Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

November 18, 2013

ELMQUIST: Stillwater will be the center of the sports world this week

STILLWATER, Okla. — The sports world will be swirling around Stillwater this week with Oklahoma State hosting not just one, but two battles of top 15 teams.

Everybody knows about the 10th-ranked OSU football team hosting No. 3 Baylor with the Big 12 Conference title on the line — which has brought ESPN’s College Football GameDay to the Stillwater campus for the first time since the 2011 Bedlam game.

But Tuesday, historic Gallagher-Iba Arena will attempt to contain a heavyweight men’s basketball matchup between the No. 7 OSU men’s basketball program and the 11th-ranked Memphis Tigers.

Indeed, it is a good time to be a fan of Oklahoma State athletics.

“It’s huge right now. If you’re an Oklahoma State Cowboy fan in any sport, it’s huge. All the programs around the university are doing great so far,” Cowboy senior guard Markel Brown said. “And this week, having GameDay here Saturday for the football team and having a top 15 match-up in basketball, you can’t ask for anything more.”

With the heavyweight bouts to play out in Stillwater this week, there are actually seats available for both events — which would make for a great early Christmas present for that Cowboy fan in the family.

There are still a couple hundred tickets left for Saturday’s de facto Big 12 Conference championship — with the winner being in the driver seat for the automatic BCS berth in the final two weeks of the season. And with GameDay in town, Boone Pickens Stadium and the Stillwater community promises to be a scene of orange.

“We know the fans are going to be rowdy. They are going to be as loud as they can possibly be,” OSU safety Lyndell Johnson said. “They are going to be excited that we have GameDay.”

The fans aren’t the only spectators of OSU sports excited for what is to come this week on the Stillwater campus.

Athletes for both teams are happy to see the success of their fellow student-athletes. Both basketball and football players understand the importance this week for the other program.

With the football team earning the national spotlight with College GameDay arriving this week for the first time since 2010, Oklahoma State has joined an elite group as the basketball version of ESPN’s College GameDay will rolled into Gallagher-Iba Arena in March. College GameDay has been to a campus site for both sports in the same academic year only eight times — with Oklahoma State and Texas being the only two schools which claim that title twice.

“I think it kind of shows how far our school has grown over the last 10 years or so,” OSU senior offensive lineman Parker Graham said. “Not only do we have a great football program, we also have a great basketball program — men’s and women’s. And there’s a whole bunch of other sports doing well, as well.”

While football and men’s basketball get the most notoriety — largely due to bigger revenues and more national media exposure through ESPN — possibly the biggest moment for Oklahoma State athletics this week will occur nearly 700 miles away in Terre Haute, Ind.

Though the national spotlight will be on Stillwater this week, Cowboy fans should keep an eye — via the Internet or smartphone — on the Cowboy cross country team. A clear example of what greatness can surround the Stillwater campus, the men’s cross country team takes aim at its fourth national championship in five years. And as the reigning champions, ranked second in the country, that looks to be just as much of a lock as the excitement that will surround Stillwater all week.

Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater NewsPress. He can be contacted at jelmquist@stwnewspress.com.

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