Had it not been for a shortened non-conference season in 2020, Oklahoma State might have been a 10-win team. Two of their three losses were very close games. They lost to Texas 41-34 in overtime and lost 29-22 to TCU. Yet, Vegas has set the over/under on the Cowboys at 7.5.
They lost running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace to the NFL, but the Cowboys return quarterback Spencer Sanders and what they believe to be a strong supporting cast to fill the shoes of Hubbard and Wallace. Eight starters return on what was a solid defense in 2020.
There are enough question marks with the Cowboys to justify the 7.5 wins over/under, but if a few things fall into place, they can contend for the league championship. Let’s take a closer look at the schedule.
September 4 vs. Missouri State
Missouri State made the FCS playoffs during the spring season of 2020, losing in the first round to North Dakota. They should have a decent team coming back, but I don’t think the Cowboys will have any problems in this one.
September 11 vs. Tulsa
Did you know this rivalry is called the “Bank of Oklahoma Turnpike Classic?” Me, either. The Cowboys have won eight in a row against Tulsa, who last won a game in this series in 1998. Tulsa is not a bad team. They made the AAC championship game last season, losing by three points to Cincinnati. They got an invite to the Armed Forces Bowl, where they lost by two points to Mississippi State. This game will probably be closer than a lot of people expect, but recent history tells me that Oklahoma State should get the victory.
September 18 at Boise State
This game will be interesting. Boise State made the Mountain West championship game last season after a 5-0 conference record, losing to San Jose State by two touchdowns. They’re the favorite to win the Mountain West in 2021, and they get the Cowboys at home. I’m going with Oklahoma State, but this won’t be an easy game. Oklahoma State’s non-conference schedule is much more difficult than it looks at first glance.
September 25 vs. Kansas State
K-State and Oklahoma State typically play competitive games. The Cowboys won by two points last season in Manhattan. I’m going with Oklahoma State, but I expect this game will be competitive.
October 2 vs. Baylor
Oklahoma State won this match-up 42-3 in the 2020 season finale. I think Baylor will close the gap a bit, but the Cowboys will get the win.
October 16 at Texas
There’s no question Texas has the talent to compete with and beat Oklahoma State, but I give the Cowboys the experience edge. There are a lot of unknowns with the Longhorns going into 2021.
October 23 at Iowa State
Oklahoma State could be 6-0 going into this game in Ames against the Cyclones, which would make this one of the biggest Big 12 games of the season. At this point, I’ve got to go with Iowa State.
October 30 vs. Kansas
Beating Kansas at home shouldn’t be a problem.
November 6 at West Virginia
It should be fun to watch Oklahoma State’s offense vs. West Virginia’s defense. With a few unanswered questions on the Mountaineers’ defense, I give Oklahoma State the slight edge.
November 13 vs. TCU
As I mentioned in my TCU preview, I believe Oklahoma State and TCU will battle for third place in the conference, and this game may decide who finishes in that spot. Assuming everyone on the Oklahoma State roster stays healthy, I’m going with the Cowboys in this one.
November 20 at Texas Tech
Interestingly, Oklahoma State has lost two out of the last three games against Texas Tech after winning nine in a row in the series. This will probably be a close game, but I’m going with the Cowboys.
November 27 vs. Oklahoma
Does anyone have a cowboy hat I can wear in support of Oklahoma State on this day? Unfortunately, who I’m rooting for has no impact on who I think will win. I’ve gotta go with the Sooners.
Season Prediction: 10-2. Either I’m way off on this or Vegas is. We’ll find out.
Best Case: 10-2. I can’t make a good case that the Cowboys will beat Iowa State or Oklahoma.
Worst Case: 5-7. Let’s say Boise State gets them in the non-con and they lose to K-State, Texas, West Virginia, and TCU. Although this is unlikely, I can see it happening.
The bet: I’d bet the over. I think they’ll get to eight wins for sure.