Oklahoma State Football: Updated Game-by-Game Predictions for 2014
Oklahoma State Cowboys football begins in just one week, making now a good time to revisit predictions made last spring, just as the Cowboys were breaking from spring camp.
That was three months ago. Players have moved up and down the depth charts, young men have been suspended or injured, and the college football landscape in general has shifted to merit a second look at the Pokes' schedule.
The question is: Do those predictions we made in April still hold water? Or were we completely off our rocker?
Oklahoma State vs. Florida State (Neutral Site, August 30)
Spring Prediction: Florida State 56, Oklahoma State 28
Here's the good news: The Seminoles will be without one of their main red-zone threats in Isaiah Jones, and Mike Gundy claims that the 2014 defensive line might just be the best one he's ever had, per John Helsley of The Oklahoman.
Now for the bad news. Florida State might have the best secondary and offensive line in the nation. Further, Oklahoma State's quarterback situation still doesn't seem to be decided with just a week to go before the opener.
Oh, and Florida State happens to be the defending national champion, and are led by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
The Pokes have a very (veeeeery) slim shot of pulling a surprise upset. After all, the stadium will likely be full of Oklahoma State fans (the game is in Dallas, Texas), and this is a young team that doesn't really know what it has yet.
However, all signs point to a big Seminoles win.
Updated Prediction: Florida State 56, Oklahoma State 21
Overall Record: 0-1 (Big 12 0-0)
Missouri State at Oklahoma State (September 6)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 42, Missouri State 17
Looking back on the April predictions, we might've been a little hard on Missouri State. Sure, they probably don't have a chance to win, but the Bears aren't an absolutely terrible football team.
In fact, this game might be a little closer than previously predicted, as Gundy will probably give J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman a few series each to show him they deserve to hold the starting quarterback position for the rest of the year—making consistency a question mark for the offense.
However, Oklahoma State's defense and its home crowd will likely be too much for Missouri State to overcome. Look for a win, but not a complete dismantling.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 35, Missouri State 21
Overall Record: 1-1 (Big 12 0-0)
UTSA at Oklahoma State (September 13)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, UTSA 28
This prediction looks like it holds up. Oklahoma State will likely (hopefully?) have its quarterback situation sorted out, and the offense will be firing on all cylinders.
That means the Pokes can start using their most dangerous weapon, Tyreek Hill, in new and interesting ways. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see him creep above the century mark in yards from scrimmage for the first time this season against the Roadrunners.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, UTSA 28
Overall Record: 2-1 (Big 12 0-0)
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (September 25)
Spring Prediction: Texas Tech 49, Oklahoma State 35
Three months later, the questions about Oklahoma State's young defense, particularly its secondary, remain. Obviously, Florida State is going to put up points on this squad, as it's the team's first real experience as a unit.
However, this game is the real test of how good this defense will be in 2014. Texas Tech was the second-best team in the FBS last year, and it doesn't look like much has changed.
Given that this game is at home, don't be surprised if the Cowboys feed off their crowd and make a few big plays on defense to steal it. That said, it seems likely that the Red Raiders are going to win this shootout.
Updated Prediction: Texas Tech 45, Oklahoma State 38
Overall Record: 2-2 (0-1)
Iowa State at Oklahoma State (October 4)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 42, Iowa State 21
Luckily for Oklahoma State, it gets to go from what looks like a disappointing loss to a quartet of winnable games.
First up are the Iowa State Cyclones in what will be the final contest of a four-game homestand. Iowa State is coming off a 3-9 season in 2013, and that win total probably won't improve much in 2014.
Look for a relatively easy home victory for the Pokes.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, Iowa State 24
Overall Record: 3-2 (Big 12 1-1)
Oklahoma State at Kansas (October 11)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 48, Kansas 28
As mentioned in the previous slide, this four-game stretch in the meat of the season provides the Pokes with a great chance to regroup after a loss to Texas Tech.
Additionally, it gives them room to breathe before that nasty stretch of contests to finish the season.
Oklahoma State really needs to follow up the Texas Tech game with four straight wins if it wants to stay bowl eligible. These first two are the gimmes—it's their next game that really matters.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 48, Kansas 21
Overall Record: 4-2 (Big 12 2-1)
Oklahoma State at TCU (October 18)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 24, TCU 17
Outside of the Bedlam game that we'll get to later, this might be the most intriguing contest on the schedule.
The Horned Frogs will field a very good defense and could be improved enough on offense to get their first win over Oklahoma State since joining the Big 12.
However, Oklahoma State knows it needs this win and have had TCU's number the past two years.
Expect that trend to continue with Oklahoma State winning a low-scoring affair.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 21, TCU 17
Overall Record: 5-2 (Big 12 3-1)
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (October 25)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 21
In a rebuilding year like one, this is a game you're circling if you're an Oklahoma State fan.
It's all about revenge here. West Virginia hung a major upset on Oklahoma State last year, which played a big part in the Pokes losing out on their shot for a second Big 12 title (though the Oklahoma game was obviously a major factor).
You have to expect Gundy wants to win this one in dominating fashion, reminding his young team that it is always a mistake to overlook underdog squads. In fact, last year's game could serve as inspiration for the team over the ensuing weeks, as it looks to play spoiler against schools like Texas and Oklahoma.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 14
Overall Record: 6-2 (Big 12 4-1)
Oklahoma State at Kansas State (November 1)
Spring Prediction: Kansas State 35, Oklahoma State 24
With Oklahoma State in rebuilding mode, someone has to step up to join Oklahoma and Baylor as the teams to beat in the Big 12.
If anyone can do it, it's the Kansas State Wildcats. Or, to be more specific, it's head coach Bill Snyder. Snyder always gets his team to play above its skill level, and the Wildcats have consistently been a force to be reckoned with in conference play.
That should be no different this year and, considering the game is being playing in Manhattan, Kansas, the Wildcats should be able to take this one and end the Pokes' four-game winning streak.
Updated Prediction: Kansas State 31, Oklahoma State 21
Overall Record: 6-3 (Big 12 4-2)
Texas at Oklahoma State (November 15)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma State 35, Texas 31
If Texas quarterback David Ash's injury history wasn't such a concern, this would be a much easier game to predict. Unfortunately for Texas fans, we just haven't seen Ash stay on the field long enough to trust him to be in the pocket all of 2014.
However, Texas does get back a healthy Johnathan Gray, who just might be the best running back in the Big 12. Furthermore, the Longhorns always have the athletic talent to field a more-than-serviceable defense.
It's going to be an exciting clash in Stillwater, but the new bet is that Texas will be able to lean on its running game enough to pull off the road win.
Updated Prediction: Texas 28, Oklahoma State 24
Overall Record: 6-3 (Big 12 4-3)
Oklahoma State at Baylor (November 22)
Spring Prediction: Baylor 49 Oklahoma State 31
Oklahoma State was able to completely pick apart the Baylor Bears' game plan last year and cost them their shot at taking home a Big 12 title and BCS bowl bid in a surprising blowout.
Don't expect that to happen again.
Baylor is going to very good in 2014—potentially the best team in the Big 12—and you get the feeling that head coach Art Briles is not going to let his team have a similar performance to last year's end-of-season debacle.
In fact, it wouldn't be shocking to have last year's score flipped in favor of the Bears.
Updated Prediction: Baylor 49, Oklahoma State 28
Overall Record: 6-4 (Big 12 4-4)
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (December 6)
Spring Prediction: Oklahoma 42, Oklahoma State 35
When this article was written in April, the Oklahoma Sooners looked like they might challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff; however, now that idea seems less tangible.
The Sooners lost elite running back recruit and expected immediate contributor Joe Mixon to a season-long suspension. Then, the former Missouri Tigers troubled star Dorial Green-Beckham got the news that he will be ineligible for the year because of transfer rules. And finally, starting linebacker Frank Shannon has joined Mixon on the season-long suspension list.
That means that OU's probable starter at running back is Keith Ford, who ran for 134 yards last year in spot duty. Additionally, quarterback Trevor Knight's job becomes much harder, as Sterling Shepard is really the only proven receiving commodity.
Is OU still going to end the season with double-digit wins? Probably. However, an Oklahoma State win seems much more likely now that the Sooners are already down three impact players and the season is still a week away.
Call us crazy, but it might just be time for some Cowboy Magic.
Updated Prediction: Oklahoma State 27, Oklahoma 24
Overall Record: 7-5 (Big 12 5-4)
In the end, the wins and losses are the same for the Pokes, and they stay bowl eligible in a rebuilding year. However, if these predictions hold, Cowboy fans will be much happier, considering they would have finally taken the Sooners down a peg.