Today marks the end of the first full week of 2020. I know I’m getting these predictions in just a little late since the year is already 1/52 done, but I’ve got them anyway! We will also look back at my 2019 predictions because some of them were spot on.
Prediction No. 1 for 2019: Football recruiting slips again
I hit the nail fairly on the head with this one. The Pokes finished at No. 38 for the class of 2019 with three four-star recruits and four players ranked in the top 400. The class of 2020 has slipped compared to 2019; currently ranked No. 40 with one four-star recruit and only one in the top 400 recruits.
The one thing about the class of 2020 that stands out is that the line four-star recruit is ranked higher than 2019 recruits. Shane Illingworth is ranked No. 156 in the nation while Grayson Boomer was OSU’s highest-ranked commit in 2019 at No. 209. Boomer is currently in the transfer portal, meaning running back Deondrick Glass now holds that highest-ranked distinction at No. 225 nationally.
It wasn’t a massive slip, but it was a slip nonetheless. This could be because of the returning depth. Oklahoma State was a young team in 2019, so the biggest issue to be addressed in the class of 2020 was offensive line depth. The Pokes filled that need by signing four offensive lineman and bringing in graduate transfer Josh Sills.
Prediction No. 2 for 2019: Hoops recruiting continues to trend up
And BOY did it. Coach Mike Boynton signed his first five-star recruit and it wasn’t just any five-star... Cade Cunningham is program changing talent and is rated higher than Marcus Smart was in his class.
The class rounded out nicely with four-star guard Rondel Walker and three-star forward Montreal Pena. Boynton has a chance to put a bow on the class by potentially signing four-star forward JT Thor in the spring.
Prediction No. 3 for 2019: Tylan Wallace wins the Bilitnikoff
Welp... there’s only so much to be said about this one. It isn’t guaranteed Wallace would’ve won the award if he had been able to stay healthy, but he certainly would’ve had a shot. Instead, he’ll get one more crack at it next season.
Prediction No. 4 for 2019: Football improves on 2018
That’s a vague prediction, so allow myself to explain from this excerpt of my 2019 predictions.
And don’t forget this one!
I said I was a year early on the 8-5 prediction and that we should see a 7-9 win season. That’s pretty much spot on with what happened. What I said about a young defensive secondary only getting better was pretty spot on too, especially due to the massive leap of Kolby Harvell-Peel. He was one of the top defenders in the Big 12 last season and likely will be for two more years. That warms my heart.
Prediction No. 5 for 2019: OSU sends Allie P. out with a Big 12 title
This one was sort of true? I’m not entirely sure which one matters more, but Oklahoma State did win the Big 12 Tournament. The Pokes finished third in Big 12 conference play behind Texas Tech and Baylor, each of whom had a top 10 pick in last summer’s MLB Draft. We’ll call this one a success.
Prediction No. 6 for 2019: OSU Hoops misses NCAA’s in 2019, 2020
Why I made this prediction for two years, I can’t quite remember. But we’re so-far-so-good on this one unfortunately. OSU didn’t even sniff the NIT last season after
the purge hit coach Boynton kicked several players off the team. The team opened Big 12 play this season with two losses, granted to two top 25 teams. There’s hope for a 2020 tournament berth but it isn’t a lock.
Okay, now that we wrapped that up, I’ll make a few predictions for 2020. Because this already running long, I’ll keep it to four predictions and I’ll keep the explanations fairly short.
Prediction No. 1 for 2020: Football improves yet again
There is still a ton riding on this. Does Chuba Hubbard return? Does Kasey Dunn become offensive coordinator? Does... does Todd Monken return to Stillwater to retake the OC position? There’s been so much smoke around all of that this week I couldn’t at all say that any of those things are likely.
Here is what we do know. All-world receiver Tylan Wallace is back. Spencer Sanders finished the season on a three-game hot streak before missing the final three games. Year two Sanders will hopefully yield less turnovers and more explosiveness. Fun to think about!
Most of the defense is back. Kolby Harvell-Peel, Amen Ogbongbemiga and Malcolm Rodriguez all had a great season in 2019. Trace Ford impressed as a freshman. Calvin Bundage is coming back. Someone hold me.
The areas of concern include corner and the offensive line, which are pretty much the only position groups to lose talent to graduation. The offensive line has been more than addressed by adding 2018 second-team All-Big 12 selection Josh Sills from West Virginia. Sills missed nearly all of 2019 with an injury, and he figures to once again be one of the top lineman in the league. That fills one of two open spots on the offensive line.
Outside of replacing A.J. Green at corner, it really feels as if Oklahoma State will bring back all other meaningful talent with a year to improve. So let’s think about 2019: If we assume Sanders can cut down on turnovers, a six-point loss at Texas and a 10-point loss at Texas Tech become more than winnable. The Pokes were missing their three best players for the bowl game against Texas A&M as well.
Dare I say OSU could be headed for a 10-11 win season? Barring injury (knock on wood) or other unforeseen circumstances, that is my prediction here. This is perhaps too lofty, but who cares. I’m predicting an 11-1 regular season (we know who the loss is) and a Big 12 Championship Game appearance (which will also be lost to, well, you can guess.)
Prediction No. 2 for 2020: OSU hoops misses NCAA’s in 2020
I’ll stick with my guns from my 2019 predictions. This team is good. It has more than a fair shot at making the tournament. They embarrassed Ole Miss in the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. But ultimately, I believe they’ll have to rely too much on freshman to contend in the most talented conference in America.
Boynton teams have shown they can hang with anyone. In the ultimate “down year” last season, they took Final Four bound Texas Tech to overtime at their place. The season before, they beat Kansas twice. I say that to show anything can happen, but it feels somewhat likely the Pokes could go 0-2 against Texas Tech, Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia — all currently top 25 teams.
If that happens, they’ll likely need to win both against Texas, TCU, Kansas State and Iowa State to have a shot at the tournament. Of course they could pick up an upset win or two or three to get some breathing room, but getting to eight or nine conference wins seems as if it’ll be tough. But hey — top three seed in 2021?
Prediction No. 3 for 2020: Football defense finishes top 50 in the nation
In 2019, Oklahoma State finished No. 82 in total defense. The best defense in the Big 12 was TCU at No. 27 nationally, followed by Oklahoma at No. 38. Top 50 might not seem to be that impressive, but a defense playing against Big 12 offenses can only be so good.
In my opinion, the defense has more talent than it has had since 2016. OSU finished No. 99 in total defense that season, which is just one metric to determine defensive success. It essentially ranks teams based on yards given up per game. I think this defense will be the best it has been since the early 2010’s.
It may not wind up finishing top 50 in total defense, but I’m at least going to predict that defense will lead Oklahoma State to a Big 12 Championship Game by allowing less than 25 points-per-game in Big 12 play. This season, the Pokes allowed 28.11 points-per-game in Big 12 play. This is due to holding Kansas State, Kansas and West Virginia to 13 points and Iowa State and TCU to 27.
I also think Oklahoma State will have six defenders make an All-Big 12 team, and I think one defender making an All-NCAA team isn’t out of the question. I’m perhaps irrationally high on how good the defense could be next year, but I don’t care. I think they have some dudes.
Prediction No. 4 for 2020: Wrestling finishes outside of top 10, bounces back in 2021
This isn’t my forte at all, I’ll direct you to Brandon for all wrestling opinions BUT it is one of the most important sports at Oklahoma State, so I had to make at least one wrestling prediction.
The team is a little down from years past. The team is currently ranked No. 9, which is down from it’s normal top five ranking. However, the top recruiting class in the nation could have OSU wrestling hanging another banner in GIA come 2021. With all the buzz around the class of 2020, I would consider it to be a disappointment if OSU didn’t win a national championship in the next three years.
That might be another lofty prediction because I don’t know a ton about wrestling, but I’m making it anyway.