There is a reason why it is so difficult to go undefeated in any college football season, no matter the level of competition. Every team is going to give your side its best shot, while complacency and overconfidence can also play in as a factor.
As OSU fans, many of us have become used to not quite sealing the deal at the end of the season. Many of these letdowns have been at the hands of the big dogs in the conference, especially to those crimson (red) and cream (white) guys down south. Yet with the steady rise of the OSU program, the expectation of beating certain lower level teams has become commonplace. This creates the possibility of the dreaded “trap game”; a loss to a team who should have no business ruining a campaign of a far superior team.
The 2016 schedule for the Cowboys is littered with big games, but little attention is being paid to these potential potholes on the road to the conference title. Let us examine these games, and assess just how worried we should be about them.
I could possibly make up some reasons to be worried about this first-time matchup with the Lions, but really there is no reason for concern. This will be a good watch solely to see some of the fresh faces that will be playing for the Cowboys this season, most notably Barry J. Sanders. Expect to see some garbage time for the reserves to show what they can do as well. Anything less is a disappointment. Trap Game Potential: 1/10
No one seems to be talking much about this game versus the Chippewas, with most of the focus being placed on the game against Pittsburgh. Cowboy fans should not expect an automatic win, especially early on in the season when the team may still be trying to work some of its kinks out. Senior quarterback Cooper Rush had one of his worst games in the matchup against OSU last season, but he is the most experienced guy under center that the Cowboys will face this season. If the Cowboys come out sleepwalking (ex: Houston in 2009), they will have a lot of problems with this squad. Trap Game Potential: 5/10
Iowa State in Ames is a far different animal than Iowa State in Stillwater. Last season, the Cyclones nearly pulled off another upset in Ames, but the Cowboys eventually prevailed with a score of 35-31. This Iowa State team actually has some continuity at the quarterback position for the first time with junior Joel Lanning returning. The biggest threat will be running back Mike Warren, who has All-Big 12 talent. That said, it will be a big task for the Cyclones to pull off this one. Trap Game Potential: 4/10
Maybe I’m giving the Jayhawks too much credit, but the Cowboys have only beaten the perennial Big 12 basement team by a touchdown or less in their last 2 visits to Lawrence. Now, whether that was a product of Kansas far outplaying their potential or the Cowboys doing just the opposite, who knows. One thing that both of those squads did not have was consistent quarterback play (translation: Daxx Garman was really bad), which definitely cannot be said with Mason Rudolph at the helm. This should be an easy win, but anything could happen. Trap Game Potential: 3/10
At Kansas State
Kansas State remains probably the most underrated football program in the Big 12, per the usual. They have never gained the respect they deserve for how consistent they have been under Bill Snyder during his tenure. This chip on their shoulder is exactly what makes them one of the scariest teams to play every year. They do not recruit top prospects, but they get guys who are committed to one goal from the day they arrive. Throw in the fact that this game is played in Manhattan, and you have one of the toughest games on this year’s schedule for the Cowboys. Trap Game Potential: 8/10
It is safe to say that most Cowboy fans have their eyes on the big matchups slated for the end of the season, but those games will have little meaning if we don’t take of business with these teams first. Be wary of these opponents, because you never know when the trap doors will open up on a conference championship run.