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2012 College Football Win Totals: Oklahoma State

2012 College Football Win Totals: Oklahoma State

Analyzing Oklahoma State’s 2012 college football win totals is tough for me because as an OU fan who hates that other state school, whether I like to admit it or not, I know this is no longer the old OSU. Since T Boone Pickens has been pouring money into this program, the Pokes have been on an upward cycle for several years now. Like the Texas Tech teams under Mike Leach, they now work out of a system. And a very good one at that.

OSU has quieted the critics for two straight years. When they had just 8 starters returning in 2010, Phil Steele picked them to have a losing season. They then went on to post an 11-2 record. Last year  they were picked to finish no higher than 4th in the conference. They are now the defending Big 12 Champs. The million dollar question (or in T Boone’s case, the billion dollar question) is can they sustain their high level of play?

The Pokes lose two big time playmakers on offense

2012 College Football Win Totals - Oklahoma State

Blackmon & Weeden

Many of the faces that made this program successful the last 3 years are missing. With the two biggest being QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon. HC Mike Gundy will not only be dealing with a diaper dandy in new freshman QB Lunt, he’ll also have to replace one of the most dominant WR’s this conference has seen in years.

So there is no doubt whatsoever there will be growing pains with this new skill set on offense. The problem is they won’t have much time to grow into their system with some of the good teams they’ll be facing this season, including newcomers West Virginia and TCU.

The turnover factor

One of the problems that I feel the Pokes will run into in 2012 is the turnover factor. OSU has gone +12 and +21 in turnover margin the last two years. Keep in mind that in conference play, when you win the turnover margin battle, you win 80% of your games.

OSU has been very fortunate the past few years to say the least. I’m not taking away from the great job that DC Bill Young and this defense has done in creating and taking advantage of mistakes. But remember that many of those turnovers were caused because OSU has had such a prolific offense the past two years. They’ve manged to get big early leads on their opponents, which leads to turnovers when the opposition has to resort to the passing game to catch up.

But what happens if the offense can no longer put up those early points? What it does is put more added pressure on the defensive unit. Even though they were a good red zone defense that caused 41 takeawys last year, OSU still gave up a whopping 446 ypg.

Good fortune doesn’t last forever

2012 College Football Win Totals - Oklahoma State

Cowboy Defense

With 8 returning starters I do expect the defense to improve this year. But it needs to be a pretty sizeable improvement. We also have to consider the fact that the defense will be out on the field longer this season since their opponents won’t have to endure the OSU offensive onslaught of the past two years.

It could lead to depth problems for the Pokes as the year wears on. Having your first units on the field longer can also lead to injures. Something OSU has been virtually free of for the last two years.

But we all know that good fortune like that doesn’t last forever. Eventually Gundy will have to deal with injures. This is such an important issue for a team like OSU, who isn’t as deep as a Texas or OU. OSU’s team chemistry has been so good because it’s been virtually the same lineup for the entire season in each of the past two years.

Favorable Schedule

Now that I’ve given the negatives, there are some positives coming into this season. For one, just having 4 conference road games should help their young QB get assimilated to Divison 1 football from the comforts of home. And 3 of their 5 road games against Arizona, Kansas and Baylor are very winnable.

Each team in the Big 12 has weaknesses

There will be a fair share of teams in the Big 12 who will have issues of their own. TCU is trying to replace a number of starters from a defense that wasn’t up to standards last year.

Texas still has an average O-Line, QB questions and unless Shipley breaks out, no true threat at the WR position. Plus they have to visit Stillwater this year.

KSU is replacing much of their offensive line, and could be starting a pair of redshirt freshmen there, and the Cats are still far from having a dominant defense.

Baylor is obviously replacing the best player in school history, along with some offensive linemen and the best WR to come through Waco in a long time.

Even OU has massive questions at WR. The Sooners actually have fewer combined starts than the inexperienced OSU WR corp.

The non-conference game against Arizona is in Tucson, but the Wildcats will be learning a completely new offensive and defensive system, as well as not having a lot of talent on hand. Very much a game OSU should win.

Schedule Analysis

2012 College Football Win Totals - Oklahoma State

Kendall Hunter

So in determining 2012 college football win totals, we always have to look at the schedule first. Which in my opinion is favorable since they get the two newcomers to the Big 12, plus Texas in Stillwater.

Of course none of us know for sure how well West Virginia and TCU are going to adjust to a new conference. But I think they are a pretty even tradeoff to the teams we lost last year. And OSU defeated both of those teams (Missouri, Texas A&M) on the road.

So the homefield advantage could be huge here. Especially given that OSU won’t have to play West Virginia or TCU until late October. By then Gundy should have a pretty good idea of who he is dealing with when the Mountaineers and the Frogs come to town.

As of right now, these are the percentages I give OSU to win each of the games on their schedule:

Savanna State (100%)
@ Arizona (70%)
Louisiana-Lafayette (90%)
Texas (40%)
@Kansas (80%)
Iowa State (70%)
TCU (50%)
@Kansas State (40%)
West Virginia (50%)
Texas Tech (70%)
@Oklahoma (30%)
@Baylor (60%)

There will be several borderline games for OSU. Mainly because of having a freshman QB. I actually give Texas a pretty good chance of knocking them off because they are getting that young QB so early in the season.

I believe the weakest part of the OSU defense will be the rushing D. And Texas, K-State and TCU were all around 200 ypg rushing teams last year.

With Texas’ superior defense, they will especially be a tough early season opponent for the Pokes in what should be an ugly low scoring game.

Another danger spot for this team could also be Baylor the week after they play OU. Bedlam is always an emotional game. Especially this year with the game going back to Norman for the first time in two years, and the Sooners coming off a 34 point loss to OSU. The Pokes will have to watch themselves that they don’t have a letdown after that game or Baylor could surprise them the following week.

Oklahoma State’s projected 2012 college football win totals

Right now my general feeling about OSU is they’ll get to around the 8 win mark. With the young offense, they’ll probably lose a game they are suppose to win, and win a game they are suppose to lose.

2012 College Football Win Totals - Oklahoma State

Boone Pickens Stadium

I think it all adds up to about an 8-4 season. Possibly more if their young QB is extra special. But given how much of a dogfight the QB battle was this spring, I doubt if we’re looking at anything like an Andrew Luck, especially since Lunt is a true freshman who will only be a few months removed from high school.

They could have less than 8 wins if Lunt struggles and Gundy starts playing musical chairs with his QB’s. For this reason alone it makes it a tough call on OSU. Especially given that they are in a conference that is going through yet another transisiton this season.

What do you think? Can the Pokes exceed expectations for a third year in a row or will player attrition and “bad luck” finally catch up to them? I look forward to reading your comments. Thanks – GS.


5 Responses to “2012 College Football Win Totals: Oklahoma State”

  1. Kevin says:

    The biggest thing I think about with Okie State is that under Mike Gundy they tend to exceed expectations. I believe it was the 2010 season where they lost a ton of guys and everybody had them picked to finish fifth or sixth in the Big 12 south and they finished 11-2. Right now, I think Gundy’s earned some slack with me and while 8-4 sounds fair I would probably up that to at least 9-3 simply based on his recent results. Of course, he is playing a freshman QB…..

  2. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    Kevin..Like I said, this is much like the system that Leach implemeted at TT. Gundy is very good at getting players who aren’t necessarily 4 or 5 star talent, but recruited and developed to fit in their system. That’s why they’ve barely missed a beat for the last couple of years. Just like Leach, who never failed to make it to a bowl. The big difference this year to the previous two seasons is instead of having grandpa Weedon at QB, they’ll have an 18 year old freshman.

    It’s why I can’t give OSU a definite either way on the over/under 8 because until Lunt proves that he can throw the ball effectively to unproven receivers, these Big 12 D’s will put 8 in the box and we’ll see how good their run game is. Take away the run and let Johnny freshman beat you. We should find out pretty quick how well that plan works. Also like I said, OSU caught a bit of a break with their schedule this season. Especially with these new teams coming into the conference having to play in Stillwater. Along with Texas.

  3. SoonerBS says:

    I think your key point is that in years past Oklahoma State’s offense has been able to outscore the opposing team. While their defense helped in some games last season, they still gave up 26.8 ppg which is ONLY good in the Big 12 it seems. The question needed proposed is this, “Can Oklahoma State outscore their opponents this year?” With a freshman QB, and no foreseeable All-American at WR like has been for the last several years, and with a revamped offensive line, I’m going to have to answer, no, to that question.

    Still, I agree mostly with your assessment of games with a couple of exceptions: I actually think Arizona has a chance to be better than they were last season. Oklahoma State will have trouble with them because the offensive scheme will be different and a lot of their offense will be rushing. Also, this will be the first road game for the freshman QB. I give their chances at winning this game 50% or a little less.

    I also give their chances at winning against Baylor on the road at 50% or less. The few times I saw Florence come in and play whenever Griffin was out of the game last season, he looked pretty good. Obviously, Baylor will see some drop in offensive performance with the loss of Griffin, but I don’t think it is going to be as drastic as some predict. Briles’ systems are now firmly entrenched and every player knows their part in them. I look for continued success in this program. As you mentioned in your post, this game also follows the Oklahoma game on their schedule and if they are already bowl eligible by this time, they may not care much.

    I think the best bet on season totals here is Oklahoma State Under 8 games. However, it is not a strong enough lean for me to want to take the action.

  4. Kiel says:

    I also think OSU struggles at Arizona, especially with the freshman QB making his first road start. They may win, but 70% is a little too high of an estimation in my opinion.

  5. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    I understand the disagreement about the 70% chance I give OSU to beat Zona. Half of this is based on what the books are giving the futures point spread odds on that game, which opened at OSU -8.5. Now if you think that’s a good bet on Zona, I urge you to get it now. But keep in mind that Rich Rod offenses don’t always get off to smooth starts (Michigan). And that OSU will have one of the best LB/Secondary groups in the Big 12 to defense that new offense. Basically the same group that caused 41 takeaways last year.

    I do agree with you guys that if there is an upset possibilty against a more talented team, it usually comes on the road early in the season when your dealing with a rookie QB’s. SoonerBS, I understand what your saying about OSU having to outscore their opponents. But I do think their defense will be better this year. Espeically in the back 7.

    I’m not saying OSU won’t miss a beat. If their new QB struggles they could miss many beats. But right now until I see different, I still feel they are the 3rd best team in the Big 12 behind Texas and OU. OSU has one of the most stable coaching staffs in the country. With their only losses over the years coming at OC. But Gundy is an offensive specialist, and they aren’t going to miss a beat on that side of the ball. They still have one of the best DC’s and OL coaches around. Unlike OU, their OL has been very consistent for the last 4 or 5 years. And they have 60 starts returning this season. Plenty to work with. They should be able to establish their running game until the new QB gets some game reps.

    Now I’m not drinking the Phil Steele Kool-Aid, who thinks OSU will get to double digit wins again this year. I think it’s going to be back to the kiddie table for the Pokes this season. But I would be very surprised if their win total doesn’t fall between 7-9 wins. That’s why I set 8 at a starting point. I don’t know if Steele actually personally does his writeups anymore. My guess is it’s strictly a staff. But whomever it is, they can definitely be inconsistent at times. For example they really emphasize on what OSU doesn’t have coming back and has all of these question marks, yet looks at OU being forced to play WR’s and TE’s who have never played Division 1 football, yet they all believe that OU is going to be improved this year. Like I said, it’s about perception. But none of us can say for sure how an inexperinced player is going to perform until he’s thrown to the wolves.

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