2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 22 Oklahoma State Cowboys
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Oklahoma State Cowboys
No. 22: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State Cowboys Prespring Status
The second-best team in the Big 12 last season, the Cowboys rolled after a rocky start, winning eight of their last nine. The loss to Oklahoma killed the Big 12 title dreams but a total destruction of Colorado in the bowl win ended things on a high note. The offense averaged close to 500 yards per game, the defense was just good enough against a schedule full of loaded attacks, and with the talent returning, the team is trending up.
QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington chose to return for their senior seasons, giving OSU – arguably – the best pitch-catch combo in college football. Now, seven starters are back for the high-octane offense, but the defense has to replace six starters – seven depending on the alignment. It’ll once again be a year of shootout after shootout.
Oklahoma State Cowboys Biggest Issue
Defensive tackle. Yeah, it’s important to play a little bit of defense here and there in the Big 12, and now the Cowboys have to replace CB Ashton Lampkin and leading-tackler Jordan Sterns from the secondary, Jordan Burton at one linebacker spot, and anchor Vincent Taylor early to the NFL at tackle. Motekiai Maile is gone at the other spot for a run defense that was wildly inconsistent, but allowed 145 yards or fewer in three of the final four games.
Oklahoma State Cowboys Biggest Positive
Rudolph-to-Washington. The backfield needs more rushing options to help out Justice Hill, but the O will roll with the passing game. Rudolph will grow into one of the year’s hottest pro prospects, coming off a 4,091-yard, 28 touchdown season with just four picks. Washington has been one of the best receivers in college football over the last two years, averaging over 19 yards per catch last season with ten scores. Throw in the 73 catches from leading receiver Jalen McCleskey, and the air show will be a whole lot of fun.
Really, Why Are The Oklahoma State Cowboys Ranked Here?
Defense worse, offense slightly better – that’s still good enough to finish in the top three of the Big 12 if everything breaks right. It’s possible that Rudolph and company bomb their way to wins, but there are just enough holes to keep the Cowboys from improving on last year’s ten-win season.