Gather around, folks! It's time to drink the orange kool-aid!
For weeks now we have seen pollsters and football "genii" repeatedly throw the Oklahoma State Cowboys into the middle of the pack in terms of the Big 12 conference. I'm here to tell them all that they're wrong.
Now that I'm about to destroy the thoughts of actual professionals - what are my qualifications?
- I stood on the second row of the 85 percent empty student section in OkState's 84-0 thrashing of Savannah State.
- I pay copious amounts of money to Oklahoma State to receive an education.
- I primarily write about basketball so that should help me here.
- I once told an OU player that I was going to fight him and he backed away (or didn't hear me). Looking at you Gabe Lynn.
Ok - so maybe I have no real qualifications but who really cares? This OSU team is going to be good and I'm going to regularly tell you that throughout this article so if you don't want to hear it then you should head over to Crimson and Cream Machine right now.
There are three reasons that Oklahoma State is going to win the conference.
- Mason Rudolph
Do I honestly think that Mason Rudolph will win the Heisman? Absolutely not. No chance in hell.
But what will prevent the young star from South Carolina from winning college football's most prestigious award won't be himself. Rather, it will be Oklahoma State's lack of national coverage early on in the season. To be blunt, major media outlets won't give a damn about Mason Rudolph until he leads a heroic Cowboy comeback against No. 1 TCU on November 7th.
Do you remember what happened the last time the Pokes played on November 7th? They slaughtered Iowa State behind 206 yards from Keith Toston. That seems like a good omen to me!
But seriously, Rudolph is going to be brilliant this year and he'll be even better in the big games at the end of the year. The big knock on Rudolph is that he isn't experienced enough to lead a team to a conference title. I call that foolish. Do people not forget that Rudolph played in Oklahoma State's three biggest games of the season last year? Do they forget that he led the Pokes to their first win in Norman since the time that I lived three houses down from Cale Gundy and Aso Pogi was the Pokes quarterback.
Let's say that Mason is lacking experience - he has plenty of time to cover that ground before the Pokes take on TCU, Baylor and OU. He'll gain invaluable experience against teams like UTSA, UT, K-State and others along the way.
For the first time since, dare I say it, Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State has a quarterback that is poised in the pocket and can hurl the ball all over the field.
If you don't trust me, which would be unwise, then trust the anonymous Big 12 coaches that reportedly praised Mason Rudolph a week or so ago.
Combine a lethal passing game with Chris Carson running the ball and the OkState offense could be a train that no one this side of the Mississippi can stop.
Needless to say, I am super excited about Mason Rudolph and the fact that he has two or three years left in Stillwater should make you happy too.
- Glenn Spencer is a wizard
According to my sources, Glenn Spencer is an actual wizard.
If you don't trust my sources then I'll give you even more reasons to pick OSU to win the conference.
The Cowboy defense was not great last season, even Spencer will tell you that. But I guarantee that he would follow that statement with what I'm about to tell you - OSU is going to fantastic on defense this season. I'm talking almost as good the defense from 2011 or 2013.
Now I've never played a down of defensive football in my life which is why I'm the best person to talk about this - I spent my entire high school career standing on the sidelines watching defense.
Defense, like offense, starts up front. Many would argue that Oklahoma State's strongest unit is their front seven that features Emmanuel Ogbah who is a pre-season all-american. But the defense is so much more than Ogbah, it features Jimmy Bean who has started every game of the past two seasons. On top of Ogbah and Bean the defense will showcase three linebackers who combined for 36 starts last season. On the outside opponents will have to find their way around Kevin Peterson who is one of the best corners in the conference.
The team's offense will get a lot of the praise, and rightfully so, but this defensive unit is no slouch and you'll find that as the season progresses.
Spencer's defenses have always forced turnovers and with the experience they have coming back this season I expect it to continue. Don't be shocked when the Pokes rank in the top 20 in turnover margin at the end of the season.
- Everything tough is in their own backyard
When I looked at Oklahoma State's schedule before my freshman year I got super excited because the Pokes get Texas Louisiana Lafayette at home! I'm kidding, that was an awful home schedule with super boring matchups. But then 2013 rolled around and the Pokes got K-State, Baylor and OU at home? That was fun.
This year is going to be even more fun as the Pokes get Baylor, TCU and Kansas State at home. Talk about a favorable schedule!
The only reason the Pokes are going to win the conference this year is because they get the toughest opponents inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
TCU has tough games on the road against OU and OkState.
Baylor gets to travel to Stillwater and Fort Worth.
OU will head to Stillwater and Waco.
Every single team except for Oklahoma State has a tough game on the road. OSU's toughest road game will be Texas or West Virginia - a far cry from TCU and Baylor.
If these three things don't make you sip the orange kool-aid then maybe you really are an OU fan - but I won't judge you. I mean, I will, but I understand because I was on the dark side once.
We are just a few weeks away from traveling to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for a showdown with Central Michigan. That night will mark the start of the 2014-15 campaign that will launch Oklahoma State from unranked all the way to the champions of the Big 12.