The college football rankings countdown from Campus Insiders slates the Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 23. Here are five things that matter heading into OSU’s 2016 season.
Let’s try this again
It got quickly blown off late last season, but Oklahoma State started out 10-0 and had Baylor and Oklahoma coming to Stillwater. Also forgotten after a loss to the Bears, the Cowboys still had a shot at being the Big 12’s One True Champion if they could’ve beaten the Sooners. This year’s team should be even better with a potentially devastating offense, and a good enough defense to get by in some of the biggest games.
The offensive pieces are there
He’s not among the hottest quarterbacks coming into the season, but Mason Rudolph is good enough and talented enough to become the best of the loaded lot. With All-America-caliber receiver James Washington leading a terrific corps, a good enough group of running backs – helped by the addition of Barry Sanders Jr. – and with a veteran line, the O will be fantastic.
No more defensive meltdowns?
The defense was hardly a brick wall last year, but it was good enough throughout the year to, again, start 10-0. The Cowboys allowed 151 points in the final three games – all losses – and they failed to generate enough of a pass rush. This year, the line needs work, the secondary needs corner help, and there have to be more plays behind the line. Or else just hope the offense is really just that unstoppable.
Overall, the lines have to be better
There’s no Emmanuel Ogbah on the defensive front that has to camp out in opposing backfields during shootouts – something that was missing last year when Ogbah wasn’t dominating. On the other side, the line has to keep Rudolph in one piece after allowing 32 sacks and not doing enough for the ground game.
What Does This All REALLY Mean?
The Cowboys have too much offense to not be deep in the thick of the Big 12 title chase, but unlike last year when they got all the big boys at home, this year they must travel to Baylor, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma. They’ll lose all four road games and go 8-4.