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08/31/2014

Okie State's gamble paid off

1409455131000-USP-NCAA-FOOTBALL-FLORIDA-STATE-VS-OKLAHOMA-STATE-66857030ARLINGTON, Texas - Oklahoma State head men's football coach Mike Gundy likely had to be a locked in a closet and gagged when his school agreed to play Florida State to open the season.

Coach Gundy is like any good head football coach in a power conference looking to secure another contract extension - he prefers his non-conference schedule like he does his steak: Expensive, and totally worth it.

#FSUvsOKST

Coach Mike Gundy prefers his non-conference schedule to feature the likes of power programs such as Lamar, Texas-San Antonio, Savannah State, Louisiana-Lafayette, etc. Granted, his teams have also played Arizona and Mississippi State, but those games are likely as the result of pressure from the administration - i.e. T. Boone Pickens - to play somebody other than the local 3A high school.

On Saturday, Gundy's unranked team proved playing a real team does have its benefits. The Cowboys should crack the AP Top 25 despite an 0-1 record. Losing by six points to defending national champions Florida State at Jerry World, and having a chance to win it late, says more than a 55-0 win over We Need Your Money Tech.

Mike-gundy-2013-d628960b80c61d06"Well, there has been a lot of talk about scheduling," Gundy said when I asked him if he would rather avoid this game or if he sees the benefit. "I'm not so sure you want to jump on the returning national champion in preseason. But there is always discussions that we have and try to find out what is best for our team based on the maturity and leadership based on what we have going into the season."

Translation: This was not my idea.

The players? 

"I love 'em, love 'em," Florida State running back Karlos Williams said. "Coming to Dallas, being in a totally diffrent environment. Even the heat feels different. It's a dry heat. You sweat different."

Wait, since when does North Texas have a dry heat? Exactly how humid is northern Florida? 

"I really enjoy these big non-conference games," he said

Gundy was not celebrating his team's 37-31 loss as a moral victory, but it was apparent that he was justifiably proud of the way his team played against what was considered a vastly superior opponent. He has evidence that he has a team that can compete in the Big 12.

That is the benefit of playing Florida State rather than Savannah State.

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