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Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said there are five college football brands that carry more weight than the rest. Five brands that mean just a bit more when their logos flash across the screen. He wouldn’t say what they are, but he did mention one of them.

Notre Dame.

“I think most of us that have followed college football for a long time would say that Notre Dame’s helmet is going to stand out across the country,” Gundy said.

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That helmet will be on display at 1 p.m. ET Saturday when the Fighting Irish face Gundy’s Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl. Gundy has said multiple times in the weeks leading up to the game he is excited to go against one of the premier programs in the sport.

“This is a really good football team,” Gundy said. “I think they deserve to be ranked fifth in the country.”

When the ball is kicked off, though, it’ll be about more than just notoriety oozing from the opposing sideline for Gundy. He wants similar recognition when spectators see his own program’s logo. He believes that has already become the norm.

Above all, he said his No. 9 Cowboys have earned it.

“Oklahoma State’s logo now is marketable and popular from coast to coast,” Gundy said. “We’ve had tremendous success for a long time here and we have been fortunate enough to play and go toe-to-toe with top five, top 10 teams for a number of years now. So, we have a marketable logo.”

Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish football
Gundy has respect for Notre Dame but believes Oklahoma State deserves national recognition, too.

Gundy’s message about the perception of Notre Dame and Oklahoma State has made its way through the Pokes’ locker room. Defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements echoed Gundy’s sentiments.

“They’re a good football program,” Clements said of Notre Dame. “There’s a reason they’re in this game. There’s a reason we’re in this game. I think you got two very talented teams.”

The message of not taking this game for granted has also made its way through the Oklahoma State locker room. Gundy publicized his prior attempt to schedule a home-and-home series with Notre Dame. It didn’t work out because Notre Dame didn’t have any room left on its upcoming schedules.

This is Oklahoma State’s one opportunity to take on the Irish. That has resonated with Cowboys players.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to show our skills and what we have at OSU as a whole,” linebacker Devin Harper said. “And then we’re also playing a team that a lot of people don’t get to play because they have such a long wait list to play these guys, since they’re such a prestigious team and such a team that is kind of like isolated to playing who they want to play and playing certain people.”



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