Let’s talk about a conference championship. Let’s talk about playoffs. Yes, Jim Mora: playoffs. Let’s talk about the only team in Oklahoma (besides the Oklahoma City Thunder) whose playoff chances are still alive this year.
If Oklahoma State can emerge victorious in their next two matchups–on the road against Baylor and facing Texas in Stillwater–they’ll be in the driver’s seat of their destiny, in control of their own conference championship aspirations. If they can eke out tough road games against Texas Christian and Oklahoma at the end of the season, then they’re in the playoff picture.
It sounds fairly simple on paper, but anyone who is even remotely a fan of college football know it’s not so easy.
The Cowboys are 2-1, and their one loss has a giant asterisk next to it. Despite the blemish, OSU is in an enviable position.
That’s not to make excuses for the loss, however; there’s no doubt that Central Michigan shouldn’t have even been in a position to win that game, blown call or no blown call. However, you’re allowed one slip-up, but just one–the Cowboys’ margin for error is slim.
If they want to begin thinking about a Big 12 championship (much less a playoff berth), however, they’ve got a few problems to fix: namely, their one-dimensional offense. Their running back-by-ultra-committee has (shockingly) been ineffective. Central Michigan might be the weakest defense they face all season, and the ‘Boys could muster only 69 yards on 17 carries–and that’s not including Mason Rudolph’s sack yardage.
They do, however, have an argument for the best QB-WR tandem in the conference, and potentially the nation. Mason Rudolph has really come into his own in Stillwater. Despite the shaky play of the offensive line and running back corps, Rudolph has tallied 1017 yards with 62% accuracy–almost 9 yards an attempt–six touchdowns and only one interception.
James Washington is still (somehow) under-appreciated , but he’s legitimately one of the best receivers in the nation. He gashed the Pitt secondary for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns on only nine receptions. He’s not a Dez Bryant/Justin Blackmon type of receiver who overpowers physically and consistently high-points balls, but he’s a burner–he only needs an inch of separation on his route to make a play.
Oklahoma State still has a long way to go to become Big 12 champions (and potentially beyond). Unlike Oklahoma, however, they have a pretty clear path. It’s fairly simple: if the Cowboys win out, they will almost certianly be in the playoffs. Their destiny is in their hands, and a difficult first step will be to emerge from Waco victorious.