Dec. 22—Preparing for a bowl game has become something of an annual tradition for Oklahoma State under coach Mike Gundy, but it feels different this year from an outsider’s perspective.
It felt different last year, too, but there was an obvious reason why. The Cowboys lost their starting quarterback, leading rusher, best linebacker, No. 1 cornerback, No. 2 safety and both of their starting edge rushers in early December.
“The preparation with the uncertainty is different than what we’ve been used to,” Gundy said before the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl kicked off. “We’re in some uncharted waters.”
As expected, the game was hard to watch.
OSU doesn’t have those same issues this year. Eight of its players have entered the transfer portal. None of them will be missed. The only reason Gunnar Gundy’s decision got any attention was because of his last name.
Yet the excitement is still gone.
Maybe it’s because the Texas Bowl is a smaller stage than what OSU could or arguably should have been on after a conference championship game appearance. Maybe it’s because we saw this same matchup in the same bowl four short years ago. Maybe it’s because its opponent, Texas A&M, is in a similar spot as the Cowboys were a year ago.
Or maybe it’s because bowl games outside of the College Football Playoff or New Year’s Six aren’t what they used to be.
“My good buddy, Mike Locksley at Maryland, I saw somebody had texted me an article where he was using (the Music City Bowl) as a preseason game,” Mike Gundy told the News Press. “He’s going to play multiple skill guys at different positions, I think even his quarterbacks because his quarterback, I think, went to the draft.”
Gundy said earlier this month that his program has begun treating bowl season like it does spring practice. On Wednesday, he said he doesn’t feel that way about the game itself,…