We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and as the year ends, there is still plenty to talk about with both Cowboy Football and Cowboy Basketball. As always, leave us your thoughts to the roundtable questions on social media or the comments below.
1) Last week, Oklahoma State signed 22 young men to the Class of 2018, headlined by 4-star QB Spencer Sanders. What are your initial thoughts on the class?
Gallagher Martin: This seems to be a solid class, but I still don't understand why we can't out-recruit Baylor and TCU. Honestly, Oklahoma State should be finishing with the third-best recruiting class in the Big 12, and instead, we are consistently middle-of-the-pack in the conference. Spencer Sanders is exciting, but there's already way too much hype and pressure on him in my opinion.
Micah Allen: I’m stoked on this class. With two 4-stars in CJ Moore and Spencer Sanders, this is a fantastic class. There’s also 6-7 O-lineman Hunter Anthony I’m really excited about. They addressed all of the needs that they had and signed what is believed to be the whole class early.
Joel Penfield: I think this was a fantastic class, I am excited for what they are going to bring to the table. What I like the best is the leadership guys like Spencer Sanders and CJ Moore are already showing. This will work to the benefit of the program from the time they step on campus this summer.
Hoodie Pete: I’m optimistic about the class. It seems like one of the deepest classes we’ve signed since I’ve started following recruiting more closely. I think Spencer Sanders is the real deal, and I think he would’ve been ranked much higher than he was if he was a long time commit to a blue blood school like Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, etc. I’m really pumped for the offensive lineman we have coming in. Coach Henson did a great job of going out and getting his hogs.
Some of the guys less talked about that I really like: Tyler Lacy, Jonathan Shepherd, Kolby Peel.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: I’m excited about this class. Replacing Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Ramon Richards and the rest of the Class of 2018 isn’t going to be easy, but Gundy and Co. may have found some of the studs they needed in the form of Spencer Sanders and CJ Moore. HOWEVER, it’s odd that they aren’t higher-up in the class rankings. One would think recent success would help the Cowboys recruit better, but who knows.
2) Gundy said that “The early signing period is the best thing that's ever happened to college football.” What are your thoughts on Early Signing Day? Do you agree or disagree?
Gallagher: I don't think it changes much in the grand scheme of things. Most coaches, like Gundy, like the Early Signing Day, so I have no problem with it.
Micah: I agree. I think it’s great to be able to get these guys locked in as soon as soon as you can. That way you’ve got time to stay in contact and all that.
Joel: If you have guys that are 100 percent committed to your program and want to sign early, then yes it is a great thing. But there are guys who flip commitments easily, so other schools can swoop in before the early signing period and get them. The early signing period worked out for Oklahoma State considering that they signed nearly their entire 2018 class then.
Hoodie Pete: If Gundy likes it, Hoodie likes it.
Tyler: I like the early signing period. Getting the pens to paper (so to speak) earlier helps take some worry off of my mind. The sooner kids sign their letters, the sooner we can stop worrying about some other school coming in and snatching them away. It’s also nice because then you can see who is truly committed to your school and who may be holding out for another school.
3) Last week, Mike Boynton and the Cowboys went 2-0, with wins over Tulsa and UT-Rio Grande Valley (*yawn*). Before that, they made a statement with a huge win over No. 19 Florida State deep in the Sunshine State. As we prepare to move into conference play, are the Cowboys for real?
Gallagher: That's a good question. Oklahoma State's schedule either consisted of top-15 teams or mid-major schools nobody has ever heard of. I wish we would have played more bubble teams to know exactly where we stand. As of right now, I think the Pokes are a top 30ish team in the country.
Micah: I think they are. I’ve seen them address every flaw they have. Maybe not to where it’s 100 percent dealt with, I see glimmers of them getting better and better. Which is a good sign from a new head coach. I like what I’m seeing as far as a solid defense goes as well.
Joel: We’ve seen Oklahoma State play both really well, and really bad this year. Sometime this happened in the same game (see Wichita State). I’m going to wait until couple conference games are played before I pass a full judgement on this team, check back with me in a couple weeks.
Hoodie Pete: I think this is a team that is well-coached and defensively disciplined. However, there is no doubt that the Oklahoma State Cowboys lack true star-power. I think they are going to win some games that they weren’t expected to, but they are getting ready to run into the Big 12 buzzsaw. Are we going to be able to match up with talented guards like Trae Young and Devonte’ Graham? Can we match up with beasts like Mohamed Bamba and Jo Lual-Acual Jr.? I’m not so sure.
Tyler: Man. I don’t know. Some days they look as good as any other team in the nation. Other days, they look like what they were projected to be preseason. It’s hard to get a good feeling on the team when they schedule cupcakes for 90 percent of the preseason. We will learn a lot about this team in the coming weeks.
4) With Davon Dillard and Zack Dawson being dismissed from the team, the Cowboys are down to 11 eligible players on the roster for the remainder of the season. With conference play looming, can the Cowboys survive the season or will they burn out at the end?
Gallagher: Dillard seems like a bit of a hit, but I wasn't expecting to see Dawson much in conference play anyway. Yankuba Sima will be a much-needed addition. Even with the dismissal of Dillard and Dawson, it still looks like Oklahoma State has a solid starting five and depth.
Micah: It’s a tough call. I could see it going either way. I think Boynton will do a good job keeping them focused though and I think they stick it out to the end.
Joel: As much as it may hurt right now, I like the standard that Boynton is setting. No one player is greater than the program, this high standard will get high quality individuals coming to play for our team. I don’t think this will hurt as much as people think. Having Yankuba Sima able to play now adds more front-court depth, plus I think we have enough good guard play to be able to survive conference play. But like I said earlier, I’m going to wait a couple more weeks to judge where this team is at.
Hoodie Pete: Barring injury, I’m not too worried about the depth. They have ten guys that Coach Boynton is comfortable with having on the floor. If a guy or two goes down, it could be a different story...
Tyler: This is another thing I worry about. The Big 12 is a grind. As one of the premiere basketball conferences in America, it’s that much more intense and difficult to play. The addition of Yankuba Sima is HUGE for Mike Boynton’s team, but 11 players is difficult. The good thing is Brad Underwood had his team as one of the best-conditioned teams in the country, and the vast majority of the 11 on the roster played for him last season. That should help more than it hurts.
5) Prediction time: Camping World Bowl Edition - The Cowboys are 4.5-point favorites and the over/under is set at 63. Give me your predictions for the game.
Gallagher: So excited to watch Oklahoma State play a football game this week. Mason Rudolph, James Washington, and Marcell Ateman are going to ball out in a win. Obviously, Oklahoma State would rather be playing somewhere other than Orlando, but with the leadership on this team, I think the Cowboys will be ready to play. Pokes by two possessions, 45-34.
Micah: 55-45 Pokes
Joel: I have this feeling that the Cowboys are going to roll in this game. Virginia Tech has a really good defense, but so did Colorado last year and we saw what happened there. The Cowboys are going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Hokies, and we’re all going to wonder why this wasn’t happening all season. The Cowboys will get the win 45-20.
Hoodie Pete: I’m with Joel. There are similarities in last seasons matchup with Colorado. “Offense vs. Defense”. Well, we all saw how that played out last year. Mason ends his illustrious college career going balls to the wall. 48-24 Pokes.
Tyler: With all the talk about how stout the Hokies’ defense is, remember - they haven’t seen a stereotypical Big 12 air-raid offense. They played West Virginia, who throws the ball but not like Oklahoma State, Texas Tech or OU. Even if that secondary is top-notch, the Cowboys have an understated running game that almost gets lost in the shadows of #Rudolph2Washington. With Cam Phillips out, I think the Poke defense does enough and the offense continues its dominance against everyone but Texas. Gimme the Pokes to win, cover and I’ll take the over. 52-24 victory for the Oklahoma State Fighting Mullets.