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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 2024 Schedule

A Friday in Boulder, a tough opening stretch and a way-too-early prediction and more.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

College football is losing some great traditions with all the conference reshuffling, but the refreshed conferences and the expanded playoff also make this an exciting time in the college football landscape.

The new-look Big 12 released its schedule for the 2024 season on Tuesday. Here is a look at Oklahoma State’s schedule and five thoughts about it.

Date Opponent
Aug. 31
vs. South Dakota State
Sept. 7 vs. Arkansas
Sept. 14 at Tulsa
Sept. 21 vs. Utah
Sept. 28 at Kansas State
Oct. 5
vs. West Virginia
Oct. 19 at BYU
Oct. 26 at Baylor
Nov. 2
vs. Arizona State (Homecoming)
Nov. 9 at TCU
Nov. 23 vs. Texas Tech
Nov. 29 at Colorado

1. A Friday in Boulder

I actually want to start at the end: OSU’s trip to Boulder on Nov. 29, a Friday.

With all the Cowboys have returning, the expectations will be high for this squad. A trip to see Prime on what ought to be a cold Colorado evening could be a massive game if Deion Sanders and Co. can take a step forward this upcoming season. But even if the Buffaloes aren’t all that great in 2023, a Friday trip to altitude seems like one heck of a trap game. This could be what stands between OSU and a shot at a Big 12 title and a trip to the 12-team playoff.

Colorado went just 4-8 in Year 1 of the Prime era, losing its final six games of the year, but it’s undeniable that Sanders is an excellent recruiter. So at the very least, the Buffaloes will have some solid athletes to go up against the Pokes with.

2. Two Open Weeks

The Cowboys (and every other Big 12 team) have a pair of bye weeks this upcoming season. OSU will be open the weekends of Oct. 12 and Nov. 16.

It feels like as of late the Cowboys’ bye weeks have always come a bit too early (and there has been only one of them). If you got to pick, you’d probably prefer that first one especially to be a week or two earlier because by Oct. 12 the team will have been going for a while after you take fall camp into account. But players having two different breaks in the schedule seems great — especially thinking back to some of the injury struggles the Cowboys have had in recent seasons.

So, OSU will go six games, bye, four games, bye, two games. If OSU is competing for a Big 12 title, that late open week could be extra beneficial, but those opening six games to start are going to be a grind.

West Virginia got, I think, the perfect open week distribution, as the Mountaineers’ schedule is broken up into three four-week blocks with byes in between.

3. A Tough Start to the Year

The Cowboys and Utes ought to be the Big 12’s marquee matchup on Sept. 21, as (here in January) both teams are expected to compete atop the conference.

But even looking past that, the meat of OSU’s schedule appears to be there at the start of conference play. The Cowboys play Utah, Kansas State and West Virginia before their first open week. Those three teams went a combined 26-13 in 2023 — a 67% win percentage.

Then between byes, the Cowboys play BYU, Baylor, Arizona State and TCU. Those four went a combined 16-32 in 2023 — 33% win percentage.

OSU closes the year with Texas Tech and Colorado. Those two went a combined 11-14 in 2023 — a 44% win percentage.

Everyone in those first three games won at least eight games last season. No one in the final six won eight games.

All that is to say that if the Cowboys come out of that game against West Virginia in good standing, it should get easier from there. But that opening stretch looks like it’s going to be a grind.

4. One Home Game in Six Weeks?

The end of October/start of November is going to feel a little odd.

Starting with OSU’s first open week on Oct. 12, the Cowboys will play in Boone Pickens Stadium just once over a six-week period: their homecoming tilt against Arizona State on Nov. 2.

That bye turns into back-to-back road games at BYU and at Baylor before the Cowboys’ homecoming game. Then the Cowboys are on the road at TCU before their next bye week. It’s not a particularly rough stretch of the season, but it’ll just be a little weird watching one game in BPS during such a long stretch.

5. Way-Too-Early Prediction

I reserve the right to change this prediction as the season draws near, but my initial prediction upon seeing that schedule is 10-2.

I say the Cowboys start 3-0 through the noncon, though South Dakota State is probably going to put up quite the fight. Then I think OSU drops one of Utah, Kansas State and West Virginia, and I also think the Cowboys drop one more road game, whether that be in Provo, Waco, Fort Worth or Boulder.

If I had to order those last four road games in terms of danger, I’d go: Provo, Boulder, Fort Worth and then Waco. But without for sure knowing all these teams’ rosters at this point, I don’t want to pick specific games.

A 10-2 record ought to be good enough to get back to Arlington, which in turn means OSU should be in the mix for a spot in the expanded playoff. It looks to be a fun year.

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