Monday, May 23, 2011

Around the Big XII, Part 5. Oklahoma State

Okie State cutie
Last time I talked about a team that suffers from the inferiority complex of playing 2nd fiddle in their own state, the Kansas State Wildcats.  For this discussion multiply that by about 10 and you might begin to have an understanding of what it's like to be Oklahoma State.  They've had some fabulous football seasons lately and been in a position to claim some Big XII titles, but cross state rival Oklahoma always seems to muck it up for them.  Despite that success and more in basketball as well as wrestling, baseball and other minor sports, the Cowboys are more known for T. Boone Pickens spending habits and Mike Gundy's meltdown when he announced to the world that "I'm 40, I'm a man".  And to make it even more K State similar, they can't even call themselves the rival of their in state competitor.
another receiver torches the beaks
Offensively it's entirely possible that the Cowboys could be even better than their sometime eye popping numbers from last season.  They do lose star running back Kendall Hunter, and his 1548 rushing yards aren't going to be easy to replace, but freshman Joseph Randle put up over 400 yards in a backup role and who knows if they miss a beat.  But the main thing is the Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon connection will continue for one more year.   Last season Weeden threw for almost 4,300 yards and 34 touchdowns and Blackmon was the recipient of 1782 of those yards while collecting 20 touchdown passes.  Okie State put up 575 points last year and while it's hard to comprehend them being better, it's just not out of the realm of possible.  Defensively it's going to be a different story however as the Cowboys lose 6 starters and 5 of their front 7 from a somewhat pedestrian bunch once conference play started.  It looks like it will be another year of play station ball games in Stillwater.
Boone Pickens Stadium
Schedule wise, the Cowboys should have little problems making another bowl game this year.  They open at home against Louisiana Lafayette and Arizona before traveling to Tulsa.  The home schedule includes laughers against kansas and Kansas State but a tougher contest against Baylor before closing their season against Bedlam rival Oklahoma.  Their final road game of the year is against hapless Iowa State, but they also make road trips to College Station, Austin and CoMO.  The critical stretch for Okie Lite will be in mid October when they travel to Texas and Missouri on back to back weeks.  Right now, I'm picking them to start the season 3-0 and then go before going 6-3 in conference to finish 9-3.  That's going to be good enough to catch them a trip to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl.
I've kind of been saving my next preview because I think it's going to be a lot of fun to write.  We'll travel back up north to take a look at the Tigers most hated rival, the kansas jayhawks.


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