Big 12 title still possible, Oklahoma St looking to rebound
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma State has plenty of reason to be disappointed.
A 45-35 loss to Baylor on Saturday night probably cost the team a shot at the College Football Playoff. But the No. 9 Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, No. 5 CFP) still have plenty at stake in Saturday night's regular-season finale against No. 5 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1, No. 7 CFP). The Cowboys would also need either No. 15 TCU on Friday, or Texas the following week, to defeat Baylor in order to win their first Big 12 title since 2011 and second overall.
''Obviously, there was disappointment. They wanted to win,'' coach Mike Gundy said Monday. ''We've put that game behind us. The attitude of the players is really good, and they practiced well (Sunday) night, so we're back to work and getting ready for (Oklahoma).''
Oklahoma State's players remained positive, realizing there is still plenty of work left to do.
''It's not easy. You definitely don't want to lose a game, especially after the season we've been having,'' junior linebacker Seth Jacobs said. ''But when it comes down to it, we still have a lot to play for and there's a lot at stake, so it's time to focus on the task at hand, and that's playing against OU and winning.''
Several factors will also help ensure that the Cowboys do not have a mental letdown. The biggest additional consideration is the Bedlam rivalry with Oklahoma, which always seems to produce memorable games under important circumstances.
Of course, a win not only gives OSU a chance to win the Big 12, it prevents Oklahoma from clinching the title, as well as a possible spot in the Playoff.
This will be the fifth time in the last eight years that the Bedlam game will have a direct impact on determining the Big 12 champion.
''Not much has to be said at all - it's Bedlam,'' senior backup quarterback J.W. Walsh said. ''You walk around campus and you go out to eat and people are talking about it. Anywhere you go in town, it's being talked about, so there's not much that needs to be said inside our locker room. We know how big a game it is, we know the impact and we're fired up to play it.''
It is also the final home game for 17 seniors on the roster. Walsh acknowledged that the pregame ceremony will be an emotional experience, but he was ready to embrace the moment.
''There's going to be a lot of emotion, but that's who I am,'' said Walsh, who leads the team with 11 rushing touchdowns and has also passed for 11 this season. ''I play with a lot of emotion, so I'm not going to try to hold anything back. I let my emotions play with me and I wear them on my sleeve, but it's going to be a lot of fun.''
Gundy expects his team to be mentally ready to come out and give Oklahoma its best game, with the Big 12 title on the line.
''Bedlam takes care of anything that would have happened,'' Gundy said of any potential letdown following Saturday's loss. ''I would like to think that our team has been prepared mentally for, at any time, whether it's a big win or a disappointing loss - you have to get ready to go to work on Sunday. I think they understand that.''