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Better Know An Opponent: Oklahoma State

This is the fifth in an 11-part series highlighting 5 things you may not know about Mizzou’s opponents in the 2009 football season. Please keep in mind that while everything below is true, it’s meant in jest.

Part One – Illinois

Part Two – Bowling Green

Part Three -- Nevada

Part Four -- Nebraska

Today's profile: The Oklahoma State Cowboys

(Sorry this is late, but I'M NOT YOUR JESTER!)

1) We're going to start today with a little bit of a quiz.

The three largest universities in Oklahoma are the University of Oklahoma (29,931 students), Oklahoma State University (23,307 students) and the University of Central Oklahoma (15,724 students).

For $1,000,000, tell me which school was established first.

I'll wait.


You say, the University of Oklahoma, right?

Congratulations: you just lost a chance at a million dollars.

All three schools were established at the same time, in 1890, thanks to the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature's vote to "create public school systems and universities of higher education."

Don't you feel dumb? It's OK, I'll give you a chance at redemption.

Tell me which of the three schools has the most separate branches in its system.

Five seconds.


You say, the University of Oklahoma, right?

Wow, you just missed out on a million dollars twice. And I was really going to pay you.

Oklahoma State University, originally known as Oklahoma A&M University, has five schools in its system: Stillwater (the flagship, and the school we're talking about), Okmulgee, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and the Center for Health Sciences (also located in Tulsa).

The University of Oklahoma? Just one campus, in Norman.

Way to go, dumbass.

2) Think back a while, way back when I was making fun of Illinois. Remember when I gave them hell for being a "space-grant university"? Remember how asinine and clearly monetarily-motivated that was?

Illinois' got nothing on Oklahoma State.

Get this: Oklahoma State is one of just five "sun-grant universities" in the world. Yes: sun-grant.

The idea comes from 2003, when Congress passed the Sun Grant Research Initiative Act of 2003. It gave five centers - in this case, five universities in five different geographic regions - a grant for researching and developing sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy alternatives. The other four universities, in case you're interested, are Cornell (how did I miss that?!?), Oregon State, South Dakota State and Tennessee.

The tragic part of all of this, though, is that Oklahoma State took it too far. While lobbying to get the sun grant, OSU actually tried to send four students to the sun.

It went predictably downhill from there.

(I swear to Christ, if some science-y type guy gets on here and says something like, "But, he'd disintegrate if he made it to the sun!", I'm just going to lose it.)

3) Do it.

Here we go!


John Ashley, the guy who talks at the beginning of the intro to "The A-Team." Seriously! Look it up!

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens.

The late Clem McSpadden, Democratic U.S. Representative of Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District. I mention him only because Oklahoma elected a dude named Clem to national office.


4) This is Pistol Pete, the mascot of Oklahoma State University.

He was subsequently ripped off by Wyoming...

...and New Mexico State.

That's all well and good, you know? There's lots of mascot theft in America. But what Thailand?!?

In 2005, Thep Phongparnich, the president of Maejo University in Thailand, received Oklahoma State's Distinguished International Alumni Award. In a show of appreciation, they actually adopted Pistol Pete as the mascot of Maejo. No, seriously!

Though, they changed it around a little bit.

5) Arguably the most disgraceful event in Oklahoma State history occurred on October 20, 1951. During a football game against Drake University, Oklahoma A&M (as it was known at the time) defensive tackle Wilbanks Smith knocked Drake halfback/quarterback Johnny Bright unconscious three times in the first seven minutes of the game.

Sounds vicious, but relatively inoccuous. Until you consider that Bright was the first prominent African-American player to play in Stillwater.

The third and final blow broke Bright's jaw. Too bad he threw a 61-yard touchdown pass on the very next play. Oklahoma A&M won the game, but the game is largely remembered for what was pretty clearly a racially motivated attack.

Quoth Bright after the game: "There's no way it couldn't have been racially motivated."

Pretty shameful. But it gets worse.

Not until SEPTEMBER 28, 2005 did Oklahoma State formally apologize for the incident, in a letter from University president David J. Schmidly to Drake President David Maxwell.

Apparently, it takes a while to write letters, you know. Consider the letter than then-Missouri Governor Matt Blunt sent to then-Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius back in 2006.

Tune in next week for the sixth installment of Better Know An Opponent!