I recently came across an interesting stat, care of Statistically Speaking. Check them out. Pretty good stuff there.
As part of their review of Big 12 yards per play stats for 2016, Oklahoma State’s loss to Baylor stuck out as a bit of an eyesore — it did to me too. At the time, the loss didn’t look quite as bad. But as we saw both teams’ years unfold, the result went from puzzling to ghastly.
Baylor followed up the home win over OSU by losing six of their last eight conference games before thumping Boise State in the Cactus Bowl, while the Cowboys rattled off an 8-1 finish including their Alamo Bowl win.
So SS dug deeper and found that since 2011, only 16 times did a team lose to a conference opponent who they finished five or more games the better. This is figured by removing the head-to-head matchup and then comparing the two teams conference records.
Six of those 16 were in the Big 12 and three of those were OSU — the leader in this category.
- 2011 at Iowa State 31-37
- 2013 at West Virginia 21-30
- 2016 at Baylor 24-35
I know. I know. It hurts to tear at old woulds but it’s interesting, if not a little surprising that Mike Gundy’s team is at the forefront here considering his exceptional 80-12 record as a favorite since taking over in 2005.
Iowa State cost OSU a chance at a national championship over the coach who them left halfway through a bowl game. Gut punch.
The West Virginia loss cost them possibly a second Big 12 title in three years. Last year’s Baylor game may have not had the historical ramifications when you consider the Central Michigan debacle they had already endured. But it kept Mason Rudolph winless over Baylor — the only Big 12 team who can boast that claim.
Oklahoma was the only other team with multiple “bad” losses in this metric — 2011 against Texas Tech and 2015 against Texas. In 2012, Kansas State lost to an abysmal Baylor team.
Is this an indictment on Mike Gundy or his staff? Not necessarily. It just goes to show how important each game is. You mess around with a “lesser” team — especially on the road — and things may not go your way.
And unfortunately when it happens to Oklahoma State, it’s seems to cost them dearly.