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Five Reasons Why Oklahoma State Will Win the Big 12 in 2020

This is why (and how) Gundy can win his second conference title.



Photo via Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics

Let’s get this thought out of the way right off the top: Oklahoma State will win the Big 12 title in 2020. There. It’s out there. I’ve planted my flag.

Now that that’s said, I’ve got five reasons why I believe that proclamation is actually not just some scalding hot take I scooped off the street.

1. OSU’s defense might be great

Oklahoma State’s defense really turned a corner down the home stretch of last season, and it returns 10 of 11 starters.

“We are poised to take the next step,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said recently. “The leadership is great. Everybody knows what they’re doing. Playing fast. We’re multiple. Our packages are developing. It’s been full speed ahead. I think we have a chance to be really good.”

Among those returning starters are All-American candidates Kolby Harvell-Peel and Trace Ford, and returning from injury is Calvin Bundage, the disruptive edge rusher who in tandem with Ford should be a force this season in OSU’s pass rush.

2. The best player in the country

This man returneth:

49290162201_3f20b88119_k.jpgWith Chuba Hubbard in the fold, OSU has the most explosive offensive player in the conference and maybe in the country. Having him back ensures OSU has a Heisman-caliber talent on its side. And my hot take on that: seems good!

3. OU replacing a lot

The elephant in the room is that OU is in the midst of one of the more dominant runs in the Big 12 since its inception. But the elephant looks slightly smaller this year, with Lincoln Riley replacing superstar receiver CeeDee Lamb, Heisman contending QB Jalen Hurts and a loaded defensive front led by Kenneth Murray who is off to the NFL.

OU might just figure out a way to replace all those parts because OU seemingly always does under Riley, but an inexperienced and young QB coupled with some pretty big replacements on both sides of the ball should knock OU down a notch in expectations. There is also the matter of Norman not being (as big) a factor this year as normal. (More on that in a bit.)

4. Deep receiving corps.

Tylan Wallace is coming off an ACL tear, so we can’t expect him to be Superman from day one– ah, who are we kidding? Tylan Wallace is going to be Superman from day one.

But the depth behind him is ridiculously good, and arguably the best it’s been in several seasons. Dillon Stoner and Braydon Johnson should be in for big years, and Dee Anderson and Langston Anderson could be the most qualified non-starting receivers in the conference. Spencer Sanders has speed, height and technically-brilliant options across his receiving corps. to throw to.

5. No tough road environments

This is an even year (though, by all intents and purposes, it is an extremely odd year), which means that the road slate is not ideal: at Lawrence (OK, maybe not so bad), at Waco, at Manhattan, at Norman and at Fort Worth.

Howevah, this is the year you want a brutal road slate, with stadium capacity being limited nation-wide. It kind of evens the playing field a bit not just for OSU on the road, but for all road teams.

Let’s run those down by road opponent:

1. At Kansas: LOL

2. At Baylor: Matt Rhule left Baylor to take over the franchise of an NFL team that won five games last season. The Bears are in for a rebuild.

3. At Kansas State: K-State might be OK this season. But just-OK shouldn’t (shouldn’t!) be good-enough to beat this Oklahoma State team.

4. At OU: OU is planning to have a projected capacity of around 25 percent this season, meaning the annual Bedlam rivalry will be played in Norman in front of around 20,000 fans. That’s still a lot (Kansas dreams of having 20,000 fans in total this season), but it’s nowhere near the 86,000+ that can fit in that stadium, which makes the task of pulling off a road win over the Sooners slightly less daunting.

5. At TCU: I feel the same about TCU that I feel about K-State: the Horned Frogs might be fine this season. But with this being OSU’s season finale — and with a potential Big 12 title berth on the line — I think this is one the Pokes can handle.


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