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Ranking Oklahoma State’s 2019 schedule by difficulty: Part 2

Let’s wrap this up with the hardest games in 2019

Oklahoma State v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

With less than 80 days left until the start of the 2019 college football season, it’s time to start looking ahead to Oklahoma State’s 12-game slate. We began ranking the full schedule based on difficulty a couple weeks with the first half of the season.

We’re going to wrap it up today with number six through to number one.

6. Baylor

Let me just say, I am buying the Baylor hype this season. Year three for Matt Rhule should be the break-through year. And with Charlie Brewer — the most underrated quarterback in the Big 12 — and a very friendly schedule (they leave the state of Texas just three times next season), Baylor should be able to have their best season record-wise in four seasons.

Charlie Brewer was the guy who brought the Bears back to beat the Cowboys last season in Waco. He’s good. Legit good. Good enough to beat Oklahoma State again.

However. This is homecoming in Stillwater, with Baylor coming off a “rivalry” game against Texas Tech and OSU coming off a bye-week.

I think this game could be closer than OSU fans like or hope, but I feel pretty good about a “W” here.

5. at Texas Tech

So how did Texas Tech end up in the top half of my rankings despite having a new coach, coming off a 5-7 season, and losing all their best defensive players?

Two reasons. First, this game is on the road. Even during the nine-game win streak, the two teams played some exciting and close games (the 66-6 win not withstanding).

Second, Alan Bowman. If not for a lung that collapsed not once, but twice, I think Kliff Kingsbury would still be the head coach in Lubbock this season. Bowman is good, and with new offensive coordinator David Yost in charge of the offense, and the most experienced returning offensive line in the conference, I don’t expect the Red Raiders to score.

I don’t love the Matt Wells hire at Texas Tech, especially long term. But I do think this will be a Tech team good enough to get to six wins and get a “W” they shouldn’t. But Oklahoma State should be favored in the game and should win, but I wouldn’t argue if someone wanted to make this their upset pick for OSU this season.

4. TCU

TCU’s offense might average 10 points a game next season, but the defense might hold teams to nine. So despite this game being at home, it’s one to be worried about.

Seriously though, there’s something about this series. It seems like the underdog has won more often than not the last four years.

TCU had a solid defense last year, and while they lost some key guys, the bulk of it was young and is returning. Yeah, the quarterback situation is about as attractive as those purple camo jerseys they wear, but they do have Jalen Reagor who is frankly the best offensive weapon in the Big 12.

OSU should win, especially at home in early November, but throw in the fact that Gary Patterson doesn’t usually have back-to-back bad seasons to everything else we’ve talked about and this game makes me a touch nervous.

3. at Iowa State

For the first time since the season that shall not be named, Iowa State finally broke through a beat Oklahoma State in 2018. It was an ugly game for the Cowboys and a coming out party for Cyclone QB Brock Purdy.

The Cyclones will likely be the preseason No. 3 team in the conference, and for good reason; they’re the team that seems to have the fewest questions coming into the season outside of Texas and Oklahoma.

I know none of us want to admit this, but the Cyclones are legit folks. They came within a loss to Texas of playing in the Big 12 title game.

I think the losses of David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler to the NFL is going to hurt more than most people seem to, but this is still going to be a tough out. I’ll be honest (spoilers); I have this as one of OSU’s losses on my predictions for the season. Not that the Cowboys can’t win (and I think they have a good shot to), this one just feels like getting a “W” against an improved Brock Purdy is going to be a toughy.

2. at Texas

The Longhorns are continuing to improve under Tom Herman, and while Mike Gundy may be 2-0 over the Longhorns’ head coach, the games have been... close.

At some point, with all that talent, Texas is likely to retake the series. I don’t think it will be as lopsided as it once was (OSU was 22-2 all time before going 7-2 in the last nine meetings), but I would expect with the level of talent that Herman and Texas is able to recruit, that they start winning more often than not again.

So, awesome recruiting classes, a program in year three under a talented (albeit immature) head coach, the best returning quarterback in the Big 12, and a team coming off a big bowl win to me equals another step forward even with all the players they have to replace.

All I know is this; if Oklahoma State does win a fifth game in a row, it’s likely to be like three of the last four, very, very close.

1. Oklahoma

Duh. Until Oklahoma State shows it can be the Sooners more often than... checks notes... twice in the past 14 seasons, I’m not predicting it to happen.

OU is humming with head coach Lincoln Riley, and even with another new quarterback (Alabama transfer Jalen Hurd), a new defensive coordinator, four new starting offensive lineman, and no Hollywood Brown, this offense is going to hum like a choir.

The defense may not be much (or any) better, but that hasn’t mattered so far.

I could go on, and on, and on here, but the first point is the one that matters; this is always OSU’s most difficult game. Because they can’t win it, the ball doesn’t seem to bounce their way even when the game is close, and it’s a game that both teams (despite what OU fans say) desperately want to win.