Brown O'haver Studio

Do you ever look around the country and find the most OSU-esque teams in other leagues?

Here’s my list:

  • Big Ten: Michigan State
  • ACC: North Carolina State
  • Pac-12: Utah
  • SEC: Auburn

Way back in 2004, Berry Tramel said OSU should follow Auburn’s example.

Beat your rival as often as you lose to them — the Tigers went 13-11 against Alabama between 1981 and 2004. OSU was on a similar path late in the Bob Simmons/early-Les Miles era. OSU was renovating the stadium and beating its rival.

Which brings us to Bedlam. OSU has made some of the same noise as Auburn. Stadium renovation. Better recruiting. No more sand in the face.

OU has won just six of the last 12 Bedlams; before that, OSU won just 11 of the first 86 sockhops against the Sooners.

There is no better recruiting pitch, no better donation solicitation, than an OSU victory over OU.


How have things gone since then?

OSU – Wins OSU – Losses Auburn – Wins Auburn – Losses
2021 12 2 6 7
2020 8 3 6 5
2019 8 5 9 4
2018 7 6 8 5
2017 10 3 10 4
2016 10 3 8 5
2015 10 3 7 6
2014 7 6 8 5
2013 10 3 12 2
2012 8 5 3 9
2011 12 1 8 5
2010 11 2 14 0
2009 9 4 8 5
2008 9 4 5 7
2007 7 6 9 4
2006 7 6 11 2
2005 4 7 9 3
Average 8.8 4.1 8.3 4.6

Auburn won a national championship and competed for another, winning two SEC titles in the process. The Pokes won a conference title, a third-place game and played for a couple of more conference titles (2013 and 2021).

Auburn has won big. And the Tigers have done it by hiring good coaches, being willing to spend money ($28.5m in buyouts recently) and being smack dab in the middle of college football’s hottest recruiting bed.

It’s pretty hard to argue that OSU isn’t at least a top-15 program. The Cowboys have won like a top-10 program over the last 12 years, but they haven’t made a Final Four just yet.

So here’s the question: who would you rather cheer for?

And while Auburn has had higher highs than OSU, the Tigers also have had lower lows. Since that 2010 season, OSU has been ranked higher than Auburn in the final Associated Press poll five times. Auburn has been higher four times. Twice, neither has finished in the top 25. 


Tramel makes a convincing argument that the cause for OSU’s consistent winning is at least in part due to the consistency of the coaching staff. Mike Gundy has had 13 coordinators in his 17 years — and that’s with one-year stays for the likes of Trooper Taylor, Sean Gleeson and Dana Holgorsen. Auburn has seen 17 coordinators since 2007.

It’s an interesting case study for two top-15 programs.

Maybe this is the real question: would you rather average eight wins because you win eight every year (OSU) or because you win five one year and 11 the next (Auburn)?

I’d weigh it out like this — how many “moments” do I get each year?

I’ll take a team that is never out of the game for 10 years over a great team once every 10.

Ultimately where the “OSU should be Auburn” direction heads is the idea of building a foundation that the next coach and the next coach can build off. That’s what Mike Gundy has done/is doing. If OSU hires the right “next guy” after Gundy retires, he’ll be able to build off a program flush off 20 eight-plus win seasons.

Interesting spin on this take: should OSU emulate Auburn Basketball?

OSU sort of already did this when it hired Eddie — what high-end coach has a little mud on his name that would prohibit bluebloods from going after him? That’s what Auburn did when it hired Bruce Pearl.

I’m squarely “Team Mike for Major Sports” between football and men’s basketball, but if at some point, Mike B. doesn’t work out, would OSU try something like this?

This would look something like a Sean Miller hire or maybe even a Chris Mack situation. Just something to chew on down the road.

Bonus Thoughts on OSUs in Other Conferences

Michigan State has been good. Playoff good. They’ve seen coaches leave for a “better job” and win a national title. They promoted a coordinator and saw him bring the program to its highest highs with consistency.

NC State feels culturally like a similar fan base in the mid-south, Raleigh is multiples larger than Stillwater however. Most of these comps are typified by an overshadowing neighbor (Michigan football, North Carolina basketball, Ole Miss’ football under Archie Manning, BYU football).

Learning a bit about BYU with the Cougars making their way into the league, they’re essentially the OU of Utah with the wealth and prominence of the private school. Utah State is the ag school, but there’s something so darn similar about Kyle Whittingham and Mike Gundy — Whittingham started coaching at Utah when Pat Jones was the coach at OSU!

I just get the feeling if you could sit down with fans from most of those places, you would have something to talk about.

The post Would You Rather: Auburn or Oklahoma State? appeared first on Pistols Firing.

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