The hype train keeps rolling for Oklahoma State.
Thursday, a panel of CBS Sports college football experts unveiled their rankings of the teams in the Big 12 and gave their takes on which teams in the conference were overrated and underrated. Four of the seven experts picked the Cowboys to finish first in the conference. Tom Fornelli, Dennis Dodd, Jerry Palm and Barrett Sallee picked OSU, while Chip Patterson, Barton Simmons and Ben Kercheval selected Oklahoma.
“OSU had one of the best defenses in the conference last season, and while it loses some key parts, I believe the unit will be strong again,” Fornelli wrote on behalf of the four. “On offense, the Cowboys have the best QB-WR duo in the conference with Mason Rudolph and James Washington.”
Washington has been named to a bevy of preseason All-American teams, with outlets such as Sporting News, Bleacher Report, Associated Press, Athlon Sports and ESPN including him on their lists. Rudolph, the man throwing to Washington, has received his share of preseason hype, with Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples picking him to win the Heisman Trophy.
Of course, not all of CBS Sports’ experts favored the Cowboys. OSU finished third in two of the ballots, with questions about its defense seemingly being the reason.
“Statistically this was the 92nd best defense in college football last year in terms of yards allowed, and it loses six starters from that unit,” Simmons wrote. “I love teams that are composed of a bunch of wide receivers and a great quarterback. They’re fun to watch. But how many teams with that identity plus an anonymous defense make the playoffs? It’s going to be a fun year in Stillwater, but a playoff run won’t ever be in the cards.”
Simmons, though, said the OSU’s offense “may be the best offense in college football.” Fornelli added that the possible dip the Sooners will experience replacing coach Bob Stoops with Lincoln Riley might be enough for the Cowboys to strike for their second Big 12 title this decade.
“There’s a transition period there, and when you combine that with some huge losses on offense, the Sooners don’t seem nearly as strong to me this year,” Fornelli wrote. “And Oklahoma State is going to take advantage of it.”
Overall, coach Mike Gundy’s Cowboys were CBS Sports’ favorites in the conference. They’ll look to back that up starting Aug. 31 against Tulsa.