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Is OSU a rogue title contender?

Wait, is this team going to do what the 2011 team couldn’t?



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

I started looking at polls and schedules on Sunday after OSU’s shellacking of Lamar and I realized something. Of the currently-undefeated college football teams, only the following will (probably) be favored in the rest of their games:

Oregon [1. Even Oregon is iffy because they play at Stanford but I think they’ll still be favorites.]
Ohio St.
Oklahoma State

That’s it.

That’s pretty crazy, right?

On Monday Todd McShay tabbed OSU as his “quiet BCS title pick” — whatever that means. Here’s what McShay said on ESPN Insider:

But the best factor in Oklahoma State’s favor is its schedule. The Cowboys get Kansas State and TCU at home in October and are unlikely to face a ranked opponent until November. They have to travel to Texas Tech, but get their two toughest opponents at home to close out the season — Baylor and Oklahoma — with a bye week in between. By that point, a well-coached team like this one should be peaking, particularly on offense after they’ve tailored things to Walsh’s skill set.

Of course, an undefeated Big 12 team wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot in the BCS title game, but it’s too early to have much of an idea of how that could all play out. There’s still a lot of season left, but based on the results of the first three weeks, I like the Cowboys as a quiet national title contender.

I agree with the sentiment — OSU’s schedule is 2011ish in that the scheduling gods were definitely smiling on the Big 12 conference employee putting this thing together. The only request you could even think about making is putting the OU and Baylor games earlier in the year.

It’s a strange thing, too. I was talking to one of my A&M buddies about this the other day — that 2011 team felt like it was an all-time team. It had two first-round picks, a future Dallas Cowboys running back, and multiple fringe NFL guys on defense. They ran up and down the field and it was just a magnificent thing to watch.

This year’s team, to the contrary, sort of plods along and does some things that make you say “ok, that was good, I guess they’re good…I don’t know, are they good?!”

If you lined up the ’11 team against the ’13 team and everybody’s life is on the line, who’s taking ’13?

And yet this year’s bunch might have an easier path to Pasadena than that one had to New Orleans. This is largely, of course, because the Big 12 is down and I don’t know anything beyond “Baylor’s offense is good.” I mean I know nothing else.

I think OU’s defense is good and I’m pretty sure Texas’ defense is awful but what do I make of Kansas State? Or Texas Tech? Can TCU score?

And so somehow we’ve arrived at this place where the most consistent thing going in the Big 12 is the machine Mike Gundy is cranking — one that might not be as dominant and overpowering as it once was but one that could just as easily deliver what everybody lusts for:

A Big 12 title and return to the BCS.

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