The Oklahoma State Cowboys reached a high of fourth in the polls last season as the Cowboys controlled their own destiny to win the Big 12 title and reach the College Football Playoff. However, the Pokes lost their final three games by double digits, to Baylor, Oklahoma and then to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. So Coach Mike Gundy could be a bit on the hot seat entering 2016. OSU has a wins total of eight on NCAA football lines, with the over a slight favorite.
Here’s a Look at the 2016 Oklahoma State Cowboys Fearless Betting Predictions
OSU Will Be Unbeaten In Non-Conference Play
The Pokes open the season as huge favorites against SE Louisiana. That will be a blowout win. So will Week 2 vs. Central Michigan. The Chips hosted OSU last year and caused some problems in a 24-13 loss. The Chippewas took a 13-10 lead early in the third quarter. Urgency returned to the Oklahoma State offense as the Cowboys scored a touchdown, missed a field goal, scored another touchdown, punted then missed a short field goal to put together productive, lengthy drives on four of its final five possessions to lock down the win. The Cowboys were just the fifth Power Five conference school in the last 20 years to visit Kelly/Shorts Stadium. But as noted, this game is in Stillwater.
The Cowboys close the non-conference schedule at home vs. Pitt. That won’t be easy but Oklahoma State will win at home.
QB Mason Rudolph Will Get Heisman Votes
As a sophomore, Mason Rudolph passed for 3,770 yards and 21 touchdowns with a 62.3 completion percentage in 2015 to lead the Cowboys to that 10-3 record and an appearance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He averaged 290 passing yards per game and 287.3 yards of total offense per game, both of which trail only Brandon Weeden in 2010 and 2011 on Oklahoma State’s single-season list.
Rudolph’s 40 completions on passes thrown at least 20 yards down the field tied California’s Jared Goff for the national lead among Power Five conference quarterbacks. He had 13 touchdowns against just two interceptions on such passes (+11), a differential that matched Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
James Washington Will Be Big 12’s Top Receiver
As a second-team All-Big 12 selection by both the coaches and the media last year, Washington is the conference’s only returning 1,000-yard receiver and led all returning Big 12 wideouts in yards per game and touchdowns last season. He was a midseason addition to the watch list for the 2015 Biletnikoff Award, and he led the nation with four 70-plus yard receptions. With 1,087 receiving yards, he became one of only four underclassmen ever at OSU to post a 1,000-yard receiving season, joining Rashaun Woods (2001), Dez Bryant (2008) and Justin Blackmon (2010).
Defensive End Jarrell Owens Will Have Breakout Season
Gundy does not expect Owens to resemble recently departed All-American Emmanuel Ogbah when the season begins, but watch for Owens to surge as the season progresses. He’ll only get better as the Cowboys enter the teeth of their Big 12 schedule late in the season. Gundy said Owens, a prolific high school running back in Texas, always had speed; at 6-foot- 3 and 270 pounds, the redshirt sophomore now has the size to stand against the push of opposing lines. Last year, Owens had three sacks and one forced fumble.
The Cowboys Will Win At Baylor, Start 10-0 Again
The schedule is pretty friendly until late November. The toughest game on the schedule in the first 10 is at Baylor on Sept. 24. Last year the Bears handed OSU its first loss 45-35. Baylor picked up its first win at Oklahoma State since 1939, snapping an 11-game road losing streak in the series. Rudolph passed for 430 yards and three touchdowns, and Washington and Jalen McCleskey each caught two touchdown passes for the Cowboys, but the Cowboys rushed for 8 yards on 23 carries.
But Baylor will take a step back this season with all the off-field issues and OSU will be 10-0 when it visits TCU on Nov. 19. However, the Pokes will lose at TCU and at Oklahoma to close the regular season. Still go over those eight wins on NCAA football lines.