Sean’s Unreliable Prediction: Oklahoma State Cowboys
I give you my prediction on the 2011 football season for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.Oklahoma State has found themselves in a great opportunity. They have put together one of their best teams in a time where Nebraska is no longer part of the Big 12, UT is a shadow of their former selves and Texas Tech is a year away from competing for a conference title.
The race for the Big 12 will run through Norman, with Stillwater, College Station and Columbia all posing legitimate threats.
The Cowboys will have to find a way to continue their explosive offense after Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgorsen left to become the head honcho at West Virginia. Now the pressure falls on new OC Todd Monken to keep the nation’s No. 3 hitting on all cylinders. If it fails, the only reason be Monken. The Cowboys return WR Justin Blackmon, QB Brandon Weeden and have RB’s Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith to replace Kendall Hunter. There is no reason for the offense not to be ranked in the top 5, at least.
If the Cowboys hope to compete with the Sooners for the Big 12, they’ll need the defense to step up. We all know defensive numbers are skewed in the high flying Big 12 Conference, so rankings are a bit deceiving. Regardless, the 115th ranked pass defense has to improve and the should. They return three members of their secondary from last season and those guys are led by strong safety Markelle Martin. The problem with this defense has been consistency. The are deep and athletic but they seem to take plays off, or lose their focus.
The Cowboys non-conference schedule is competitive and should build up their credibility, but they Cowboys should win them all. Getting Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas and Missouri on the road is a tough break in the new round robin format of the Big 12 and will certainly challenge the Cowboys. I see the Cowboys losing at least 2 of those 4, and the Red Raiders causing the 3rd loss with one of their signature upsets in the Jones. The Cowboys are talented enough to challenge for the Big 12 but the schedule is so hard I don’t see it happening.
Key Game: @ Texas A&M 9/24
This game will decide who challenges OU for the Big 12 title. If the Aggies or Cowboys lose, the game is early enough that both teams could recover but not enough of a recovery to fight for the title.
All in All:
I figure the Cowboys to be competitive and a force to be reckoned with but not enough of a threat take the title from OU. Even with OU’s current injuries.
Schedule: 9-3 (Alamo Bowl)
9/3 Louisiana Lafayette – Win
9/10 Arizona – Win
9/17 @ Tulsa – Win
9/24 @ Texas A&M – Loss
10/8 Kansas – Win
10/15 @ Texas – Win
10/22 @ Missouri – Loss
10/29 Baylor – Win
11/5 Kansas State – Win
11/12 @ Texas Tech – Loss
11/19 @ Iowa State – Win
11/26 Oklahoma – Win