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Oklahoma State Embracing ‘That Dog’ Mentality Heading in 2017



Oklahoma State, to most of us, might be a sexy pick to win the Big 12 or even make the College Football Playoff or even win the National Championship, but on the macro scale, the Cowboys are still fighting uphill.

The Cowboys are favored by less than 70 percent in eight of their games and are underdogs in three, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. So while the best group of receivers in the nation might be on the field in Stillwater, a lot of people aren’t buying in.

“That’s kinda where we want to be,” James Washington said at Big 12 Media Days.

With a quick glance at what the FPI is projecting there are a few things jump off the page. For starters, TCU is somehow favored to win in Stillwater, something that hasn’t happened since before the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Opponent OSU Odds Opponent Odds
Tulsa 84.6% 15.4%
South Alabama 93.4% 6.6%
Pittsburgh 59.1% 40.9%
TCU 49.2% 50.8%
Texas Tech 65.8% 34.2%
Baylor 67.2% 32.8%
Texas 41.1% 58.9%
West Virginia 60.5% 39.5%
Oklahoma 23.9% 76.1%
Iowa State 74.8% 25.2%
Kansas State 64.2% 35.8%
Kansas 94.5% 5.5%

Besides the fact that South Alabama has a better chance at winning than Kansas, there are a few jokes on that list. Texas is favored at a 58.9 percent clip. Bedlam, which should be the most competitive it has been in years, is at 76-24. And the odds of Texas Tech beating OSU are better than those that Baylor has.

The Cowboys are still favored in most of their contests, so by this metric, they should win nine games. But in the scope of expectation, that’s not enough — but again, that’s OK.

“We want to be the guy that no one thinks about and then sneak up on you and steal a win,” Washington said.

The most likely “steal” would be in Austin against Tom Herman’s Texas squad, the one that lost to Kansas last year. The Longhorns were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll behind Kansas State. They haven’t beaten OSU on their home turf in eight seasons and four tries. Since then, in 2008, UT has gone through four losing seasons and haven’t reached 10 wins once.

When Herman got the job, he brought the team in for a meeting and took a poll.

“Raise your hand if you’ve been on a winning Texas football team,” Herman said at media days.

“Three people raised their hand,” he said.

Maybe I’ll be retracting this story in a few months when coach Mike Gundy and his team get thumped out of the sky in Austin or Pittsburgh or Lubbock or … Ames. But for now, Washington said he thinks the Cowboys like the feeling of being counted out when they know they’re in.

“Gundy always says, ‘You want to be that dog with its back up against the wall,” Washington said. “‘And when it’s time to come out swinging, it’s time to go.'”

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