This was the year the Cowboys finally got over the hump, which necessitates the obvious question: Can they stay there?
Oklahoma State has its Big 12 championship. It has its BCS bowl.
It loses a lot of talent from this year's team heading into 2012, but ESPN Insider's KC Joyner says if the Cowboys are going to do it, the recipe is simple.
He breaks down each team's starting 22 as recruits, and says it comes down to Oklahoma State closing that gap over time.
Consider that since 2006, Oklahoma has ranked in the top 11 in the seasonal recruiting class rankings in all but one season, while Oklahoma State has ranked in the top 25 recruiting classes in only one season. In addition, a recent study showed that the Sooners are among the top 10 most valuable collegiate football programs, while the Cowboys did not even rank in the top 20.
That level of disparity is a big part of what caused Jimmy Johnson and Les Miles to leave Stillwater after achieving a certain level of success as Oklahoma State's head coach, but Gundy may have those two trumped in that he seems to have figured out a way around the Cowboys' situational limitations.
Interesting stuff. And it's pretty clear that Oklahoma State was by far the better team compared to the Sooners this year. The Cowboys have already made headway in recruiting.
Gundy also seems to understand an old Bill Walsh adage that says offensive talent issues can be worked around with coaching, but defensive prowess pretty much comes down to how many talented players one has.
That mindset means that recruiting is much more important on the defensive side of the ball, and Gundy has had success in that area.
Consider that the Cowboys had five potential four-star-caliber players (those rated 79 or higher) on their starting defense, while Oklahoma fielded only four such players. That means they more than matched the Sooners on top-level talent, which is by far the most important area on defense.
As dangerous as Gundy's teams have been with less talented recruits, one can only imagine how good they could be now that the talent level on this team is starting to increase and Oklahoma State has experienced some success.
Definitely a scary thought for the crimson-and-cream-clad folks.
So what do you think? Is this year the beginning of a new world order in the Big 12? Is Oklahoma State now Oklahoma's equal, or more?