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Oklahoma State Football

Want to Read About OSU Football Being Underrated? Take Your Pick.

May 13, 2024

STILLWATER – We are coming up on one of my favorite times of the year. It is the college football summer magazine season, the college football list season, and the “so you’re a college football expert and think you know the Big 12 and how it will finish.”
I believe this man may know better than anyone, who is good and who isn’t this coming season.

The truth is there may be only one man and one source that really has a decent read on that is going to happen this season. I’ll go with Phil Steele of Phil Steele’s 2024 College Football Preview. Steele intelligently backed up publication of his magazine in order to get the latest results out of the spring window to the NCAA Transfer Portal. Steele speaks to most of the college head coaches, which could be great or could be a problem depending on how much they trust Steele and what they tell him. For his Oklahoma State preview Steele speaks with me. I give him accurate information. There are somethings that Mike Gundy and his staff don’t want out and I don’t mislead. I just steer clear of those. I think that is the kind of exchange Steele has with most head coaches. It does give Steele an incredible wealth of information for him to draw conclusions that consistently beat the competition. 

Even Las Vegas can be wrong on over/under totals. I can’t bet those, but I got some Christmas cards from aquaintances last December that had $100 bills in there. Those were friendly gestures from people that had heard me say crush that 6.5 over/under on Oklahoma State. 

Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Bowman and the Cowboys crushed the over/under of 6.5 in 2023 and I believe they will do it again in 2024 with the 7.5.

I’m saying the samething this season as the over/under on the Pokes, even updated from the desert, is 7.5.

Ahead of the Cowboys returning 20 players that started a significant number of games last season, either at Oklahoma State or where ever they were playing in Division I, are Utah at 9.5, Kansas State 9.0, Kansas 8.0, Texas Tech 8.0, and Arizona, Iowa State, UCF, and TCU are all even with Oklahoma State at 7.5. If they offer a head-to-head then let me go head up with Texas Tech. You’ve got to be kidding me?

Below is material recently out from Pete Fiutek of College Football News. I’m not doing this to make fun of anybody. Everybody needs content and with spring practices closed and coaches staying vanilla and even with back-ups in spring games there is precious little too evaluate from and to draw conclusions. 

I know about Oklahoma State having attended every one of the 15 spring practices, but I don’t know anybody else.

From College Football News:

Texas and Oklahoma were always the giants even when they weren't winning the Big 12 title. Again, all 16 programs will be good enough to be dangerous. If it's not Utah, there doesn't appear to be any one school that will be the sure-thing powerhouse of the conference.

Utah will be the star of the new show. It's almost like it gets lost just how amazing this program really is. Last year was a bit down with several key injuries, but QB Cam Rising is back for one more year, the transfer portal has been kind - especially adding USC WR Dorian Singer - and the schedule isn't bad. The Utes should be favored in every game but the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State.

That says a lot there when they admit that Utah will likely be an underdog in Stillwater. That could be because Oklahoma State could be better.

Category Oklahoma State/Mike Gundy Utah/Kyle Whittingham
Last Season 10-4 (won the Texas Bowl) 8-5 (lost in Las Vegas Bowl)
Last 5 years 45-20 42-18 (Utah only played 5 games in 2020)
Last 10 years 89-41 86-39
All-Time (19-years) 166-79 162-79
Bowl Record 12-5 11-6

Just saying that record is very comparable and it leaves you likely trying to gauge whether the competition in the Pac-12 or the Big-12 was stronger. 

That said, here is what Athlon’s had to say in their early Big 12 power rankings:

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Utah is a worthy challenge in the Big 12.

1. Utah
What to Watch on Offense: Quarterback Cam Rising is back after missing all of '23 due to injury. How involved is Rising in spring ball and how comfortable does the senior look? Also, the Utes need to identify a pecking order at running back and restock at receiver. 

What to Watch on Defense: A strong foundation is in place with seven returning starters. Replacing end Jonah Elliss (16 TFL) and restocking a secondary that loses safeties Cole Bishop and Sione Vaki and cornerback JaTravis Broughton is a priority. 

2. Oklahoma State
What to Watch on Offense: With 10 starters back, can this unit take its overall performance up a notch in '24? This spring will provide the first insight for an offense that averaged 5.93 yards per snap last fall.

What to Watch on Defense: The Cowboys don't have many glaring holes here with 10 returning starters. However, key linebacker Xavier Benson must be replaced, and the pass defense must improve (12th in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense last year).

Aaron Martinez-USA TODAY Sports
Martin is the defender that caught Texas and now KC Chiefs speedster Xavier Worthy from behind.

They mention that Xavier Benson must be replaced, but no mention of the tackling machine that is the best defensive player returning in the Big 12 in linebacker Nickolas Martin.

Gundy will tell you that he spoke more with Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham at the recent Big 12 meetings in Arizona. The two have more in common. They are both legends at their schools.

Just a look at how Oklahoma State kind of gets treated a little different. Believe me, Mike Gundy and his organization don’t fuss about it. If anything, it gives the Cowboys a chip on the shoulder to play out during the season. That little chip can sometimes make a difference in a tight Big 12 game.

I personally would recommend the over for Oklahoma State on the 7.5 over/under. I also would advise looking closely at their first three conference games with Utah in Stillwater on Sept. 21, at Kansas State on Sept. 28, and then back at home with West Virginia on Oct. 5. Those three games will go a long way in deciding where the Cowboys are at the end of the regular season.

I do believe Utah is a contender for the Big 12. I believe Kansas State is as well and Manhattan is a tough road environment against a very good team. Finally, West Virginia is a team that way too many, who think they know are missing on. That proves they really don’t know. 

Discussion from...

Want to Read About OSU Football Being Underrated? Take Your Pick.

2,110 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by backphil
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OSU always been underrated after 2010. Vegas never learns that HCMG does more with less.
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Ever since "I'm a man I'm 40" the drive-by sports media has dismissed the Cowboys as a non-coached "system" offense. No credit to Gundy and his staff, nor to absolute stars like Martin. Failing to win the Big 12, the last two chances, did us no favors either. Notwithstanding, it is better to avoid the "rat poison" and enter the season as an underdog/black horse. The experience we have coming back will gel much more quickly than last year and start stroking it out like a well oiled machine by the time Utah rolls into town. A big win there will put the Pokes on the national map.
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