When the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Texas Tech Red Raiders face each other on Saturday, the two teams will be of differing mindsets, and that will be the reason the Cowboys come out on top.
The Red Raiders are suffering from a bit of controversy this week, after head coach Tommy Tuberville yanked the headset off of a graduate assistant’s head in response to a penalty committed by his team against Kansas.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are at the other end of the spectrum. After losing two of its first four games, Oklahoma State has won four of five, including a 21-point win over West Virginia last week.
Mike Gundy’s team has never looked as focused as it does right now, having separated itself from the pack as one of the best teams in the Big 12 conference.
No one can fault the Red Raiders for being distracted, given the extremely visible nature of Tuberville’s incident. According to George Schroeder and Paul Myerberg of USA Today, the Big 12 conference “issued a public reprimand” of Tuberville. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby called the reprimand “warranted” and said that the conference would keep a “careful eye” on the situation going forward.
Considering the turmoil Texas Tech went through with Mike Leach before Tuberville arrived, this incident and the surrounding attention cannot be welcomed by the Tech fans or administration. The players have to be distracted as well.
That is hardly the situation a coach wants his team and fanbase in when he is about to lead them on the road against an extremely tough opponent like the Cowboys. Last season, Tuberville’s squad lost to Oklahoma State by 60 points at home.
While that opponent was very different from the Oklahoma State team they will face this week, it is still worrisome for Tech. The game is happening in Stillwater, which never benefits the visitor. In fact, the Red Raiders have not won there in the last decade.
As stated previously, the Cowboys are on their best streak of the season, winning four of five games. The Red Raiders just happen to be on their worst, having lost two of their last three games.
Normally, the fact that the game is a road game and the fact that things are trending downward would not be a worry for Red Raider nation. However, Tuberville’s recent incident and the negative attention it has brought pushed this game over the edge for the Cowboys.
Gundy has his team firing on all cylinders for maybe the first time all season.
This team’s focus has survived major quarterback turmoil, which forced them to start their third-string quarterback against West Virginia.
However, they still won and had one of their best performances of the season as a team. The offense is moving the ball and scoring, the defense is stopping opponents from doing the same and the special team unit is performing exceptionally well.
The Cowboys will defeat the Red Raiders in Stillwater on Saturday. Both teams are talented and pretty well-coached, but it will come down to focus in this matchup. Right now, Oklahoma State has the decided edge in that category.