In this week’s edition of “Conversations with Clayton,” I interview Cade Webb, the manager of SB Nation’s Oklahoma State athletics site: Cowboys Ride for Free. Cade and I discuss Mason Rudolph’s Heisman chances, the best place to get sweet peppered bacon cheese fries in Stillwater and the video game heroics of one Omar Infante.
Clayton Trutor (CT): How did you get involved with covering Oklahoma State athletics?
Cade Webb (CW): I have been a die-hard Oklahoma State fan since I can remember. Both of my parents are alumni and they instilled a hardcore fandom with Oklahoma State. Along with that, I grew up in Edmond; right in the heart of Oklahoma. Bedlam is a huge deal in the state, and growing up, you've got to pick a side. Nearly all of my friends were OU fans, but because my family went to OSU and took us to all of the games, it became really easy to like them and follow them. I remember them beating Oklahoma in football in 2001 and 2002, and those two seasons are when my love and passion for Oklahoma State took off. I've been following them ever since.
CT: What's the outlook for Cowboys football in 2017?
CW: Oklahoma State has the potential and talent to field its' best team ever in 2017. They are absolutely loaded on offense, returning star QB and Heisman candidate Mason Rudolph. They also bring back the nation's top wide receiver, James Washington. He will be the headliner in what could be America's best wide receiving corps. In addition to Washington, they'll return Marcell Ateman, Jalen McCleskey and LSU transfer Tyron Johnson. Add in running back Justice Hill, who led the nation in rushing yards for a freshman, and the Cowboy offense will be dangerous and balanced.
The defense has question marks, though. While the defensive line and linebacker groups will be solid, the secondary might be an issue. They snagged Clemson transfer Adrian Baker, who should start right away. However, there is a hole on the opposite side. Odds are, sophomore A.J. Green will start at cornerback opposite Baker.
Overall, the Cowboy offense should be plenty good enough to help out the defense. They'll be a serious contender for a Big 12 title and College Football Playoff spot.
CT: Three things people don't know about Oklahoma State:
CW: Oklahoma State has over 50 national championships, which is one of the top [totals] in the country. At its founding in 1890, the university was referred to as Oklahoma A&M. That remained the name of the university until 1957. Finally, Oklahoma State's mascot was a tiger until 1923, when they became the Aggies. The mascot was inspired by a real life pet tiger that was kept at the university, and the colors (orange and black) were inspired by the tiger.
CT: Three things people don't know about Stillwater:
CW: First, it is the greatest town in America. (Editor’s note: Cincinnati is a city, not a town, so we’ll let this slide). Second, the bar scene is awesome. A night on The Strip is a must for anyone in Cowboy Country. Finally, the sweet peppered bacon cheese fries at Eskimo Joes are the single greatest culinary item in town. A legendary treat.
CT: Can you navigate me through the last 13 months of Oklahoma State basketball?
CW: I would love to, but my GPS doesn't work when trying to navigate through a basketball arena full of snakes... But seriously, in all honesty, the last 13 months have been an absolute joke. First, they fire Travis Ford after nine seasons, when it probably should've been about five. They kept him around because they couldn't afford to fire him. He was given a 10-year extension after making the NCAA Tournament in his first year. Trying not to make that same mistake, Mike Holder (OSU's athletic director) refused to pay that same money to a coach who deserved it more (Brad Underwood). That gets us to the present, where Holder essentially had his hands tied financially, and was forced to hire Underwood's assistant, Mike Boynton. It has been a decade's worth of futility wrapped up in one year, but hopefully Boynton can right the ship and bring stability to Stillwater.
CT: Who was the toughest guy to ever play football at Oklahoma State?
CW: The realistic answer is probably Bob Fenimore. He was OSU's first All-American and finished third in the Heisman voting in 1945. That being said, I think I've got to go with Dez Bryant. I was at the impressionable age of 14 when Bryant began his freshman year at Oklahoma State, and he was a total man amongst children. He had a swagger and edge about him that couldn't be matched by anyone else on the field. That's part of what has helped him turn into an All-Pro receiver.
CT: What is the greatest victory in Oklahoma State athletics that you have witnessed?
CW: The greatest victory I've witnessed in person has to be the 2011 Bedlam game. OSU was ranked No. 3 in the country at the time, and was a touchdown favorite over Oklahoma. OSU was the better team, no doubt about it. However, OSU hadn't beaten OU since the 2002 season, and had never won the Big 12. That changed on Dec. 3, 2011. The Cowboys beat the hell out of OU for four quarters, routing them 44-10. We stormed the field, celebrated with the players, and had the best time. I think most OSU fans would give you that answer.
CT: What other teams do you follow?
CW: I've been a Dallas Cowboys fan for most of my life, and that's still my favorite NFL team. Now that I'm living in Kansas City, I've started to follow and pull for the Chiefs more. Following that same vein, I grew up a Texas Rangers fan, but have become a huge Kansas City Royals fan since moving to Kansas City. I don't love the NBA, but being from Oklahoma City originally, I've got to say the Thunder are my favorite NBA team.
CT: When you hear "Cincinnati," you think ___________
CT: Describe your greatest victory in a sports video game.
CW: Bases loaded. 2 outs. Down 10-7 in the bottom of the ninth. I had an 0-2 count on me with Omar Infante up at the plate. Infante is not known for his power, to put it kindly. But on this night, the result was in the stars. I get a fastball grooved down the middle and sent it into the cheap seats. Walkoff grand slam for the 11-10 win. I'm debating putting it on my professional résumé.
Follow Cade Webb on Twitter: @CWebb_CRFF
While you’re at it, follow SB Nation’s Oklahoma State site as well: @CowboysRFF
For more of the same, you may as well follow me on Twitter too: @ClaytonTrutor