Scary trip ahead for Oklahoma State

November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
1:30
PM CT
So what if Halloween was last week?

Tell that to the ghosts roaming around Texas Tech's Jones AT&T Stadium these days.

Back in 2007, there was a woozy Sam Bradford of Oklahoma sidelined with a concussion on the game's opening drive. National title hopes? Gone.

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A year later? An easy interception inexplicably slid through the hands of Texas' Blake Gideon. A play later, an ill-advised, unnecessary throw by Graham Harrell somehow became one of the most famous plays in college football history.

Beware the winds of West Texas, Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys travel there on Saturday, to the place where two Big 12 national title runs have been buried. The Cowboys will go there with the intention of preventing a third.

Gundy's players watch the weekly BCS rankings get unveiled, and this week, they saw themselves at No. 2, higher than any team in Oklahoma State history and firmly in control of their postseason destination.

"They’re being told that they’re having a great year and everywhere you go, it’s ‘Make sure you keep it going’ and this and that," said coach Mike Gundy.

The odds say Oklahoma State will. The Cowboys enter as 17-point favorites over this particular band of Red Raiders that haven't wrecked much in recent weeks.

[+] EnlargeMike Gundy
Kevin Jairaj/US PresswireMike Gundy is keeping his team's focus squarely on upset-minded Texas Tech.
"There’s examples every Saturday, and just speaking for our staff, we’re able to use examples of teams that, on paper or people thought may have had a better team, but for whatever reason, they didn’t play as well that Saturday and didn’t win," Gundy said. "Because of that, you have to stay focused and understand the importance of preparation going into each game."

The Cowboys won't have to look far for inspiration. Texas Tech is just 1-4 in its past five games, and its past two losses have come by 32 and 34 points.

Its one win?

Tech made it count. The Red Raiders raced to a 31-7 lead and beat Oklahoma, who entered the game as 28-point favorites. Oh, and they hadn't lost at home since 2005 or in a home conference game since 2001, concurrent streaks of 39 and 32 games.

Oklahoma State should -- should -- win on Saturday. Last year's win in Lubbock was Oklahoma State's first since 1944.

Whether it does or doesn't do it again is likely up to the superior team.

"We just have to stay focused, absorb information in meetings and have good practices on Wednesday and Thursday," Gundy said.

So how does that happen?

"There’s not really anything other than trying to keep them in the moment and in the right frame of mind so they can stay focused on what’s important here and not get caught up in all the hype outside the program," Gundy said.

We'll find out on Saturday if the Cowboys did it. Iowa State awaits a week later, and win that one?

Bedlam.

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