The Oklahoma State Cowboys have had to play some tough teams in the last few seasons, and the upcoming 2013-14 season will be no exception.
While many of their biggest games are against familiar opponents, there are at least a few big games that will be largely unfamiliar territory. How the Cowboys navigate those matchups and their tougher, more familiar ones will determine just how good a campaign the 2013-14 season is.
These games are given in chronological order, but no one should have any problem understanding which ones are really the biggest ones.
The Cowboys will travel to Reliant Stadium in Houston for their first game of the season, in which they will do battle with the Bulldogs of Mississippi State.
This game is big for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is just how talented the Bulldogs are. While Mississippi State did struggle against the tougher teams in their SEC West Division, they can hardly be blamed. Playing Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU in consecutive weeks would be difficult for any program.
The Bulldogs finished the season with an 8-5 record, but they will be looking to show the nation their talent in this first game. Oklahoma State will have to be ready for a tough, physical matchup.
Most importantly, the game will be an opportunity for the Cowboys to prove themselves as a contender on the national stage. How this game goes will set the tone for the rest of the 2013-14 season.
This year will mark the first time since 1928 that the Cowboys have played in Morgantown, West Virginia. Needless to say, that town is extremely tough to play in, given its outlier status compared to the rest of the conference and its rabid fans.
The Mountaineers had a tough first year in the Big 12. They started out the 2012-13 season 5-0, only to lose five straight games right after and wind up at 7-6 on the year.
Still, head coach Dana Holgorsen knows how to coach offense, and he and his team will be wanting revenge for the 21-point drubbing they suffered in Stillwater this past season. The familiarity the players and coaching staffs have with one another makes this game big as well.
The Kansas State Wildcats may be losing quarterback Collin Klein, but they will still be one of the best teams in the Big 12, especially when it comes to playing good, fundamental football.
The games between the Wildcats and Cowboys are almost always amazing games. This past season was a bit of a lopsided affair, but even it was still just a 14-point differential. These teams also have great battles that are fun to watch.
Their matchup during the 2013-14 season should be no different. Kansas State and Oklahoma State are both programs that are trending upward and the winner of this game should be a contender for the conference title.
In any given season, the Cowboys’ biggest games will always include Texas and a certain other opponent who I’ll wait until the next slide to mention.
The Texas game has not been this late in the year for awhile now, and it should be interesting to see how that affects Oklahoma State’s performance in it. Despite a very close loss at home to the Longhorns this past season, the Cowboys have won the last two games played between the two teams in Austin.
At this point in the season, both of these teams will be well-established in who they are and how good they are. Both have young players that play vital roles, so you would hope each would be better as those guys mature.
This is always the biggest game on the schedule. The Cowboys have proven over the last three years that Bedlam is no longer a sure-fire win for the Sooners.
Winning the game in 2011-12 and losing by just a single possession in 2010-11 and 2012-13, the Cowboys have made this rivalry one of the better in-state ones in college football. This game is even becoming a bigger one for the Sooners.
Despite what the Cowboys do in every other game, this is always the game that the season is judged the most on. A win here makes the whole year a success. A loss brings back memories of inferiority. The Cowboys bring back more experience than Oklahoma in 2012-13, so, for once, they will have the more seasoned team when this game comes around.