Since we’re already a full week into 2019, It’s time I got off my butt and punched in my predictions for the Oklahoma State world and what it becomes in 2019. I went 3-for-5 in my 2018 predictions, but the two I got wrong were big ones.
“No significant changes are made with the football staff.” Fortunately, Kyle Boone was more tapped into that situation that I was.
So here are five new predictions of how things might shape up around Stillwater over the next calendar year.
1. Spencer Sanders Will Earn All-Big 12 Honors
Going back to one of my missed predictions for 2018, I tabbed what would have been the true frosh as one of the league’s top three passers last season. With a full year in college and with the extra motivation to beat out the likes of Dru Brown and incoming freshman Brendon Costello, Sanders will be voted as one of the two by both media members and coaches come bowl season.
I think that, unfortunately, his absence was at least partially due to loyalty to Cornelius in place of upside and building for the future, which quells any intruding thoughts of Spencer doubt that have crept into my skull over the last four months.
With a talented group of playmakers to spread the ball to and what should be a continually improving offensive line, Sanders should have everything he needs for a big year.
2. OSU Baseball Hosts a Regional
Baseball is just around the corner. Crazy.
The Cowboys looked set to rebound in 2018 following a down 2017 season — and two years removed from their Omaha trip in 2016 — but Josh Holliday’s crew was bit right in the you know what by the injury bug.
The Pokes stumbled down the stretch but made it to the Deland Regional, grabbing two wins over South Florida before their season ended. A lot of young players gained some meaningful experience.
OSU comes into 2019 ranked in No. 16 by Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason Fabulous 40 poll, third among five Big 12 teams included. So I’m going to say the Cowboys do end up as one of the top 16-seeded teams and host a regional for the first time since 2015.
With Preseason All-American Colin Simpson leading a bevy of beefy hitters, and Jensen Elliott set to rejoin a stacked pitching corps for Rob Walton, the Cowboys have all the ingredients necessary for a big year.
3. Tylan Wallace Will Have Fewer Receiving Yards in 2019
Wallace was robbed of the Biletnikoff award after turning in 1,491 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in a breakout sophomore season. He should be a favorite for the award heading into next fall, but I don’t think he hits either number in 2019.
Here’s why: Wallace was thrown to at an exorbitant rate in 2018. His 150 targets (30.5 percent of OSU passes!) is more than James Washington ever saw in any year. I don’t believe that is sustainable or practical when you have so many talented skill players.
The true sophomore was not just Taylor Cornelius’ No. 1 option in 2018, he was Nos. 1-3 on most plays. Wallace’s elite ball skills and athleticism meant that a lot of those force-fed targets ended in highlight worthy catches.
I realize I’m stepping out on a limb with my rationale with an inexperienced QB and a big ❔ currently at OC, but I think the quarterback play will just be that much better in 2019. Couple that with the amount of weapons competing for touches and defenses trying to take him away, and I think OSU’s No. 1 wideout has is just as effective but with lower numbers.
4. OSU Will Win Eight Big 12 Bball Games
This one might be the furthest limb I’m willing to crawl out on. The Cowboys, currently 6-8 and winless in their first two conference games, are set on a trajectory to finish dead last in the league — just as they were voted during the preseason. That being said, I think they the match their Big 12 win mark of eight wins.
OSU’s tough noncon schedule and overwhelming youth helped to contribute to its 6-6 start, and a lot of its issues are those of an inexperienced team — foul trouble, turnovers and an offense that stalls without a true go-to scorer.
We’ve seen a Boynton-coached team improve over the course of a year and I think this one has more potential than the one that got left out of the Big Dance. But I’m not predicting a different fate on Selection Sunday. I think they’ve dug too big of a hole to get into the Tournament this year, but I predict they get on track starting with Texas on Tuesday night and that then throw in some upsets a la 2018.
5. OSU Will Win Bedlam in Football
I may have climbed to the edge of that last branch and jumped into another tree, but I think the Pokes get it done in Stillwater on November 30.
I’m not sure what I’m expecting from this Oklahoma State team heading into its final regular season game, but I think we see a better offense and that gets the Cowboys over the hump.
During the last two iterations of the historically lopsided rivalry, Mike Gundy has shed his conservative cloak for an outfit more befitting his headlong hairdo. He’s actually coached to win instead of coaching to not lose. A missed 2-point conversion and a sailed end zone pass over Tyron are all that kept the Pokes from sitting in the driver’s seat with a minute left in each of the last two years. I think Spencer, Tylan, Tyron and Chuba get it done.