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Oklahoma State Needs to Stop Playing MAC Teams on the Road



At the end of last year, we learned that quality wins matter more than perceived bad losses. TCU lost to Baylor. Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech. The latter got in. The former got shut out.

What this means is that Oklahoma State needs to stop playing teams like Central Michigan before Big 12 play starts. What is the point? What are you trying to accomplish?

“We talk about it each week,” said Gundy on Monday about losing when you’re favored in pre-conference games. “For years we’ve had discussions about the parity in college football. It continues to grow each year. As the NCAA becomes more involved … it just continues to grow.”


Perception will always lag behind reality when it comes to parity. Texas was still seen as a powerhouse about 20 games longer than it was actually a powerhouse. It’s still probably perceived as better than it actually is (which is terrible … especially on offense).

Because of this, you’re often better off scheduling either Central Arkansas’ or USCs and nothing in between.

And all of this is based on the premise that you aren’t going to go undefeated. If you’re under the presumption that you can go undefeated with OSU’s schedule then you can throw this argument out the window because a Power Five team that goes undefeated will always get in the College Football Playoff.

Think about OSU’s last two season-opening opponents. If you open the season with Central Michigan and lose, you’re probably cooked. Even if you go 11-1, you’re likely not getting in. If you open the season with Florida State and lose? You’re very much still alive.

And think about the inverse. If you open with Central Michigan and win, so what. That’s what you’re supposed to do. If you open with Florida State and win, you’re ushered into the top 25 with red carpet and a parade.

My point is that with the parity Gundy was talking about — and I believe he’s correct — there’s a much greater advantage to playing one big name team and two cupcakes before conference play starts than in playing three average teams.

If you’re halfway decent, I think there’s bigger chance of losing to Central Michigan (which knocks you out of the playoff) than of losing to a team like Florida State plus, say, West Virginia (which knocks you out of the playoff).

Now, OSU’s scheduling folks never could have known this when the schedule was made two or five or eight years ago. And not many big boy teams want to trade home and home affairs. But if possible, Oklahoma State should avoid the Central Michigans of the world and focus on the Michigan States and Missouri States.

Until that playoff expands to eight teams anyway.

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