After fighting through injury all season — and especially last week just to be out on the field for Bedlam — starting quarterback Spencer Sanders on Saturday was a no-go in the regular-season finale vs. West Virginia, fueling speculation that he may have already played his last game with the Cowboys.
Mike Gundy postgame was curiously mysterious about QB1 and the situation surrounding him, too. While Sanders was believed to be out because of injury, Gundy when asked if he was unavailable was very much straddling a fence with his answer on that topic.
“Yeah, I mean, for the most part, yes,” he said.
So was Sanders available or was he not? He was in pads when he appeared for Senior Day. Maybe that meant nothing. Maybe that meant something. But good luck getting a straight answer from Gundy on that.
“I’m not sure, really, how to answer that anymore,” Gundy said about whether he was available. “It just depends on how he feels and kind of where our medical people are. It’s not an injury that’s black and white. It’s a gray area so you just kind of roll with it as it goes.”
Behind the scenes, speculation has been spreading recklessly about whether this is it for Sanders in Stillwater. Was Bedlam his last game in the orange and black? Will he turn pro? Is a transfer imminent? Is all this just message board fodder that ultimately means nothing?
Sanders does have one year of eligibility remaining should he choose to use it but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be back in college next season — much less at OSU. A transfer elsewhere would make some sense and wouldn’t make sense at the same time. He could go somewhere new and get a clean start at a bigger program that may benefit him more financially on the NIL front, sure. But he seems to be doing OK there at OSU; earlier this month he inked a deal with Eskimo Joe’s but it’s unclear if that’s a long-term or short-term arrangement. It’s likely he has some sort of out if he wants it.
No one knows what he wants but him and his family. Having him back at OSU next season would be an obvious boon to its prospects — it’s very rare that a program can build around fifth-year starting quarterbacks — but a fresh start for OSU and for Sanders seems plausible given how this season and the last few months have unfolded.
So who knows?
Now that it’s officially bowl season, those conversations will officially commence in earnest behind closed doors, but Gundy, for his part, said that he won’t be the one involved in that — with QB1 or anyone else.
“I don’t have those conversations,” he said Saturday. “A little bit different times today. These players have conversations with their family and their representatives. And at some point they’ll let us know two, three weeks from now probably. I don’t get involved in those conversations.”
“I mean, what am I going to say? It’s their future, it’s their career,” he continued. “They’ll have a representative, they’ll have family members that’ll have thoughts on what they want to do. The head coach is really not a factor in that.”