The Oklahoma State Cowboys made the Big 12 Conference Championship game last season and are looking to get back this fall. And one coach who thinks they can do it is the only coach they’ve faced this season: Central Michigan’s Jim McElwain.
After Oklahoma State beat Central Michigan 58-44, McElwain said, “That’s a hell of a football team we played. They’re going to be in the national picture as the season goes on. I can easily see them winning (the Big 12). They’ve got a complete team and they’ve got a quarterback who can make plays not only throwing the football but obviously with his feet.”
The offense should not be of concern, as Spencer Sanders led that unit beautifully on Thursday night. However, the defense, notably the secondary, struggled. Granted, half of Central Michigan’s 44 points came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach, but still, Mike Gundy knows that side of the ball has to improve to win the Big 12 this season.
Of course, losing your top four tacklers, along with star defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who left for Ohio State, is a lot to replace. But new DC Derek Mason has received a ton of praise from Gundy, who said this offseason that his new coordinator’s intelligence is “off the charts”.
Oklahoma State still has a couple of weeks to figure things out before conference play begins. The Cowboys welcome in Arizona State next week, then it’s Arkansas Pine Bluff before a bye week on the final Saturday in September.
Flip the calendar to October and that’s when the Oklahoma State Cowboys start conference play against the Baylor Bears on October 1st. It’s a rematch of the 2021 Big 12 Championship game, which the Pokes came within one yard of winning last season.