Oklahoma State has been a trendy pick to challenge TCU and Baylor for the top spots in the Big 12, and that ideology will only grow stronger as we get closer to fall camp.
Since we have plenty of time and are overflowing with optimism, let's take a gander at that slate of games for the upcoming 2015 season...
at CENTRAL MICHIGAN, THURSDAY, SEP 3
Cue the Twilight Zone music.
Except it's Central Michigan, and it's the season opener. Gundy has the Cowboys notoriously ready for openers, so I don't care that this is a Thursday night on the road.
The Chippewas were 7-6 (5-3 MAC West) in 2014. Chalk this one up as a win, and get ready for the overreaction no matter what the result.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS, SATURDAY, SEP 12
Let's just say these two games are "central" to Rudolph having the chance to get his feet under him as he embarks on his first season as the starter (Sorry, couldn't help myself).
The Bears were 6-6 (5-3 Southland) and famously took Texas Tech to the brink in their 2014 opener.
No worries in Rudolph's home opener.
UTSA, SATURDAY, SEP 19
The Roadrunners couldn't handle Daxx Garman, and lost more experience than OSU did after 2013.
at TEXAS, SATURDAY, SEP 26
I might have said this is throwing Rudolph "from the frying pan into the fire," but he's already handled Waco and Norman.
Sorry Charlie, but this won't be 2014's Cowboys. If you're rolling out Tyrone Swoops at QB, well...
Strong came in with some fanfare, but he might still be a season away from "his" players beginning to impact the program. There wasn't a ton of "positive" flowing out of spring drills in Austin.
Interestingly enough, the home team has not won in this series since a 28-24 Longhorns victory in 2008 in Austin. Gundy has a chance to make it 4 in a row at DKR, and I think they pull it off. Unfortunately, I don't know if this will tell us much.
KANSAS STATE, SATURDAY, OCT 3
I think this could be where we start to find out what kind of team we have on our hands.
The Wildcats have some uncertainty at QB, and Tyler Lockett is gone, but the Purple Wizard is still in charge, so hang on tight. They will be prepared and will give maximum effort, so basically the polar opposite of Texas.
OSU gets it done, and the hysteria is now in full swing.
at WEST VIRGINIA, SATURDAY, OCT 10
Holgorsen lives to suck the life out of our momentum. Dana always finds a serviceable QB, and his offense is going to move the ball, but they lost some significant talent at QB, RB, and WR. It will be hard to replace all of that.
Besides, I need to pick that screwy Cowboy loss or I will have drunk too much of the Kool Aid.
Not that I haven't already....
BYE, SATURDAY, OCT 17
KANSAS, SATURDAY, OCT 24
Oh...you thought I was going to actually expend mental energy talking about this game?
at TEXAS TECH, SATURDAY, OCT 31
It is Tech, but I have reservations about being on the road on Halloween in Lubbock.
The good part is that nothing is going on in the land of tacos and STD's that indicates football is making a comeback.
TCU, SATURDAY, NOV 7
If OSU manages to get here undefeated, this could be a special game, probably ESPN Gameday (TCU's schedule sets up well for them). Either way, I think it's a great game.
TCU is the only other Big 12 team with a truly settled QB situation (WV named a starter, but he hasn't played a game yet), and Boykin will thrive once again under Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham. The defense will be decent under Patterson, as it almost always is.
Unfortunately I think Patterson and the Frogs will be on a mission this season. The Cowboys will have a chance if they can run the ball.
at IOWA STATE, SATURDAY, NOV 14
If the Cowboys manage to get here undefeated, I'M NOT WATCHING. If not, it deserves the same amount of effort I put into Kansas. This should be Paul Rhoads farewell tour in Ames.
BAYLOR, SATURDAY, NOV 21
That Waco ass ain't makin' it out of Stillwater alive. They should watch the 2013 game film so they're prepared.
Briles has shown the ability to reload new talent, and we will all be curious to see who the new QB is. The stakes could be huge by the time the Bears come to Stillwater.
OKLAHOMA, SATURDAY, NOV 28
2013...a dropped INT and a last minute TD
2014...a stupid coaching decision, 92 yards of history, and OT
Like the old Jerry Clower Coon huntin story "JUST SHOOT UP IN HERE AMONGST US, CUZ ONE OF US HAS GOT TO HAVE SOME RELIEF!"
Mason...Bedlam blowout, please?
The Sooners have a little turmoil at QB, and even if that gets settled, they don't have anyone that is going to set the world on fire. Running back will be just the opposite, as Perine returns and Joe Mixon gets added to the rotation. All we need to keep in mind here is that if Perine doesn't get injured, Bedlam might have been a whole different story, even with Cody Thomas running their offense. Defensively, their DB's are a weak link, and I don't think that changes in 2015.
Not going anywhere near bowl speculation. This is way more than I should have imagined, but, oh well, the cat's out of the bag.
But I don't think it's all that far-fetched to imagine a pretty good season. Last year we all grimaced once things went downhill, but the Cowboys still ended up 6-6 in the regular season. With all the turnover in talent and uncertainty at QB for for the upper tier of the Big 12, plus Kansas, Iowa State, and Texas Tech being, well, Kansas, Iowa State, and Texas Tech, is it so ridiculous to think OSU has a legit shot of at least 3-4 more wins from this group:
- Kansas State
- West Virginia
Let me know if you think I'm way off the range here. Who knows, after Grogan hits the game winner against Central Michigan, this will all be down the toilet before it gets started.