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A few things that worry me…

OSU is poised to win its second Big 12 title in three years, but I have some questions.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

I know most of you have us going 12-0 and all that and Devin Davis’ knee injury aside this preseason has been nothing but encouraging.

But there are still a few things that worry me going into the first game. This year, more than any other, it feels like the Big 12 is just one big question mark and OSU is not at all immune to that.

I have obvious questions (“how many times a week does Gundy get his hair cut?” “how much Googling does Glenn Spencer have to do per tweet?”) but then I have some not-so-obvious ones as well.

Let’s get to those.

1. Do we trust the special teams?

You know what the last few Big 12 champs have had in common? Elite special teams. OSU is going to have a new punt returner, new punter, and new kicker this season. Those are real issues that we like to sweep under the rug cuz, you know, WALSHDOZER IZ BACK AND THE DEFENSE SUCKS BURN THE GRAY UNIZ!

2. What is the correction in turnover margin?

2011 and 2012 were outliers in terms of turnover margin for this team — OKC Dave did a good job covering that last week in this piece. My question is not whether or not OSU will find some middle ground this year (they will) but where that middle ground will be. If it’s on 2010 footing then we could be in for something special but if it’s closer to 2012 then we likely aren’t.

3. Can OSU stop long drives?

I know, the horse is glue we’ve beaten the poor thing so much but I’m curious to see if OSU can flip some of those long drives from its opponents this season. Last year the Pokes were barely inside the top 100 in stopping teams that started within their own 20. Flip one of those a game and that’s at least a few more wins. Combine that with the correction in turnovers and…yeah, you get where I’m going.

4. I want to know who “the guy” is

I talked about this a little bit in my post about Gundy’s decision to use two quarterbacks (as well as my podcast this week with Amilian) but when OSU is down six with three minutes left at Tech or in Morgantown late on a Saturday night, I want to know who the crap is getting the rock.

I know that sounds like a silly thing (they’re both great!) but I think stuff like that matters to a team over the course of 12 games. Maybe by the Tech game or the WVU game or the UTSA game (?) Gundy will have figured this out[1. For all I know he already has it figured out right now.] but given his, uhh, not strong history at choosing the right quarterback, I have my doubts.

5. Where’s the swagger?

Have you guys ever watched Rory McIlroy strut after a big shot? It’s one of my favorite things in golf. That “I will not lose because I am so much better than all of you” thing somebody just screams by the way they walk. OSU as a team had that going collectively in 2011. Every time they rolled out there was so much “we just don’t give a crap who we’re playing” it was borderline unbelievable.

Last year? Nada.

They looked like a team being co-led by freshmen. They played fine — the system worked and they ran it well but there are zero chances that 2011 team was blowing a game in Norman in which it never trailed in regulation. Zero. That door would have been slammed shut so hard that Monken would have come down to the sidelines for the fourth quarter.

It’s different this year than last year though. Guys are older, veterans are back, both QBs have a reason to strut.

Will this team get its cocky “screw you, Texas and OU” thing back?

It could be the difference between a Big 12 title and another Alamo Bowl appearance.

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