Welcome to this week’s roundtable discussion! We tackled quite a bit this week, and there’s even a special bonus question somewhere in there.
As always, leave us your answers in the comments section!
1) The Cardiac Cowboys are alive and well. Is it safe to say that OSU could beat any team in the Big 12 while simultaneously be able to lose to any team in the Big 12?
Austin Higgs (Associate Editor): Man, I think it's safe to say that any team in the Big 12 could win or lose to any other team in the Big 12 on any given Saturday. Does that make sense? You get what I'm trying to say.
Phillip Slavin (Associate Editor): I think it's safe to say we will age another 10 years before this season is over. A few livers might also die.
Joel Penfield (Staff Writer): Any given Saturday, any team in the Big 12 can win or lose. It's become apparent this year just about every game this year. OSU has been on the winning side of the toss up this year, and I hope it stays that way.
Tyler Wiederhoeft (Staff Writer): I can’t say I’d disagree. It’s the Big 12, and it’s OSU. Nothing is guaranteed.
Will Hendrickson (Staff Writer): Absolutely. All you have to do is look at our games against Iowa State and West Virginia. We looked like two completely different teams. Though, while we often play to the level of our opponent, more often than not we have shown the ability to pull out the close games and make plays when we need to.
Cade Webb (Editor-In-Chief): Uh, yeah. There has only been one game this season that I felt 100% confident about, and that was against Southeastern Louisiana. That said, OSU is playing some really good football right now and I think they can absolutely win these next few games. More on that later.
2) OSU held Patrick Mahomes below his season average last week, but gave up 44 points. What did you think about the performance from the defense as a whole?
Austin: I mean, they made plays when it mattered. If the McCleskey fumble and the onside kick recovery didn't happen, we wouldn't have put the defense in those tough positions, and we would be singing the defenses praises right now. We didn't look as helpless as OU's defense did against Tech, that's for sure.
Phillip: We won. I think some things went Tech's way (McCleskey fumble, onside kick recovery) that helped keep the game as close as it was points-wise. Did I answer the question?
Joel: There were times the defense was stellar, and other times when it was abysmal. The inconsistency bothered me, but OSU found a way to get early stops against a potent offense.
Tyler: They started out strong, then it seemed like they almost quit trying. Like it has been for most of the season, they weren’t great, but stepped up and made plays when it mattered to help win the game.
Will: Meh. While we didn't let Mahomes throw for 734 yards (!) like OU, we still gave up 44 points. Now I know it was Tech and that is under their season average...but I didn't think we tackled very well and aside from Vincent Taylor's massive forced fumble, our defense put a lot pressure on our our offense. On the flip side, what was up with our offense failing to score in the 4th quarter? We have averaged 9 points per 4th quarter on the season and then put up a goose egg...against...Tech? Weird.
Cade: I was actually pretty down on the defense until I took a closer look at the stats. Tech barely crested 500 yards. While that is a lot, it’s not for them. Overall, I think the defense did enough. Mahomes was other-worldly and Kliff was throwing the kitchen sink at OSU and would’ve thrown more at them but ran out of items in the kitchen.
3) OSU has to win out to win the Big 12. What do you think their chances are of doing so?
Austin: UGH, CADE. 40 percent?
Phillip: I got a Bachelor of Fine Arts to avoid math questions like these. 45 percent.
Joel: Uhh ... I'll say 45 percent for now.
Tyler: Hmmmmm… I’d say 50/50. Either they will or they won’t. That’s how my dad taught me to calculate odds.
Will: No easy task playing a hot TCU team and then traveling to Norman to take on OU. Fivethirtyeight.com is giving us a 15% chance to win out, so in that case I will double that and give the pokes a 30% to do it. I don't trust their polls after watching the election unfold the way it did, and they also gave Louisville an 85% chance to beat Houston last night.
Cade: Will, I don’t think you meant to make me laugh but you did. Subtle election jabs are my cup of tea. Right now i’ll put OSU’s chances right at 25 percent. We’ll talk after this weekend.
4) Break down the TCU game. What are you going to be looking for? Any matchups that you like/dislike for OSU?
Austin: This game will be all about containing Kyle Hicks. The TCU offense is fueled by Hicks' play, and if OSU let's him, he can put the team on his back. If OSU's defense defends the run as well as they did against K-State or (the first half of) Texas, we are in for a rough game. I also can't help but bring up the ass-whoopin' we got last time we traveled to Ft. Worth.
Phillip: Make Kenny Hill look like he did earlier in the season and OSU wins handily. If we let him look like other QBs we've faced this year (cough cough Cozart) cough, we could have another close-call.
Joel: Force Kenny Hill to make mistakes. The defense has to be opportunistic once again this week and force the TCU offense to turn the ball over.
Tyler: Well I have to keep my eye on the QB. We seem to make every QB look good, and as everyone knows, the offense starts with the QB. Contain Kenny Hill, you contain TCU.
Will: Can we get back to winning the turnover battle? Both teams are explosive on offense and will give up big plays. We lost the turnover battle 3-1 against K State and finished wth only one take away against Tech. Our D hangs our hat on takeaways and we will need a couple on Saturday. One matchup I dislike was pointed out by Mark Cooper at the Tulsa World. TCU is second in the nation in sacks and Rudolph has already been sacked 26 times this year. Our O-line has to have their best game of the season and Rudolph will have to get the ball out quicker.
Cade: You’re all talking about Kenny Hill like he is TCU’s biggest weapon. In my opinion, this game will be decided by how Kyle Hicks runs the ball. If TCU finds success running the ball from their base set, we are in trouble. OSU will have to force turnovers. My magic number is three. If they do that, they’ll win.
5) Prediction time! Score?
Phillip: Cowboys win 42-34.
Joel: As much as I want to say it'll be a convincing win, it'll probably be close once again. 42-37 Cowboys.
Tyler: Pokes keep rolling, but it’s another ugly win in Fort Worth. 38-33.
Will: 41-38 OSU. We will be in for ANOTHER tight game on Saturday, but I think the cowboys get the job done and squeeze out a win in Fort Worth.
Cade: There’s too much on the line here for OSU to lay an egg. Yeah, we said that last year against Baylor and OU, but I really believe that this team is far and away more equipped to make a run at a Big 12 title in these next two games. 11 A.M. kick is a blessing for OSU, and this is a low-scoring affair. 34-27 Oklahoma State.
Is the College Football Playoff really any better than the BCS system?
Joel: Bonus) Originally, I love the CFP, I thought it was the right change. Now, it's starting to turn back to what the BCS became...all about TV ratings. You could tell with the Top 4 that came out on Tuesday that's what it is all about, it's almost too obvious.
Will: No, not really. I like to think that because of the human element they can use other determining factors besides algorithms to establish the best four teams in college football, BUT they also have a 3 loss USC ranked ahead of 1 loss West Virginia, so it's still a mess. If that was a Power Ranking, then sure you could argue USC is one of the hottest teams in the country...but it's not and they have 3 losses on their record.
Cade: If it were up to me, I would have kept the BCS computer system and just had the top four teams in the rankings in the playoff. We all heard that the human element to the CFP would be a good thing, but it is now proving to be the opposite. Human bias is inherent, but it shouldn’t be that way in college football. There has to be a changeup.