoes. As a competitor, I would have been chomping at the bit all season and then absolutely frustrated if I had to basically forfeit my redshirt year by playing in only two games at the end of the season.

Quarterback is not the only area of concern for fans. Another is the offensive line, where youth and inexperience are dominate. Injuries played a key role in what has developed. So did the loss of eligible players who chose to move on rather than play another year. Further compounding the problem was the resignation of Coach Wickline, who had produced quality line performance for several years.

Another concern is that from outward appearances, it seems that booster Boone Pickens, Athletic Director Mike Holder, and Coach Mike Gundy have some issues among themselves. Maybe the strained relationship among that trio could be resolved if the three of them were to set their egos aside, gather in a room with the door closed, and stay there until they hash out their significant and insignificant issues.

Let’s set those concerns aside for the moment and root for an upset win on the Brazos Saturday night in Texas. Winter is coming on, and it sure would be nice to send those Bears into hibernation early.

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