Oklahoma State Trivia

 – Oklahoma State opened the 2009 season tied with Penn State for 9th in the preseason poll. The top ten preseason ranking was the first in school history, with the best previous preseason ranking coming in 1985, when the Cowboys started the season 16th (that season, OSU finished 8-4 and unranked).

– Oklahoma State rose as high as 6th in the polls in 2008, the highest ranking for the Cowboys since 1985. After opening 7-0, though, OSU lost to Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma to finish fourth in the Big 12 South. The Cowboys did finish off a 9-4 season with top 10 rankings in scoring offense, total offense, and rushing offense.

– Living in the shadow of their more famous and successful rivals from Norman has to be tough on the proud Cowboy fans.  While Oklahoma has won seven national championships, Oklahoma State has never finished higher than 5th in the nation, and that was in 1945.  As then head coach Jimmy Johnson lamented in 1981, “When you’re at Notre Dame or Alabama, as soon as you win one game, people say you’re great.  At Oklahoma State, it takes six wins before anyone notices.”

– Oklahoma State was a charter member of the Southwest Conference in 1915.  OSU left, however, in 1925, to join the Missouri Valley Conference, where the Cowboys remained until 1957.  After a few seasons as an independent, Oklahoma State joined the Big Seven to form the Big Eight in 1960.  The Cowboys were not met with kindness, though, as OSU failed to post a winning record in any of its first 12 seasons in the Big Eight.  In 1996, Oklahoma State became a member of the newly formed Big 12 Conference.

– Oklahoma State was originally Oklahoma A&M, so, not surprisingly, the first nickname for OSU teams was the Aggies (or, more precisely, the “Agriculturalists”).  For a brief period in the 1920’s, the Aggies were renamed the Tigers, with the school nickname (and school colors) taken from Princeton.  The team kept the Princeton colors, but adopted the Cowboy nickname in 1924.

– The Bedlam series with Oklahoma has been dominated by the Sooners, with Oklahoma carrying a series “edge” of 78-17-7.  The Cowboys have made the best of some of their wins, however.  In 1976, 2001, and 2002, Oklahoma came into the rivalry game with a top five ranking.  On each of those occasions, the Sooners were upset by unranked Cowboy squads.  (The CU/OSU series record: 26-17-1, CU.  In six Big 12 games, CU is 4-2 against OSU, with 2-1 records in both Boulder and Stillwater).

– Thurman Thomas paved the way, but it was Barry Sanders who won the one and only major college football award for OSU, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1988.  In ‘88, Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards and 39 touchdowns, both NCAA records.  The Cowboys wrapped up a 10-2 season in 1988 with a 62-14 rout of the Wyoming Cowboys in the Holiday Bowl (Brad and I were there, taking the trip down to San Diego after attending the CU/BYU Freedom Bowl in Anaheim).  That season, OSU finished with a #11 ranking in the AP poll.

Famous alumni – football – Thurman Thomas (NFL Hall-of-Fame), Barry Sanders (Heisman trophy winner, NFL Hall-of-Fame), Leslie O’Neal, Hart Lee Dykes, Dexter Manley.

– Famous alumni – other – Garth Brooks, T. Boone Pickens, Chester Gould (creator of “Dick Tracy”).

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