Strength of schedule is important to the College Football Playoff committee, as they proved when they admitted Ohio State to the Playoff last season over Big 10 champion Penn State.
A good team has to prove itself by putting itself through the gauntlet and coming out victorious. Chris Low of ESPN ranked the 12 teams he thought had the toughest 3-game stretch, and the Cowboys made the cut.
Oklahoma State’s three games are:
- Oct. 21 - at Texas
Traveling to Austin’s DKR Memorial Stadium in front of 100,000 screaming, drunk fans is never the easiest thing to do, even if Texas is not, in fact, back. The last time Mike Gundy and Co. were in Austin, they needed a last second
choke miracle to escape the Longhorns in regulation.
- Oct. 28 - at West Virginia
If you thought Texas was crazy, multiply that by about 50 and you have the atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium, otherwise known as the home of the West Virginia Mountaineers. All West Virginia fans do on game day is drink moonshine and say goodbye to their beloved couch in preparation of burning it if the team so happens to win (or lose). When the Cowboys visited West Virginia in 2015, it was a crazy back-and-forth game that ended with Oklahoma State squeaking out the overtime victory.
- Nov. 4 - vs. Oklahoma
Ohh Bedlam. It’s always the biggest game of the regular season, whether OU fans will admit it or not. Recently, it’s the game with the biggest implications on postseason play. The Cowboys have lost 12 of the last 14 matchups. If Gundy wants to take his team to the postseason and earn a $150,000 bonus just for making the College Football Playoff, he is going to have get past his in-state rival not just once, but likely twice as the two teams are the front-runners for taking part in the Big 12 Championship game.
Here’s what Low said about the Cowboys.
This has a chance to be one of Mike Gundy's best teams since he took over as head coach at his alma mater in 2005, when Les Miles left for LSU. The Cowboys will need to be at their best to kick off the pivotal second half of the season because they face three preseason Top 25 conference foes in three weeks. The first two are on the road, too, against No. 23 Texas and No. 20 West Virginia, and then to open the month of November, the Cowboys take on in-state rival Oklahoma at home. Making this stretch even more daunting for the Pokes is the fact that they've won only twice since 2003 in the Bedlam series.
Here’s the full top 10 of toughest 3-game stretches.
- Mississippi State (vs. LSU, at Georgia, at Auburn)
- Penn State (vs. Michigan, at Ohio State, at Michigan State)
- Vanderbilt (vs. Kansas State, vs. Alabama, at Florida)
- Pittsburgh (at Penn State, vs. Oklahoma State, at Georgia Tech)
- Kansas (at Texas, vs. Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State)
- Oregon State (vs. Washington, at USC, vs. Colorado)
- West Virginia (at Kansas State, vs. Texas, at Oklahoma)
- Oklahoma State (at Texas, at West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma)
- Cal (vs. USC, at Oregon, at Washington)
- Arkansas (at South Carolina, at Alabama, vs Auburn)
- Texas (vs. Kansas State, vs. Oklahoma, vs. Oklahoma State)
- Virginia (vs. Georgia Tech, at Louisville, at Miami)