Welcome to this weeks CRFF roundtable discussion. We dove into what it will take for the Cowboys to Remember The Alamo [Bowl] tonight.
As always, leave your answers in the comments below!
1) Let's look at the football season as a whole. Would you consider this season to have lived up to your expectations?
Phillip Slavin (Associate Editor): Record wise, yes. I expected at least 9 wins in the regular season. If I actually looked the games won and lost? No. Looking back, there were games we should have lost for varying reasons.
Josh Poteet: It lived up to expectations but was so frustrating in the sense that I don’t think we quite hit our ceiling.
Joel Penfield: I figured 9 or 10 wins would be where the Cowboys would be at. On the whole it was a good season, but then team left a lot to be desired.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: I would say yes. 9-10 wins is the average as of late. Its hard though knowing how close we were to 11-1 going into the Alamo Bowl (CMU, 2 fumbles inside the 5 at Baylor), but overall I'm good with this season.
Sumer Wensman: I would say yes as a whole because good and bad expectations were met.
Christopher Snodgress: In a preseason roundtable, I predicted OSU would go 10-3 including a bowl victory and that their best regular season win would be West Virginia, so I'd have to say yes.
Dustin Ragusa (Associate Editor): I had pretty high hopes for this season. I thought the Cowboys had a real shot of staying undefeated until Bedlam, but I thought we might drop another Big 12 game along the way. The CMU "loss" was a disappointing game all around, and no matter what I or Coach Gundy think, it shows as a loss in the overall record. All in all, I think the season fell short of my high expectations, but I don't think it was a total disappointment, just thought we had the talent to finish with only 1 loss.
Brodie Smith: I would say this season exceeded my expectations. I was not confident in the running game because of lingering questions with the offensive line. You can overcome lesser opponents without a solid rushing attack, but you can only hide o-line issues so long in conference play. The line held together and was helped by Rudolph's mobility and the emergence of freshman back Justice Hill.
Austin Higgs: I'd say so. We competed for a big 12 championship, we are in the Alamo Bowl. I'd say the team met my expectations.
2) It looks like Mason Rudolph and James Washington will be returning for their senior seasons. What does that do for your expectations of next season?
Phillip: I'm excited, but not at "Weeden & Blackmon returning" level. I expect 10 wins, know there is the potential for more.
Josh: NATTY OR BUST.
Joel: Next year could very well be one of the best in Oklahoma State history. 10 or 11 wins should be expected.
Tyler: With the players we have returning, as well as those coming in, we have the potential to have one of the most potent and dangerous offenses in all of college football. Defense is where there are going to be kinda troublesome. Taylor is a toss up if he will return or not, but the secondary is the real trouble at this point. Sounds to me like we will be like the Texas Tech teams as of late.
Sumer: Hopefully more player development and elevated chemistry between our most crucial duo.
Christopher: Do either of them play CB? The offense will be loaded, but I'm not sure how I can reasonably expect the defense to be any better, and it will likely be worse. Even if Vincent Taylor stays, this defense was bad and is losing some of its better pieces. Until I see a reason to be optimistic about that side of the ball, I'll temper my expectations because a prolific offense can only take you so far (ask Tech).
Dustin: Go ahead and book your ticket to Atlanta, because we are winning it all.
Brodie: I'm cautiously optimistic. This offense hasn't had many issues. The return of key cogs in OSU's recent success--including at least two prospective first rounder draftees--is never a bad thing, but I wonder about how the other side of the ball will fare. All you have to do is look to Lubbock for an example of a dynamic offense coupled with a suspect defense to see how next season could play out. If Spencer can replace some key holes (maybe by convincing Vincent Taylor to return) and find a way to do more damage from the outside of his defensive line, my expectations may change.
Austin: Ehh, I bet a lot of people are going to be overly optimistic for next season. With the departure of Jordan Sterns and possibly the departure of Vincent Taylor, I worry about the defense. A lot.
3) What are your thoughts on the Alamo Bowl? Keys to the game?
Phillip: I'm pumped to play a revived Colorado team. Their passing defense has been stellar this year. If Gundy goes "Bedlam" conservative, we're going to lose. If Gundy allows the team to play like he usually does in bowl games, it should be a lot of fun!
Josh: Is Liufau healthy? If so, that’s dangerous because we’ve never been able to stop a guy that can run from the pocket. Think it’ll be a shootout.
Joel: I believe the biggest key to the game is how the Cowboys attack the great pass defense of Colorado. Play calling cannot be conservative, the Cowboys cannot play to not lose.
Tyler: I'm excited for the game, and it has been named as one of the must watch bowls of the postseason. I'm not really sure what to expect going into the game, but I hope they use the Bedlam flop as motivation to come out and take control of the game early and never take their foot off the pedal.
Sumer: I think it's a solid matchup that will require a fight until the very last second. We need full focus especially from our defense.
Christopher: It could be a great game. I think the key to the game is controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Going against a stout CU secondary, OSU will need to the ball effectively. Defensively, it'll be just as important to limit the CU run game and force them into passing situations.
Dustin: I think it's going to be a fun game. Colorado's pass defense has been pretty stout all year. Mason will need to be accurate and not making any dumb mistakes. In addition, OSU will need to establish the run to open up the pass and balance our their offensive attack. On the other side of the ball, Sefo Liufau is a dynamic player at quarterback for the Buffaloes. He can beat you through the air or on the ground. The Cowboys have struggled at times with mobile QBs this season, so this will be a huge test for the OSU defense.
Brodie: It's always good to get to a bowl game. I'd prefer to have won Bedlam and been invited to a bigger one, but the Alamo Bowl offers an intriguing matchup between second-place finishers. Though the rebuild in Boulder may be a little head of schedule, Colorado is ranked in the Top 10 and has players in roles the Cowboys have struggled to defend. Plus, the Buffaloes has had a month to prepare and heal after a dismantling at the hands of Washington. The keys will be making important stops and forcing turnovers by a quarterback who kept them to a minimum all season. The other key will be how the Cowboys learn from the Bedlam loss. Gundy and Co. has demonstrated a knack for trying different looks and gadget plays (see James Castleman in the 2014 Cactus Bowl). If they will deviate from the playbook and have some fun, I like OSU's chances.
Austin: I'm kind of nervous about this game, as I am every OSU bowl game. I think the whole game hinges upon which Mason Rudolph decides to show up for the bowl game. CU's secondary is the real deal, and Rudolph needs to bring his A-game.
4) Score prediction?
Phillip: OSU 34 - CU 31
Josh: 45-28 Pokes
Joel: I'll go 30-21 Cowboys. I think the defense will step up big time and give them another 10 win season.
Tyler: 27-24 Pokes
Sumer: $1, Bob.
Christopher: 35-31 Colorado. This is the best defense the Pokes have seen this season and the CU offense is balanced. I think the Buffs win in the trenches and on the scoreboard.
Dustin: 34 - 31 Cowboys
Brodie: Pokes pull out the 34-24 win with a defensive score and TDs from each senior cowboy back.
Austin: 32-24 OSU