After having the best season in school history back in 2011, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are looking to defend their Big 12 title in 2012. Their poll position will be a big part of how well they can do this season, and it is time to predict where they will be ranked when the AP poll comes out August 18.
To make an accurate prediction, it would make sense for us to look at the other major polls that have already been released as they will give us at least some kind of picture as to the national perception of the Cowboy program right now. The reason this is important is because how high a team is ranked in the beginning is a huge determinant in how far they can rise or fall throughout the season.
ESPN.com Power Rankings
The power rankings that ESPN does has Oklahoma State ranked at No. 22, which would put five Big 12 schools ahead of them in their rankings. Texas, TCU, West Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma are all better than the Cowboys coming into the 2012 season according to ESPN.
While this ranking is not outlandish, it could be considered a bit low for a team that is returning most of its starters from a squad that ranked No. 3 in the nation last season and won the Big 12. Putting Texas ahead of Oklahoma State is understandable, but it is up for debate, especially since the Longhorns have been soundly beaten by the Cowboys two years in a row in Austin.
The USA Today coaches’ poll has Oklahoma State coming in at No. 19 overall in the nation, with four other Big 12 teams ahead of them. The only one of the previously-mentioned teams that is not ahead of the Cowboys in this poll is Kansas State.
Kansas State never gets the respect it deserves, and it should be ranked much higher after winning 10 games last season and returning the best dual-threat quarterback in the nation along with a good defense. Texas is still ahead of the Cowboys, along with the other teams listed above.
Prediction for the AP Poll: No. 21
I’m predicting that the Cowboys' ultimate starting position in the AP poll for the 2012 season will be between that of these two polls. The ESPN poll is pretty right, other than having Texas ahead of the Cowboys. The USA Today poll is a bit too high. While the Cowboys are returning quite a few starters, they did lose two of the best players in the history of the program in Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.
This team is looking to prove that it is among the best in college football this season by continuing to be a force in the Big 12 and nationally. A ranking of No. 21 not only allows them the opportunity to do that, but it is also an accurate reflection of this team’s position in relation to the other Division I college football programs.