(Story originally posted on SB Nation’s ISU site: Wide Right & Natty Lite.)
WRNL is proud to present nine weekly articles from Kagavi leading up to the official release of The Adventures of Robot Cy, a fictional 8-bit video game trailer that never was.
In a faraway futuristic time, college football has been taken over by robot mascots. Join Robot Cy as he travels through many thrilling levels to find out who is behind this nefarious plot!
Every week during the conference season, Kagavi will preview the ISU football game using this project as inspiration by asking what power ups could Robot Cy gain by defeating the other Big 12 robot mascots?
As expected, Iowa State quickly took the lead against Oklahoma in the highly anticipated game last week at Norman. The rest is a blur. Robot Cy also nabbed the coveted Double Trouble power up from Robot Boomer Sooner while they were Boomering their Sooner. Thankfully after facing TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma in close succession, the schedule finally eases off with undefeated Oklahoma State coming to Ames with a sterling 9 – 0 record and shiny # 5 ranking. We all know about 2011 and in 2013, they extracted revenge on ISU with a 58 – 27 win. Last year, the OSU win resulted in ISU AD Jamie Pollard sharing some, uhh, strong opinions in the post game press conference.
But what if Robot Cy was facing off against Robot Pistol Pete?
If Robot Pistol Pete used the best parts of OSU football history to inspire a power up, what would it be? Let’s explore some OSU history.
In 1890, the Oklahoma Territory formed both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (née A&M) as the state university and the agriculture college respectively. Old Central was constructed as the first permanent building and it still stands on campus. An even neater building, Williams Hall aka “Castle on the Prarie” was constructed, but sadly torn down in 1969. While searching for an identity in those early years, OSU copied Princeton’s colors and nickname, earning them the “Princeton on the Prairie” moniker.
Football got a slow start in Stillwater–the first season wasn’t until 1901. The first game against Oklahoma in 1904 featured a mishandled punt that led to both teams scrambling for the loose ball in a frigid river. Aside from an outlier game in 1926, ISU started playing OSU regularly in 1960 and the overall series stands at 28 wins, 18 losses, and 3 ties in OSU’s favor.
In 1923, a local parade featured Frank Eaton, the legendary Old West gunslinger and his presence inspired a group of OSU students to propose his likeness as a replacement for the current Tiger mascot. It was felt Eaton would be a better representation of Oklahoma, because of his wild and wooly life that would fit right in a Quentin Tarantino film.
Eaton’s tale started in the late 1860s when his father was gunned down in the family home by six former Confederate soldiers for being a Yankee veteran and northern sympathizer. Eaton was just eight years old, but the murder would guide the rest of his life. He earned the “Pistol Pete” nickname as a teenager by being a crack shot, which came in handy later. Look at this excerpt from The Real Wild West by Michael Wallis:
“Eager to avenge his father’s murder, Pistol Pete Eaton wound up riding on both sides of the law. While still a teenager, he became a United States deputy marshal in Indian Territory, and he later took a job as a “troubleshooter” for a cattleman’s association . . . During Eaton’s short stint as a hand at the 101 Ranch, his fellow cowboys could not help but notice the eleven notches on the butt of his pistol. Six of the marks stood for the men he had killed while serving as a sworn law officer for Judge Isaac Parker. The other five represented his father’s murderers whom Pistol Pete had methodically tracked down and killed. A sixth died before Eaton got to him.
In later year, when some of the old Cherokee Outlet cowpunchers got together to reminisce and trade stories, Pistol Pete–with his great drooping mustache and waist-length braids decorated with ribbons–sometimes showed up. He still toted his Colt .45 pistol and always kept it loaded. “I’d rather have a pocket full of rocks than an empty gun,” Eaton told the veteran cowpunchers. That gun was still loaded and by his side when Pistol Pete finally died with his boots on at age ninety-eight.”
The Cowboys nickname started to worm its way into popular culture and in the 1950s when nearly every other school adopted mascots including ISU’s Cy and Iowa’s Herky, OSU went ahead and made Pistol Pete an official part of the university.
OSU football is clearly overshadowed by nearby Oklahoma (they have beat OSU 84 times and lost just 18 times with 7 ties), but I was surprised to learn about their overall championship history. On the list of schools with the most NCAA team championships in all sports, three California schools–UCLA, Stanford, and USC–dominate the field with over 100 each. Waaaay back in fourth place as the leader of the non-California pack is OSU with 51 as of this writing.
In recent years, OSU has sent several excellent wide receivers to the NFL, including Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant, but if there’s one thing for OSU to hang their hat on, it’s running backs. Kendall Hunter, Thurman Thomas, Terry Miller (Heisman runner-up in 1977), and Bob Fenimore, the “Blonde Bomber” who was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bears after leading OSU to their only undefeated season in 1945. Thurman Thomas went on to a pro Hall of Fame career with the Buffalo Bills and there was significant concern in Stillwater after he graduated, but his backup was a kid named Barry Sanders.
Barry Sanders “took a flamethrower” to the NCAA record book in 1988, finishing the season with 2,850 yards on the ground and 44 total touchdowns. The season was only 11 games long, plus a Holiday Bowl win over Wyoming, and Sanders often sat out the fourth quarter of blowout wins. It’s fair to assume he would’ve broken 3,000 yards with today’s schedules and offenses. His best game was a 332 yard effort against Texas Tech in Tokyo and his worst game was a “mediocre” 154 yards against Missouri. Heck, even the ISU game was only the fifth best game of the year for Sanders: 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. We nearly made the OSU power up a flamethrower to honor this season.
Thus, after this brief look at Oklahoma State history, it seems clear that the power up for Robot Pistol Pete should be a homage to Frank Eaton’s particular brand of justice in the face of evil, inspired by the sheriff star badges of the Wild West.
The Silver Star power up allows Robot Cy to dish out some sweet, delicious justice as needed. Remember when Deon Broomfield was the victim of a Longhorn cheap shot? Just imagine having this power up available. This may be the most powerful weapon that Robot Cy has obtained. All college football fans are grateful for the time in 2011 that Robot Pistol Pete shot a huge Silver Star towards the hated BCS, causing the whole thing to blow up leading to the newly created playoffs. Unfortunately, Robot Pistol Pete had to sacrifice OSU’s best team in school history, but it was a small price to pay. If Robot Cy had access to this power up, what historical football (or basketball) seasons could have turned out much differently? What players or teams are in need of some justice sent their way?
Are there any other possible power ups that would fit Robot Pistol Pete? Share them in the comments!