Seems like there a lot of questions, and not too many answers this summer as far as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football go.
It all could turn out great. It all could go the other direction. Here’s a look at each situation and the likely outcomes:
Will Lincoln Riley continue the momentum at Oklahoma?
The pulse: Right now in Norman, things are good. Of course, it is July, so the idea of pressure is still foreign, to some extent. Riley is sitting comfortably right now and part of that is because he hasn’t had to coach a game.
The problem: Well, the problem is the uncertainty. As much as OU fans will tell you the transition from Bob Stoops to Riley has been seamless, the fact is, it’s just July. OU hasn’t played a game yet, hasn’t had to make a tackle and hasn’t had to figure out who it’s No. 1 receiver and running back is. There’s a lot of question marks out there with this Oklahoma team, starting with how the Sooners will fare against Ohio State a season after losing big to the Buckeyes in Norman.
The prognostication: Oklahoma is going to be fine, but not national championship fine. The Sooners will lose to Ohio State, but also get tripped up again before the Oklahoma State game. Expect Riley to direct a high-scoring offense, but also expect it won’t be that way until midway though the season. The transition from Stoops won’t be as easy as it seems right now and all the comfort Riley has in July will turn into some real pressure as early as mid-September.
Will OSU live up to all the July hype?
The pulse: Hard to imagine a time when coach Mike Gundy has been more popular than right now. His mullet, his persona, his attitude. All of it, along with the fact, the Cowboys should be one of the top teams in the country, have made OSU a trendy pick to be one of the country’s top teams this season.
The problem: Well, as daring as Gundy’s personality seems to let on, the Cowboys have been too conservative. Will this be the season that changes? Gundy was beaten once last season against Central Michigan because he and the Cowboys botched the rules and then was beaten because he played too safe against Oklahoma. That’s got to change, especially knowing he’s got a great receiver and a great quarterback this season, not to mention, the Sooners come to Stillwater. Mason Rudolph and James Washington could be a Heisman kind of connection, but Gundy needs to turn them loose in the big games. Let them make plays. Don’t take it easy.
The prognostication: OSU has a difficult three-game stretch that culminates with the Cowboys hosting the Sooners in early November. Yes, Oklahoma State will be in the Big 12 title race. No, the Cowboys won’t be undefeated. Neither OU or OSU will be unbeaten when they play in Stillwater. Oklahoma State will scuffle, but the Cowboys will be good enough to beat Oklahoma once in 2017.