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Porter: Five Predictions for the 2017 Football Season



With the season just 11 days away, it’s time to start putting a few predictions down on paper. This should be a pretty easy season to predict, but we’re also talking about somebody (me) who once predicted Josh Cooper would catch more balls than Justin Blackmon in the second of his two straight Biletnikoff seasons. So anything is in play here.

1. Justice hits 1,500

Only seven players have ever rushed for 1,500 yards in a season (Sanders, Thomas, Miller, Anderson, Hudson, Hunter and Thompson), but I think Justice Hill is so special. This will also be his best “look over there” season with OSU’s riches out wide. With all the talk about No. 28, No. 3, No. 15 and No. 13, it feels like No. 5 is being forgotten about. Remember, Gundy likes to run the football more than you love anything in your life (including your kids!) and a jacked up Hill will reap the benefits (and might be an All-American when all is said and done).

Hill averaged 6.2 yards per carry in the second half of the season last year. If he gets 18 carries a game (a reasonable number) and plays 14 games and still averages that absurd number, he’ll get over 1,500.

2. Ramon Richards challenges the single-season INT mark

I’m all in on Ramon at safety. The single-season record for INTs is eight set by three players who all played before Nixon administration ended. I would call the modern day record Justin Gilbert’s seven in 2013. Teams are going to have to throw on OSU a lot because of how much OSU will score which means the secondary will get loads of opportunities. No. 7 will take advantage (and of course get some cheap ones).

3. Tyron scores 2+ special teams TDs

If the Heisman was presented based on your ability to play football in a phone booth (a humorous callback, by the way, since they don’t really exist anymore), then we could be looking at OSU’s second-ever stiff-arm-trophy-winning star. Johnson seemed adamant about his role in the return game when we talked to him at OSU’s media day earlier this month. And unlike Tyreek Hill, he actually knows how to play football in college rather than just how to run fast.

Also, I think Mike Gundy is going to play him on special teams more than he normally would because you have to get your best guys on the field, and OSU just has too many wideouts. In a normal year (like next year), Johnson might not return punts or kicks as much, but I think he will get plenty of opportunities this year. Prentiss 2.0? (Minus the arrests)

4. Calvin Bundage, star

Tre Flowers, Darrion Daniels, Vili Leveni and A.J. Green will all have solid years, but No. 1 is going to be a star and future superstar. I really think he could be an All-Big 12 player by the time he’s done, and this will be the year we first see that. There were glimpses last year — he would show up out of nowhere to drag down a running back or get in the backfield when he had no business doing so. But after a year with Rob Glass and learning how to play college football, he’s going to take a leap this year and will be talked about by the halfway point by fans as one of the three or four best players on the defensive side of the ball for a top 10 team.

5. OSU Plays for the Big 12 but don’t win it

It would be perfectly on brand for Oklahoma State to go 11-1 this season and play for the Big 12 title (for the fifth time in seven years) and CFP but lose it in dramatic fashion to seemingly invent another way for them (and the Big 12) to not get to play for the national championship.

It will go something like this: OSU will lose one of its tough road games (at WVU or at Texas or something like that) and win the rest before losing in the Big 12 title to a team it beat in the regular season (KSU or OU).

Somehow, OSU will usher in the era of a second title game to this conference. Yeah, we know they just played in the regular season and title game, but let’s do best out of three in Jerryworld! OSU will also — maybe not this year but at some point — be one of the teams that really gets talk of an eight-team playoff going. All of this is destiny, we just have to realize it.

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