LAS VEGAS -- Oklahoma State star running back Ollie Gordon II did his job. The 2023 Doak Walker Award winner showed up on time, answered all the questions and never complained. Quickly, reporters ran through questions of Gordon's June 30 arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and moved onto other topics. 

In many ways, this was exactly what Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had in mind when he brought Gordon to Allegiant Stadium to face the music at Big 12 Media Days. 

"I told [Gordon], when this is finished today at 4 o'clock, it's over for me," Gundy said. "I've already made the decisions that I think what's best for you and this team, and you need to make the decisions and the comments that you think is best for yourself and the team. And then after today, it's over with. That's what our goal is, and I think we'll be able to get that accomplished." 

Gordon did his job. Unfortunately, Gundy did not. 

When appearing on the ESPN+ broadcast set, Gundy seemed to minimize Gordon's conduct, claiming it was the equivalent of drinking "two or three beers," neglecting that Gordon allegedly had open containers in the car. He asked reporters huddled in a breakout session to think if they had ever driven lightly over the legal limit, though Gordon is also underage. Gundy also said that he had to do what was best for Oklahoma State football, and joked that Gordon's punishment would be carrying the ball 50 times in the first game. 

Perhaps in Gundy's head, he thought back to perhaps his most famous moment. In 2007, Gundy exploded onto the national scene with a legendary rant culminating with the line, "I'm a man, I'm 40," while defending benched quarterback Bobby Reid. 

Gundy was hailed as a fan favorite for allegedly coming to the defense of Reid, a former rising star at quarterback who could not stay healthy. Later, it came out that Reid believed that the info in the infamous column from Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson, in which she characterized Reid as soft and as coddled by his mother, came directly from the staff -- and that Gundy's rant was simply a show. He didn't feel protected by Gundy's rant, he was embarrassed and ultimately left the team. Instead of his rightful place as a solid Oklahoma State quarterback, Reid is remembered only as an avenue for Gundy's own image. 

While Gordon expressed appreciation for Gundy's defense, the latter's rambling comments will only make the incident stick around longer. 

Adding more unfortunate context to this moment, three former college football players -- Khyree Jackson (Oregon and Alabama), Isaiah Hazel (Charlotte and Maryland) and Anthony Lytton (Penn State and Florida State) -- were killed by an alleged drunk driver only three days earlier. Even if Gundy didn't intend to minimize Gordon's actions, making jokes about it so soon after a horrific day in college athletics was tone deaf.  

Heading into his 20th season, the 56-year-old Gundy was asked during a breakout interview who the new face of the Big 12 is with Texas and Oklahoma off to the SEC. 

"It would probably be me, right?" Gundy said with a chuckle. "If I'm being honest, I don't know how that would look on a cover, but it would probably be that." 

For better or worse, Gundy surely does not act like the other faces of college football, for better or worse. In an attempt to try and control the narrative, Gundy instead set off a firestorm. 

In many ways, this new perch as arguably the face of the Big 12 is a new one for Gundy. He is no stranger to controversy -- the context of the "I'm a man" rant remains largely misunderstood and in 2020 he was photographed sporting a t-shirt of far-right news outlet OAN, which caused multiple players on his team to threaten sitting out -- but he has never been the biggest draw in the conference. That was Texas and Oklahoma. In the new-look Big 12, Gundy will have more attention than ever, with less place to hide. 

In his program's orbit, Gundy is playing judge, jury and executioner of a crime while actively hand-waving the offense as an everyday occurrence, one that he hyperbolized as having done "a thousand times." It's true -- many do play fast and loose with buzzed driving. However, instead of fully pushing this as a learning moment for himself and Gordon, he instead justified wrong behavior. If Gundy is the face of the Big 12, then the Big 12 needs to seriously evaluate Gundy's process for adjudicating his program. 

Granted, someone seems to have gotten in Gundy's ear. Late in the day, Gundy was found standing alone near the exits scrolling on his phone. He ultimately sent his first tweet in four months clarifying his comments. 

"My intended point today at Big 12 media days was that we are all guilty of making bad decisions," Gundy wrote. "It was not a reference to something specific." 

Ultimately, the results of how Gundy handled Gordon's arrest aren't a huge deal. DUIs college athletics rarely lead to significant, on-field punishment, for either players or coaches. Gordon allegedly blew a .10 BrAC, just barely over the legal limit. Thankfully, Gordon was stopped and nobody was hurt. 

At media days, Gordon appeared truly remorseful. Talking to several Oklahoma State personnel around him, many raved about Gordon the person, and felt confident that he made a mistake that he won't soon replicate. An Oklahoma State PR staffer asked Gordon at one point whether he needed a break because of the sheer number of questions about his lowest moment, but Gordon trucked on. 

"I feel like it would be disrespectful to have my coaches and teammates up here having to answer questions when I could be there to answer them," Gordon said. 

Gundy's plan made sense: Let Gordon face the music and then move on to what should be a sensational junior season. Unfortunately, Gundy failed to take into account his own ability to execute it.