With baseball and golf season drawing to a close, we are about to enter a grueling three month purgatorial period, otherwise known as #offseason. We are neither here, nor there. Our spirits are dwindling in the void. We are in limbo.
Oklahoma State is coming off of a 10-3 season that ended far worse than it began. After a blazing 10-0 start, the Cowboys dropped their next three games by a combined 83 points. That left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans, myself included.
That being said, it is time to start looking at this 2016 squad. OSU will be a common dark horse pick to win the conference, most likely landing behind Baylor and Oklahoma in most preseason polls. Let's take a look at the reasons why OSU will, and won't, win a Big 12 Championship next year.
Buy or Sell? Oklahoma State wins a Big 12 Championship in 2016.
Oklahoma State returns the most experienced team in the Big 12, highlighted by an experienced junior QB in Mason Rudolph, a budding superstar at WR in James Washington, and a senior-laden backfield, but it doesn't stop there. The offensive line made moves in the offseason, highlighted by JUCO transfer Larry Williams. The offensive line returns all five starters, and should be improved from 2015. The defensive line, while losing Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean, will reload, and not rebuild. Jarrell Owens and Jordan Brailford have playing experience, and will make a splash in their redshirt-sophomore seasons. The linebackers will be solid, highlighted by senior Jordan Burton and redshirt-sophomore Justin Phillips.
The Pokes will have plenty of motivation in 2016 after a lackluster finish to 2015. OSU gets their first shot at redemption on September 24th in Waco.
That schedule, though. The Cowboys, while being the most experienced team in the conference, got the short end of the stick this season. OSU travels to Baylor, Fort Worth, and *gags* Norman. OSU has not beaten Baylor in Waco since 2009, and the Bears return a lot of experience from a team that won 10 games in 2015. The last time the teams met, Baylor beat OSU in Stillwater with a 3rd-string wide receiver playing quarterback. OSU got smoked last time they played in Fort Worth, albeit due to an insane amount of injuries. TCU doesn't present the same challenge as Baylor and OU, but Fort Worth will be a tough out. And Norman is a snake pit. OSU has one win since 2001 in Norman.
If Oklahoma State wants to pull off a conference championship next season, they're going to have to do it as #roadwarriors. Experience should alleviate some of the pressure of playing on the road, but Waco, Fort Worth and Norman loom large for the Pokes in 2016.
What say you?