Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A year after Gundy’s rant, OSU on verge of Top 25


— Mike Gundy's rant quickly took its place in college football lore. Measuring its effect, though, is hard to do even a year later.

Word of what Gundy did buzzed through the Internet and YouTube. Then television networks got hold of the "I'm a man! I'm 40!" clip and played it over and over again.

The outburst spawned countless spoofs of Gundy standing in front of a bright orange backdrop and pointing his finger angrily at a newspaper columnist. The postgame tirade lingered as the lasting image of Oklahoma State's season.

Those 31â2 minutes came at a pivotal time for a team now on the rise. But exactly one year later, what impact, if any, did they have on the Cowboys, now knocking on the door of the Top 25?

Gundy's display came at the end of a tumultuous 10 days. Bobby Reid, once revered as the best recruit in school history, was replaced at quarterback by Zac Robinson, and Oklahoma State flopped in a 41-23 loss at Troy.

The criticism and questions followed. A column by The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson set off Gundy after a 49-45 win against Texas Tech last Sept. 22. Gundy spent his entire postgame news conference defending Reid and discussing the article, even holding it up while he stood at the podium.

Robinson, fresh off his first big victory, became the starter and went on to set a school record for total offense in a season. Reid transferred to Texas Southern after the season and later spoke of how he was hurt by Gundy's comments.

The Cowboys finished 7-6 and won back-to-back bowl games for the first time in 19 years.

Now they're 3-0 and just outside the Top 25. Gundy and his players have downplayed the effect of the commotion after the Texas Tech game.

"We knew that it went on, in the back of our heads," Robinson said. "We knew what happened and all that but it didn't change us, the way we played, at all."

Gundy sees these Cowboys as a more mature, experienced group.

"I don't think there's any question that we're more settled with where we're at as a team than where we were a year ago," Gundy said.


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