It’s 2021 which means it’s time to make some guesses and predictions about what will happen with Oklahoma State athletics.
Here’s hoping I can do better this year than I did with my 2020 picks, which were not great. Not great at all.
So, I’ve got predictions for Men’s and Women’s hoops, Gundy’s coaching staff, the NFL Draft,
Oklahoma State Men miss March Madness
The thought first crossed my mind as a joke sometime during non-conference. Then it came to my mind again after the conference-opening loss to TCU. Then it solidified into my brain after a second-half blown lead led to a loss for the third time in four games against West Virginia.
OSU will miss the NCAA Tournament in 2021, and it won’t have anything to do with the postseason ban.
The Cowboys started non-conference play strong, with six straight wins. Then Big 12 play started, and suddenly Oklahoma State’s youth started to really bite them as they blew lead, after lead, after lead. At this point, OSU sits at 1-3 in conference play. Yes, there are a lot of games left to play, and it’s a weird season. But with as much as this team needs to grow up, and as short an amount of time as they have to do so, this feels like an inevitability.
A level of cruel irony that even Alanis herself wouldn’t dare to sing about.
Really hoping this first prediction proves to be wrong.
Oklahoma State Women make March Madness
If you had told me just a month ago that I would predict this, I would have dramatically and emphatically laughed in your face. Yet here we are.
The Cowgirls lost both Bryn Gerlich and one of their best players last year in Vivan Gray to the transfer portal (specifically Texas Tech). Yet here they are at 7-2, including 3-0 (that includes a blow out win over the aforementioned Red Raiders) in conference play.
Specifically, 4-0 in a conference that doesn’t look as strong as it usually does. Baylor is still good, but not as good as usual. Texas is solid. So too are Iowa State and West Virginia. But Oklahoma has completely fallen off, and there are some other bad teams.
Also, if you aren’t paying attention to Tasha Mack, you really should be.
There aren’t a lot of opportunities for great wins, but there are plenty of wins available. Enough, I think, for the Cowgirls to earn their first ticket to March Madness since 2018.
Mike Gundy doesn’t make any coaching changes
Sure, Mike Gundy loves consistency on his coaching staff — and we can debate the merits of this later — but he still is usually looking to make a few changes each season.
Last season it was a new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
There was a new OC hire in 2019 as well.
In 2018 it was defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, among others.
But this season, for the first time in a long time, it feels like Gundy may be able to stick with what he’s got.
If I’m wrong here, it’s not because of a firing. It’s because someone gets swiped away.
Oh! And no, I’m not counting graduate assistants or analysts. We’re talking coaching staff.
Oklahoma State hits a new modern NFL Draft record
In the modern era of the NFL draft — 1994 when they went to the seven rounds we have today — the highest number of Cowboys taken in one draft is four. That happened twice, both during the Mike Gundy era; 2010 and 2018. This year, I think that number goes to five.
It feels like Tylan Wallace, Chuba Hubbard, Teven Jenkins, and Rodarius Williams are all locks to get drafted. The question becomes, can there be a fifth?
But with both Dillon Stoner and Calvin Bundage officially preparing for the draft, and other guys potentially joining them (Amen Ogbongbemiga?), this is the the best chance OSU has had at having more than four players names’ getting called, potentially ever.
Cowgirl Softball returns to OKC
It’s a big ask of the Cowgirls, to expect them to do something they haven’t been able to since the mid-90’s. But I think they can and will.
The team made a surprising and fantastic run to the Women’s College World Series to cap a fantastic 2019 season, and there were plenty or reasons they could do so again in 2020. Now, I think they do!
The Cowgirls were 19-5 before the 2020 season came to an abrupt end due to the Coronavirus. That included a 5-3 record against ranked opponents.
Coach Gajewski returns quite a bit from that team and added a top-10 recruiting class to the roster back in November.
It’s tough to make it to Oklahoma City and it’s not like the Big 12 is going to be down, or other teams aren’t going to have a bunch of players back, but with the direction the program is going, I see another magical run to OKC in 2021!