Okla St’s Gundy considers SEC powers 2 best teams

Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy got about as far away from

campaigning to get his team into the national championship game as

a college coach can get.

Instead of arguing for the third-ranked Cowboys to get a shot at

the BCS title, Gundy said Monday that he considers SEC powerhouses

LSU and Alabama to be the best two teams in the nation right

now.

Gundy sees No. 1 LSU – one of two undefeated teams, along with

No. 7 Houston – as clearly the best team at this point. And he

agrees with the polls that have Alabama at No. 2.

That may be subject to change if Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big

12) can beat No. 13 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2) on Saturday night.

”I’m just saying right now,” Gundy said. ”You asked me about

today and we have a loss and they have a loss, and they lost to the

No. 1 team in the country.”

The Cowboys are third in the BCS standings and The Associated

Press poll but fifth in the coaches’ poll and the Harris Poll, two

rankings that are part of the BCS formula. The BCS computer

rankings have Oklahoma State third, so the most ground to be made

up is in the minds of human pollsters.

”Alabama lost to what would be the No. 1 team in the country

and Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State, so in our situation, if I

was doing it fair, I don’t know how I could put us in front of them

right now,” Gundy said.

The argument for the Cowboys comes by examining which team has

the best wins instead of looking at the losses. Oklahoma State has

four wins against teams in the Top 25 of the BCS standings, and

would have a fifth by beating the Sooners, while Alabama has only

two.

”I know our strength of schedule is pretty good. We’ve played

some Top 25 teams, three or four of them on the road, and our

resume looks good,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. ”But we’ve

got to win Saturday. The rest will take care of itself.”

Oklahoma State could also campaign on the platform that the

Crimson Tide already lost at home to LSU and didn’t win their

division.

But unlike Stanford coach David Shaw, who had a presentation

prepared on his iPad a week ago, Gundy didn’t make a case for his

team except to say, ”I think on any given day, on any site in the

country, that we can play with anybody in the country. I don’t

doubt that for one second.”

Gundy said he prefers to focus his energy on beating Oklahoma

for the first time since 2002 than on politicking for a chance to

play in New Orleans in January.

”We can talk about this forever but we need to try to win every

football game we can and then at some point the computers or other

people will vote how they feel that your team has played and where

they should be,” Gundy said. ”Then I think as a team, we have to

live with that and then move forward.”

”Until we play the game, I don’t really think anything I say

makes a dang bit of difference,” Gundy added.

It doesn’t help the Cowboys that their most recent performance

was a loss on national television to an unranked Iowa State team

that had never before beaten a team ranked higher than seventh.

They were off last week, allowing the loss to linger in the minds

of poll voters.

The chance to finally wash it away comes Saturday night.

”If we play a good game, I think we can give ourself the best

opportunity. But other than that, it’s out of our hands,”

defensive end Jamie Blatnick said. ”We can give ourself the best

opportunity to get votes. … The fact is it’s out of our

hands.”

Gundy said he has heard that LSU could play for the national

title even with a loss to Georgia in the SEC championship and that

it will be mathematically difficult for Oklahoma State to pass idle

Alabama.

For now, he’s not comfortable lobbying for a change.

”I guess I’m trying to not let that affect our team and our

staff. For us right now, we need to prepare to win this game,”

Gundy said. ”If we win this game and we play well and somebody

thinks that it’s enough to put us in position to play for that,

nobody will be more fired up than I will about it and excited for

our players.”

Gundy said if he gets the message from his players or from the

university’s administration that he needs to make a public

argument, he’ll do it.

”I’m being brutally honest here. With what we have going and

who we are right now, where we are and what we’re trying to

accomplish, we need to worry about preparing and winning this game

first,” Gundy said.

”When that’s over with … if somebody wants to get up and

start beating their chest and saying, `Hey, we can beat LSU’s butt

anytime, anywhere, any place.’ … That’s how you politick if

that’s how you want to do it.”