Oklahoma State Is Not Scheduling for Success in Football, Does it Matter?

[USATSI]
Written by Phillip Slavin

Technically, Oklahoma State’s 2017 season isn’t over yet, with the Camping World Bowl still on deck. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to next season and beyond.

When the Cowboys take the field in the fall of 2018, they’ll face a non-conference lineup of Missouri State, Tulsa, and Boise State, all inside the confines of Boone Pickens Stadium.

It’s a nice schedule to help break in a new quarterback (and possibly a new coordinator … or two?) But it’s also not a schedule built for the ultimate goal of reaching the playoff. For that matter, none of OSU’s non-conference schedules are.

Between 2018 and 2023, Oklahoma State will face seven different FBS programs in the non-conference.

• South Alabama (2018, 2023)
Oregon State (2019, 2020)
Rice (2021)
Arizona State (2022, 2023)
Tulsa (2019, 2020, 2021)
Boise State (2018, 2021)
Central Michigan (2022)

Of those seven, four will have a new head coach next season; South Alabama, Oregon State, Rice, and Arizona State. The changes aren’t coming because their coaches were snipped by other programs are went to the NFL, but because they were fired or left a program they didn’t believe they could win at (we can debate whether these decisions were smart or not another day).

It was already a lineup of opponents that didn’t get me excited. But now?

Maybe Jonathan Smith will be Oregon State’s Mike Gundy. The former Beaver quarterback and Washington offensive coordinator will likely still be in charge of the program when OSU arrives in Corvallis in 2019.

Maybe Herm Edwards will surprise us all and be the next Pete Carroll. More likely, he’ll be the next Lovie Smith and won’t be on the sidelines by the time ASU and OSU face off in 2022 and 2023.

(Side note: What’s with OSU scheduling so many home-and-homes with Pac-12 teams? Since Gundy took over they’ve played Washington State and Arizona, and have ASU and Oregon State on the schedule.)

Even if things do work out, that would just be lucky for OSU. These aren’t programs with a history of success. No, neither was Oklahoma State before the last decade, but the point is, OSU is now and has been for awhile.

This season’s non-conference schedule is a perfect example of what happens when you don’t schedule well. We all thought Tulsa and Pitt would be good. They weren’t. Unfortunately we didn’t realize that until it was too late and after fans (and seemingly the team) had started to believe they were world beaters.

Then TCU brought them back down to earth. Was it a bit of a fluke? Sure. But do Pitt, Tulsa, and South Alabama have a history of success?

Here are their records since 2007 (South Alabama has only been a full FBS program since 2012).

Team 2007-2017
Pittsburgh 78-63
Tulsa 78-64
South Alabama 29-45

Pitt has had one 10-plus win season since 2007 (it was in 2009). Tulsa has had five, but in that time they’ve beaten one ranked opponent (No. 24 Hawaii) and two Power 5 teams (Iowa State & Notre Dame).

I always go back to 2012. Would OSU still have lost to Arizona in Week 2 if they had played someone better than Savannah State? Maybe, but I always put a good deal of blame for that loss on the fact that OSU would have faced a bigger challenge if it had played a scrimmage in Week 1 instead of an 84-0 blowout over one of the worst FCS teams in history.

In this day and age of the playoff, scheduling matters.

Look at Wisconsin this year. Despite going 12-1 but they didn’t break into the top four until the week before the Big 10 Title game, and fell to sixth after the loss. Why? Their best win is over 9-3 Florida Atlantic.

Or Ohio State last season. Their win over Oklahoma was touted as the primary reason they got into the playoff despite not winning the Big 10 or their division.

Or Clemson this year, which received the No. 1 seed (and the benefit of the doubt all season) because of an early season win over Auburn.

Side note: I understand the argument that Alabama got in despite a weak schedule and a non-conference schedule where Fresno State was their best win. The problem applying that to Oklahoma State is simple: Bama is always going to get a “benefit of the doubt” that Oklahoma State is not. At least not until they win four national titles in eight years.

I’m not saying OSU needs to schedule Alabama (that would require the Tide to play a non-conference true road game, and that ain’t happening). But if Oklahoma State is going to schedule so many Pac-12 teams, why not get Washington or Oregon on the schedule? If we’re going to have a Michigan team, how about Michigan State or Michigan instead of Central Michigan?

Yes, Oklahoma State has had Mississippi State, Florida State and Georgia on the slate, but those have been the exception, not the norm.

It will probably never happen regularly with Mike Gundy at the helm. But if you look at the playoff the last few years (Ohio State last year, Clemson this year) the committee rewards teams for scheduling strongly out of conference. Yes, OSU would still have to win the Big 12 (in theory), but playing and beating a respected opponent certainly wouldn’t hurt its case.

  • stepdaddy

    IT’S HOLDER’S FAULT, IT’S HOLDER’S FAULT, IT’S HOLDER’S FAULT!! Everybody knows Gundy ain’t scared of nobody and wants to play all comers. Wait a second…that’s not right. He whined and whined and threatened to go to Tenn. the first time because Holder scheduled FSU and did not give Gundy enough input. He rewards the fans with one big game a year against OU by retreating into his turtle shell. Wait never mind….IT’S HOLDER’S FAULT, IT’S HOLDER’S FAULT, IT’S HOLDER’S FAULT!! Everybody knows that Gundy will schedule tougher if Holder gets fired.

    Great article by the way.

    • okstate4life

      Honestly ask yourself, why should he schedule better opponents?? Seemingly, all Gundy has to do to appease a large portion of this fan base is to crank out 9 wins a season by beating up powder puffs in the non-con and knocking off the scraps of the conference. If he can keep getting those 9 win seasons without contempt for not progressing forward as a program, why the hell would he want to schedule a decent team that could help derail his moniker as one of the winning-est coaches??

      • stepdaddy

        What I appreciate most about our non-scheduling is that:
        1. It gets the team prepared for the season;
        2. It helps with recruiting because everybody knows big time players of playing Savanah St., Pitt, South Ala. CMU, Tulsa, Rice, etc;
        3. It rewards the fans who spend their money on season tickets with outstanding match ups; and
        4. It like three additional orange/white games every year!!!

        • okstate4life

          5. It’s three games closer to qualifying four our annual CFP Alamo Bowl.

      • OSU Student

        To be fair, he won 10 games and made a NY6 two years ago with a sophomore QB who had only played in 2 games previously, no running game, no defense, and a team full of middle-of-the-pack recruits who bigger schools didn’t want. I’m not saying Mike Gundy is nick Saban or anything crazy like that, but we have got to stop pretending that OSU is a top-tier school and accept the fact that we are what we are. We are one of only 6 schools in the nation to win 10+ games 6 different times in the past 9 years (if we beat VT) and one of the top 10 winningest programs in America over the Last decade. Not making the playoff can be real frustrating in years like this, but before Gundy OSU would get laughed at for mentioning a 10-win season. He’s not a world-beater, but he’s not John Blake or something, like some of you guys pretend he is.

        • stepdaddy

          You right Gundy is be commended for turning around program and building up the program. He is definitely no John Blake. I am simply sick and tire of OSU getting out coached year in and year out. Ideally, I would like to Gundy hire some good assistants again. But seems content to stick with MY and GS no matter what. If the coaching doesn’t improve OSU will have built fantastic facilities for nothing and the fans will be looking back for decades at what might have been.

        • okstate4life

          Listen, I’ve said it on here before but I get it. I remember the times when we could barely win a game. I was there at the school and in the stands. I know where we’ve came from. But the simple fact of the matter is we haven’t progressed forward as a football team since 2011. Plain and simple. These 10 win seasons don’t mean hardly anything if we don’t get the serious hardware to back them up. Don’t believe me? Look no further than our recruiting classes for the past 10 years. I, as well as many of us completely understand we’re not Alabama and Gundy sure as hell is no Nick Saban. He’s no John Blake either. He’s just a good ball coach with an average 9 win season as he has shown for the past near decade. Nothing wrong with that. My problem is that we’ve been continuously going through Groundhog Day for years now of no conference titles, 9 win seasons and annual trips to an Alamo-like bowl. When do we as a fanbase and supporters of the program say, “Okay Gundy good job but now let’s start moving forward again”. When do we start expecting more? How many more years are we going to give a pass at the end of the season just because he’s the best coach that we’ve had up to this point? The other side of the fence says “we want to progress forward but we appreciate what we have.” That’s fine but unless changes get made, that progression forward is not going to happen. So again, how much longer are we hoping that if we keep repeating these 9-10 win seasons doing the same thing, we’re suddenly going to break through that ceiling?? Are we better or worse as a program since 2011? Honest questions.

          • OSU Student

            I will 100% agree we should have more than one conference title. That is a definite. But beyond that, you can’t attack Gundy, or anyone at any non-blue blood program anywhere in America for not winning a title yet. Help me out, when is the last time a non-blue blood won a national title? Auburn, maybe? Not sure if they’re a blue-blood or not. Other than that, look at the past 25 years. There’s not one single team in there anywhere who is not a powerhouse who has won a title. Unless you could make the argument that Clemson is not one (which they are). Alabama, Ohio state, Florida, Florida state, USC, LSU, Miami, and Oklahoma are the only other schools in the past 27 seasons (!!!) to win a national title. I am perfectly fine with Gundy being held accountable for not winning another conference title. But he’s been to 3 NY6 bowls (if you count the cotton in ’13) in the past 6 seasons, and was arguably robbed of a national championship game in ’11. He had a chance to be the first coach in 3 decades to take a mid-tier program all the way to a national championship. Him not getting in that year wasn’t his fault. He underperformed this year. Our team underperformed this year. But other than that, which other season did we underperform? Last season? We lost the big 12 title game, on the road, in Norman. Two years ago? A sophomore QB went 10-1 and took us to a NY6 bowl. 3 years ago? Worst team we’ve had in 15 years and we still won a bowl game. 4 years ago? We were benching QB’s left and right the first half of the season and still went to the cotton bowl. This is the first season since the dez suspension debacle that we have underperformed or failed to meet expectations. And all of the sudden it’s as if people are pretending Gundy has had a top 3, national title-built squad every season and every season he’s choked, and the roof is on fire. A few years ago, I laughed in the faces of OU fans for putting for sale signs in Bob stoops yard. They put em in his yard the year he made the CFP! I thought Sooner fans were spoiled and unrealistic. The sad thing is, that’s becoming OSU. And OSU has less of a reason than OU did to be upset about not making national championships.

          • okstate4life

            Let’s pump the breaks a sec….who said anything about winning a Natty? Yes that would be nice and should be the ultimate goal but we can’t even get over the winning the conference hump. We did once and have plateaued or got worse since. Every year we win about 9 games and every year we go to a third tier bowl. Again I ask, at what point as a program do we look beyond this ceiling?? How much longer will our fan base have to wait to win the conference? How many more get out of jail free cards to we give Gundy when he gets his annual ass-whipping by OU? When will the program start insisting we start progressing forward again??

          • OSU Student

            My point is, if you ask yourself “when do we start winning more than 10 wins a season?” You’re essentially saying “when do we start going 11-1 or 12-0 regularly instead of 10-2 regularly?” And if you’re doing that, you’re playing for national championships. And the only schools in the entire nation that regularly win 11 or 12 games a year are the absolute best of the best. And not even the best of the best can win 11 to 12 games regularly. The only 4 teams to win 11+ games the last two years are Bama, Clemson, Ohio state, and OU. We’re just talking about winning only 1 more game than OSU has each year, for only the last 2 years. Think about that. Only 4 teams in the country have been able to win just one more game than OSU each of the last 2 years.

            And calling going to NY6 bowls 50% of the time over the past 6 seasons “third tier bowls” means that you think nothing less than the CFP, or a NY6 every single year, is acceptable. And I just think that’s a ridiculously overassuming ceiling for a program that is not on the level of blue bloods, and not even those schools can do that, other than Alabama and Clemson.

          • okstate4life

            Hold up, think about how we’re getting to those 9-10 win seasons we’re so fond of. We’re beating poor non-con teams, the mid to lower half of a down conference and we’re including the bowl which is TYPICALLY a lower tier bowl if you go back 10 years (the relevance of that mark is about the time we peaked/plateaued as a program). Every year we get beat by OU, play down to teams scrapping by wins and lose to a couple teams that we should not have lost to. The reality of this is that if we can correct these issues we make the next step forward as a program and start winning the conference which in turn will feed into the ultimate goal of CFP contention. So please, don’t make this team into world beaters because we’re getting those 9 wins in the regular season based on the facts previously listed. All I’m saying is that is it too much to ask for us to have a better record against OU than 2*-11 in Gundy’s tenure? Is it too much to ask for us to win 1 conference championship? Why are our standards so low? I just want our program to get out of the plateau it’s been in since 2011 and everyone acts as though if we keep doing the same thing we do year in and out…somehow it’s going to change. Again, when do we say Gundy thanks for what you’ve done but it’s about time we fix the consistent mistakes we make year after year and progress forward again.

      • Stephen Self

        Agree

    • Russell Wright

      Is Gundy or Holder behind the scheduling of non-conference opponents? Who has the final say/approval for said schedules?

      • stepdaddy

        Previously Holder had the final say. Following Gundy’s tantrums and threats to leave I am not sure. May be he has some, partial, or complete say in who OSU schedules. All I know is Gundy is adamant about playing a weak non-con schedule and almost left for Tenn. because Holder forced him to play FSU. Playing FSU at Jerry’s World was one of the best fan and player experiences ever as far as OSU football is concerned. OSU fans basically had two bowl games in one year. The game was one of the best pre season games of the year. Commentators talked about how OSU played FSU closer than anyone prior to the national championship game.

      • GeoPoke

        I particularly remember reading Gundy wants the easy wins (FCS) because teams like Baylor and ‘Bama were moving forward with little to no challenge. Holder wanted to make the money so he was up for scheduling big money games.

    • AustinCowboy

      It comes down to the fact that nobody big wants to schedule games with us because 1. We can actually beat them and 2. There isn’t enough fanfare behind OkState to warrant its worth.

      • GeoPoke

        Is it that or is it Gundy not wanting those teams? Holder got FSU and MSU scheduled before. I think Holder is a money maker and will do that without a second thought, but Gundy wants the wins.

      • stepdaddy

        I agree with GeoPoke, if Gundy wants it happen will happen. We had a home and home Georgia for Pete’s sake. I think we could get home and homes with Miami, Tenn. ND, Neb., MU, UM, Ariz., Ariz St., UCLA, Washington, Clemson, etc. Think about all the unbeleivable wins OSU could have had over the last 10 years against these teams. Yes. We would had to sacrafice some 10 win seasons. Big deal!

        • Tyler

          We are NOT getting a home and Home against ND, Clemson. There are a few more maybes on your list too

          • stepdaddy

            We already had a home with Clemson before the ACC realignment. Who else are we not getting genius? Why don’t you make a list? I beat teams left off of you list are still significantly better than CMU and Pitt?

          • Tyler

            Pre-championship matchup yeah. The game shanges after you win the big one and OSU Can be a scary team to schedule because we are trying to make a name for ourselves. My list

            Penn State, Cincy, would love to have some more Georgia games those were great, hell i’d Take Georgia tech too. Maryland for football and basketball. Arkansas, Tennessee might be salty at Gundy but that could swing them either way. South Carolina, any of the armed forces teams would be fun as well.

            The p12 matchups are snoozers (az beat us on a down year) and I’d rather have a game that puts us in a recruits backyard, on good tv spot, or would be decent driving distance .

            Pitt was SOOOOO bad they beat the number one team last year sad number 2 this year

  • Cowboy

    Sure it would be fun to watch big time OSU non-conference games, but it’s irrelevant in regards to the CFP. A program like Oklahoma State is going to be passed over everytime by the likes of an Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, etc. Unless we go undefeated, we’re not getting a CFP bid. The committee will always find justification for a bigger brand over teams like Oklahoma State, unless we’re undefeated. Soft scheduling in the non-con makes it easier to make a run at an undefeated season. Boring and unproductive as it may be, we should probably get used to it.

    • JT

      Good post.

    • Guest

      LOL uh not likely. A Big 12 title with OU in the conference meaning you would have to beat them twice to earn it would easily get OSU in even if they had one loss on their schedule. You’re perception of the brand is a little off.

      • David

        False. Especially with a 4-team playoff, the scenario you mentioned would simply result in no Big 12 teams in the playoff.

        • Alum in AZ

          Could go either way – but I think most times we would be left out (I agree with you). Take this year, for example. What if we had won the Big XII Championship with a single loss in the regular season (whether to OU or TCU). We still would have been ranked higher than the Pac 12 Champion, but something tells me the only “OSU” that would have been selected would be from Columbus.

        • GeoPoke

          Same with Big 10. Wisconsin was only in the discussion because they were undefeated going in. That would be us.

        • Chris Stover

          OU is going to win the National Title this year and it will change things. The Big 12 is just fine. All the talking heads don’t know what they are talking about.

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  • Gopokes82

    The commitee has already said that it doesnt matter who you play? All it matters is how you look on film? So this post is pointless

    • GeoPoke

      They can say that, but look at Wisconsin. One loss (granted it was the last game) and they’re out. We could do the same thing and not make it. I think we need at least 1 big OOC game.

      • GeoPoke

        Not just a P5 (ASU, OSU)

  • Alum in AZ

    Would Wisconsin made it to the CFP if they had won the B1G Championship Game? Yes. Our scheduling is fine (other than the need to get rid of any/all FCS teams from our schedule forever).

    • GeoPoke

      This is our scenario every year. Only thing would be if one of the OOC wins was against a top 10 team (OU > tOSU).

  • Chris Gordon

    Scheduling is a two way street. Yes we are half of that, but nobody ever thinks about the other half. Maybe we are too demanding? Maybe other teams don’t want to play us? We all would love a tougher schedule, but we don’t get to pick.

    • Alum in AZ

      Agree. UCLA and Georgia are two big non-con names who came to Stillwater and went home disappointed. I don’t think bigger programs will do a home and home with us (therefore Miss St in Houston and FSU in Dallas). I hate neutral site games…

      • Steve Seeger

        UCLA did not go home disappointed, for they won in Stillwater.

        • Alum in AZ

          Ah – thanks for the correction. I guess we got the win there, right?

      • GeoPoke

        I wonder what the cost/benefit says on neutral site games. Does a win against a top 15 team on a neutral field, fuel bigger crowds and more attention in Stillwater? I think so, but does it replace money spent in town? Probably not. But I don’t go to Stilly every weekend anyways so for someone like me, it doesn’t matter where it is.

    • Darth

      Still hoping some of these bad games get dropped for a neutral site meeting. Still plenty of NFL stadiums not in use for week 1. Oregon State/Arizona State is fine, let’s find a few more of that tier of P5 schools with schedule gaps and see what we can do. ACC/SEC all have only 8 conference games, let’s figure it out.

    • AustinCowboy

      Thank you, someone with sense.

  • Pokester

    I thought this had been covered already. Scheduling 1 away non power five gets you 2 home games. It seems to be following the easy money, as most things do…

  • Buckaroo

    Bring on the cupcakes they are delicious. Except Chippewa, Trojan, and Cougar cupcakes – they left a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Big D

    True. The problem with Gundys appraoch is we dont have the name brand those blue bloods have. Bama can have a trash schedule and get in anyway. We can’t. We gotta line em up AND beat em. The thing is though, amd im speculating here, maybe Gundy doesn’t have the same goal as the fanbase. Maybe he’s simply trying to win the Big 12 amd could care less about the playoff. In a sense, he would have a point since we cant get to bigger goals till we hit the smaller ones. But still…schedule sucks. We seem to be plateau-ing

  • frankwick

    Counter point to “Oklahoma State will face seven different FBS programs.” That is not the right metric. In the stated timeframe we face 13 non-conference FBS teams (TUx3, ASUx2, etc). Plus, the schedules are not complete yet so we could add more.

  • Marc Hensley

    Purely out of curiosity, how many of those teams mentioned would be willing to put the Cowboys on their schedule? Maybe the pokes aren’t trying to get some of these games, maybe the teams aren’t willing, how do we know which is which?

    • Chris Saxon

      You’re on to something. Look back at past schedules for the blue bloods he thinks we can schedule. Hint. They won’t play anyone.

      • GeoPoke

        I think Holder can make those deals. Not saying P5 teams are/aren’t willing, but I think Holder is the one responsible for FSU/MSU. I think the previous spat with Gundy halted that scheduling scheme.

  • Chad Crawley

    Laughed at the pic to the story. Calvin Bundage is still in the the neutral zone!!

    • Adam M.

      😂😂😂 He lives there, didn’t you hear?

  • Brian Cassens

    The goal is simple if you’re in a power 5 conference. WIN ALL OF YOUR GAMES!!!

  • brentparkey

    Until a P5 team goes undefeated and gets left out of the Playoff I’m not convinced scheduling in and of itself is holding us back.

    Where this is hurting us is the lack of national attention. I think ultimately where we’re still dropping the ball is recruiting. Rivals has the 4 teams in the playoffs as having the 1, 5, 11 and 13th best average recruiting classes over the last 5 years. The other teams with a chance to play in on championship weekend were Ohio State (2), Auburn (7), Miami (15) and Wisconsin (40). Wisconsin is behind us by just a bit, but have the advantage of a dumpster fire division that we do not. If we want to play in and win the CFP, we have to have more dudes. Not hope the stars align.

    We have got to find ways that bring eyes to the program beyond a quirky coach. Why should the national media care about our Football team next year before the Texas game? And even then they may not. We might not have a game that puts us in the conversation until Bedlam in November.

    If we can schedule in a way that gets us attention for Football in August, it will help recruiting. The more we have eyes on us, and pair it with 10 win seasons, the better recruiting will be and that will put us in the CFP. Let’s schedule (and win) good OOC games so we can get recruits excited and lock them in for this early signing period.

    • Usetobe Cowboyfan

      National attention? Everyone has been talking about his hair for two years and him taking his shirt off this year! How much more national attention do you want?

      • Forever 14

        Maybe Gundy can start attending keg parties in Arkansas.

  • Jackson

    Let’s not forget that OSU did have Clemson and NC State on the non con schedule before the ACC and Big XII added and reduced members.

  • Troy

    We lost to Arizona because of a combination of playing a true freshman qb, who wasn’t ready and proved it all year and bone head mistakes, like getting 2 personal fouls on one play.

  • Chris Saxon

    Do some research and you will see the blue blood programs rarely Home and Home anyone of OSU’s ilk. In fact Bama won’t. Haven’t in the last 17 years. Blueblood programs simply will not schedule second tier power 5’s unless it’s nuetral or said 2nd tier program is down. What’s left is the damned either way programs. That’s one of the ways they keep the illusion of separation from the second tier. They simply won’t play them and when the rare occurrence takes place, it tends to be in a stacked deck environment. Look at the bowl matchups the last 17 years including this one. The blue blood to second tier power 5 matchup is very rare. Look closer at the rare matchups that do happen and you’ll see the Blueblood vs second tier power 5 is just about 60% winning percentage for Blueblood across he board with nearly half the wins coming against those second tier teams in years they had a losing record. Don’t want them to have a seat at the table? Don’t give them one.

    • brentparkey

      Michigan has home and homes with Va Tech and UCLA on the schedule. Teams roughly equal to us. Tennessee has a home and home with Pittsburgh on the schedule. Miami has Michigan State and Texas A&M.

      I think we can get blue bloods or near blue bloods on the schedule.

      • Chris Saxon

        We had Pitt but that wasn’t good scheduling. You’ve listed all of 8 games over a 6 year period. assuming they are home and Homes. Guess what. UCLA sucks. Fitting in with what I said. So does mich st and a&m at the moment. These teams won’t give us a home and Home. Alabama hasn’t played a home and Home in the last 17 years. Ou played 4 Home and homes over the last 17 years to second tier teams. Last one…,2008. They went 7-3 with only 3 wins over winning teams. One of those home and homes was TCU in 05 and 08. Hardly a second tier power five at the time. Haven’t scheduled one since. Ohio st has scheduled 2 H&H’s since 2000. VaTech who beat them as a 7-6 team at home in 14 when Ohio st won the natty. And lowly Washington at the time on 07 and 03. Notice I said rare? Notice I said typically while they are down? Do yoUr own research. These games just don’t happen when you’re winning at the pace OSU is winning.

        • GeoPoke

          Usually agree with you, but OU has something special going. Big H&H games from 2010-2020: FSU, ND, Tenneessee, tOSU, UCLA, Tenneessee again.

          • GeoPoke

            Teams can be down, but the helmet logo matters and that’s what people want. For christ’s sake they have Army coming up, that’s an interesting game that isn’t a good program. Schedule a service academy and you elevate the game above ULM, MizzSt, Troy, and ironcially, USA.

  • Adam M.

    Success is painfully subjective!

  • CaptainObvious

    You still actually believe you can do something to impress the committee. You are wrong. They move the goalposts to wherever they need to let blue bloods in. Winning all our games is our best (and in some years only) shot.

    • Chris Saxon

      This is the whole ball of wax. Congrats you understand how the world works.

      • GeoPoke

        Scheduling should be for fan enjoyment.

  • Bootstrap Bill

    I’ve been complaining for years about the scheduling but do not believe reaching the playoff is a reasonable goal for next years team. It was for this team and we saw how that turned out. Goal next year should be making a better bowl than CW.

    • Forever 14

      I hear Shreveport is beautiful this time of year.

  • OSU Student

    Any other year, including this one, I would agree. Lessor opponents do nothing but hurt, even if you win big. But for 2018, it suits us. We aren’t getting to the playoff next year, so the argument that or schedule was too soft won’t even matter. We will be led by newcomers, and replacing the majority of our offensive line and our Quarterback, easing into things could help. In a weird way, I’m super intrigued for next season. Not because of our potential next year, but what it means for 2019, 2020, and 2021.

  • Forever 14

    Is there any way we can play Mercer, Fresno State, and Colorado State? Being able to run that gauntlet seems to be key.

  • OSU Student

    Some people don’t want OSU to schedule big name schools because they’re afraid OSU will lose and it will derail the season. But if you look back at it, OSU has done pretty well in their big matchups recently. Georgia in ’08. A pretty easy win. Miss St. in 2013. A near-shutout win. Florida state in 2014- the worst team we have had in the past 12-13 years here, playing against the #1 in the nation reigning natty champs. A fumble away from winning that game. I’d like to see an Arkansas home and home, or a Iowa or Nebraska home and home, or even a home and home with a Louisville or a Michigan state. Big enough to be tests, but proves that we are above those schools.

    • Andrew

      Exactly. We should especially play an overrated SEC team like A&M or Arkansas, or even Florida. Florida isn’t good but would be a regarded as a good win.

      • Usetobe Cowboyfan

        Exactly, a loss to Florida is always better than a loss to central Michigan!

      • OSU Student

        Yeah I agree. USC is another one of those, In my opinion. I really really wanted to play USC in a bowl this year. I think they are vastly overrated. And it would be so much fun to watch mason embarrass Sam Darnold. The hype around Darnold reminds me a lot of Christian Hattenburg or whatever at PSU a few seasons ago. Darnold hasn’t been as bad as he was, but Hattenburg was god awful in college and everyone kept saying he was a top draft pick. What has he done since leaving PSU? Nothing. The hype around Darnold is because there is hype around Darnold. Mason would beat him in a matchup, I’m almost sure of it.

  • Temo Ibarra

    I’m probably going to get crucified for this one, but our neighbors to the south have Chip Kelly on the schedule for the next 2 years. Tennessee, Nebraska, and Michigan in the near future. I’ll assume it’s not easy but scheduling them can be done.

    • Chris Saxon

      Blue bloods can schedule blue bloods. 2nd tier can’t get bluebloods to take the games. Plain and simple.

  • Guest

    I know they aren’t a Power 5 program, but I don’t think Boise State got enough recognition in this article. They’re consistently one of the best G5 schools, are currently ranked #25, won their conference, and as we’ve seen, they can beat just about anybody. I legitimately wouldn’t be surprised if they came in and won next year, so I wouldn’t call that an easy game at all.

  • Chris Putnam

    Why are we concerned about our strength of schedule? If we were 12-1 and missed the playoffs, this would be a concern but 9-3? If we would have finished 12-1 and won the XII title going 2-1 in some sort of combo of TCU/OU then we would have made the playoff. OU would be out and Ohio St. would still be 5th. I would think the Cowboys would have been the 3 seed.

  • dooley23

    Winning the Big 12 is tougher than a conference like the SEC. We play 9 conference games and would rematch someone in a title game if we made it that far. Sec has 8 conference games and schedules FCS type schools late in the year. They don’t get flack for that. They get an extra bye week out of it. It’s more important to not have losses.

    Last year Penn St. lost to Pitt, won their conference and beat Ohio St head to head. Ohio st got the nod. If Penn St had a cupcake there, then they would have moved on without that loss.

    • Kevin

      “Winning the Big 12 is tougher than a conference like the SEC”…..Dude, youre clueless. The SEC had won 7 Straight NCAA Titles from 2006-2012. They have 3 programs that have won a title in the last 10 years, and have 2 in the current playoff. Other than OU, the Big 12 hasn’t gotten anyone in and still hasn’t won a game yet. The Big 12 has 2 Titles in the last 17 years.

  • CCC74955

    If OSU wants to go to the playoff it has to win the Big 12 without losing more than one game. It’s almost that simple. The Big 12 has sent its champion to the playoff 2 out of four years. The times that we didn’t there was a split title Baylor/TCU or a conference champ with two losses (OU with losses to Houston and Ohio State).

    There are always going to be variables involved but I feel like non-con scheduling is a distant third on the list behind not losing games, and winning the conference.

    As others have said, this article seems to oversimplify scheduling quite a bit as well. And even if you can get it done, it’s normally set up years in advance. a team that looks like a quality opponent today might not be when game time rolls around.

  • go pokes!

    i think a harder non-con schedule is exactly what we need…..it would help us bring up our prestige in the program win or lose…..we are never going to get better national respect by playing boise state, they will get better national exposure by playing us but we will not….i am ok with playing pac-12 teams, but not their worst teams….this year texas vs. usc ou vs tosu and wvu vs vatech were all solid non-con games…..our schedule sucked and we need better games to become prominent. when we lost to fsu a few years ago we went up in the rankings