Kazan artists worked through the night on Friday painting a mural of Argentina’s Lionel Messi to match one of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo on a building opposite, saving the blushes of the World Cup host city.The three-storey portrait of Ronaldo was painted on a building behind the Ramada Hotel to welcome the five-times World Player of the Year when Portugal played in the capital of Tatarstan in the 2017 Confederations Cup.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGETo the embarrassment of city officials, it turned out that Argentina would be staying at the same hotel ahead of Saturday’s World Cup last 16 clash against France with Messi potentially being able to see the Ronaldo mural from his room.ROUND OF 16 LINEUP & SCHEDULETo avoid to appear to be taking sides in the eternal debate over which of the Spain-based forwards is the world’s best player, the city commissioned the smaller side profile of Messi. Not that they were above trying to foster a bit of competition between the pair, with pictures taken from the hotel revealing the sentence “I scored 4 goals. Can you beat that. Leo?” newly-painted above the Ronaldo portrait.FIFA WORLD CUP 2018: Who plays who in the round of 16Fans were already gathering outside the hotel hours before the arrival of Messi, also a five-times World Player of the Year, and his compatriots.FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – STATSRonaldo scored a hat-trick in Portugal’s opening group game against Spain and added another goal in their match against Morocco, while Messi got off the mark in the 2-0 win over Nigeria that secured Argentina’s place in the knockout stages.advertisement
The outcome of the Baylor game on Saturday was a huge bummer. Losing on the road to a touchdown favorite that was ranked inside the top 20 only after you turned it over four times, got inside the five-yard-line twice in the last 13 minutes and never scored and gave them 99.5 yards for the dagger is never a good thing. But there is certainly a silver lining.“We can’t beat ourselves,” said Tre Flowers on Monday. “We are in conference play, and no matter what people say, the Big 12 is a powerful conference. We have to get turnovers to give our offense more chances.”How you feel about the rest of OSU’s season is largely dependent on how you feel about Baylor. Remember last year? Remember the shellacking OSU took at home at the hands of a third string QB? OSU played them closer last season (45-35) than this season (35-24), but the games could not have felt any different.Remember how outclassed OSU was in 2015? Remember how many horses Baylor had and unleashed on a 10-0 Oklahoma State team? Remember how defeating that was? How uncontrollable it seemed? It was like playing Madden on All-Madden level after you had just spent five years playing on junior varsity. Like trying to shoot a basketball into a paper cup.Berry Tramel wrote on Saturday about how Mike Gundy was after the game. He should be. I don’t blame him. His defense let him down, his running back coughed up the game and he wasted a real chance to take hold of a wacky and wild conference race heading into the heart of the season. He should have been overturning boats on the Brazos.“My comments after the game were because I was upset for our team – coaches and players – because we were in a position to win the game and, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but when you turn the ball over multiple times in critical points on the field and you give up big plays on defense – we gave up nine against Pitt and gave up ten against Baylor – it’s very difficult to win,” said Gundy. “You have to have a much superior athletic team. Well, Oklahoma State’s not been in that position … very much. So what happens then is you lose.”The glimmer of hope though is that OSU was not outclassed, out-horsed or out-talented. Nobody thinks otherwise. Now maybe you think Baylor is down or doesn’t have the talent it has had in the past, and I’ll listen to that argument. But OSU still stood toe-to-toe with a team that has consistently out-crooted the Pokes, and there was not a clear talent differential like there was last year. Guess which of those two teams from last Saturday has the most wins of any Big 12 team since 2011? It’s not OSU. Baylor is good and talented, and they aren’t demonstrably (if at all) better than the Cowboys.Could OSU be better on defense? Of course. Does it lack at the cornerback position and on the offensive line? Sure. But the glimmer of hope is that you can’t name me a team in the Big 12 and say, “this team is definitely more talented than Oklahoma State.” (You might be able to do this with OU after this weekend … but not right now).“You can take it either way,” said Jordan Burton on Monday. We try to look at the positives. We’re a couple of plays from being 4-0 but that also says we have a lot of potential that we can fulfill. We still haven’t played up to our best football, so that’s exciting to look forward to.”You can’t fix talent when talent is not there, and last year OSU could do nothing against its opponents in its last three games. Maybe Baylor is less talented this season or maybe OSU is more talented. I don’t know. But what I watched on Saturday is an OSU team that is a few fixes from being a Big 12 force. Maybe I think differently after the Texas game on Saturday, but for now, I still think OSU is a pretty dang good football team.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!