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Roundtable: Implications of TCU Loss and Predicting OSU’s Finish



The PFB roundtable is back. This week, we’re discussing the implications of the TCU loss, our biggest concerns for the Pokes moving forward, and where we project Oklahoma State to finish the season.

Do you think the TCU loss is a hiccup, like Rudolph called it, or a red flag?

Kyle Cox: I think it that remains to be seen. Maybe it’s somewhere in between the two. I think this weekend’s test against Texas Tech will tell us a lot. A lot of the issues on Saturday were correctable but they are issues that should have already been addressed.

Kyle Boone: Agreed, one game into conference play shouldn’t warrant an overreaction. But I do think there’s some real red flags that TCU created. For as good as the offense has been, it was a problem against the Frogs. Texas Tech should be a get-back-on-track game in that department.

Matt Harris: I think that the TCU game was a hiccup and a red flag. OSU killed itself with way too many turnovers and a bad game plan. If it game plans well and takes care of the ball, maybe the Pokes win. But the defense didn’t have an answer for the TCU offense for the most part and the Frogs were without their best running back. And I’m also not sold on Kenny Hill. He’s been able to pick on weak defenses all year. This was the first real test for the 2017 Cowboys, and they failed badly. The defense has to step up to have a successful rest of the year.

Nick Welch: I think it’s a red flag for sure. Not under any circumstances at home, as a top-10 team, favored by double-digits should you give up 44 points. Poor tackling, and opponent 3rd-down conversions plagued OSU against the Frogs. TCU’s offensive line might be one of the top OSU will face this season, but they had hardly any pressure on the quarterback and that could become an issue. When your defense cannot stop the other team, it makes your offense one-dimensional.

Phillip Slavin: I think for the offense it was a hiccup they’ll learn from. The defense is another matter. It seems that Tulsa was a better preview of what this defense really is than either South Alabama or Pitt were. If the defense can figure out how to tackle instead of letting a runner bounce off five guys before going down, they might be ok.

Ryan Harris: Rudolph is right, this is a hiccup. So long as OSU does what it needs to do to fix their problems. The defense is a red flag, and it can only improve so much, but in the context of winning games, the Pokes should be fine.

Biggest concern(s) about OSU moving forward?

Cox: Two big ones. Can the offensive line get well enough or can the inexperienced guys (Jenkins, Wilson, etc.) get up to speed quick enough for OSU to right the ship? Secondly, we are going to have to see a lot more out of this defense if OSU wants to compete for a Big 12 title.

Boone: It’s the defense for me, and I’m sure most people’s as well. TCU gashed OSU up front and made Kenny Hill look like Johnny Football. That’s not good in a league that has Baker Mayfield, Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Park. OSU can’t get off the field on down and distance situations, which is going to eventually catch up with the defense and destroy the depth with fatigue, injuries, etc. like it did in 2015.

Matt: The biggest concern is obviously the defense. They looked solid in the first three games of the year, but they got punched right in the mouth against the first real offense that they’ve seen this year.

Nick: My biggest concern is the defense. I mean has it come to the point where Texas Tech has a better defense than OSU? The Cowboys are just flat out missing tackles, it’s unbelievable. Again, TCU scored just 6 points last year. I really think OSU went into that game overconfident, and with the mindset Rudolph will outscore the other team regardless how the defense plays, and that just isn’t possible all the time.

Slavin: Offensive line depth. The starting five were solid heading into the season, but we all knew that behind them were a lot of questions marks. Now? If another one goes down for a long period of time, OSU is in trouble. We saw what happens with two starters out on Saturday. If OSU is place in that situation again, even against an Iowa State or Kansas, it could spell disaster.

Ryan: The biggest concerns lie on the defensive side of the ball, and the health of the offensive line. If the defense can fix some of their problems, OSU will be just fine.

Do you think OSU’s Big 12 title/CFP hopes are still intact? Why or why not?

Cox: They are technically still in tact, but there is no margin for error now. If you’re asking if my confidence that Oklahoma State can/will make it to the title game/more has changed, then yes. I’m less optimistic that will happen.

Boone: I do not think both are intact. Unless TCU turns out to be the cream of the conference (which I don’t expect), OSU is backed into a corner and probably needs to win out to make it to the playoff. The odds of a Big 12 title appearance are still OK, because I don’t think any team outside Oklahoma can beat OSU, but a CFP appearance is probably a longshot.

Matt: Theoretically they are still intact but personally I do not think OSU makes the CFP. OSU could make the CFP by running the tables from here on out but that will likely require beating OU twice or OU once and TCU once. As of right now I think the most realistic goal for OSU is the Alamo Bowl, but I would love to see this team (especially this defense) fight for the rest of the year and come out with a Bedlam win and a playoff berth or Cotton Bowl appearance.

Nick: Big 12 title hopes and CFP hopes aren’t dead yet. The season is still super early. OSU obviously has to run the table the rest of the way to have a chance to make the playoffs. I think 1-loss USC and possibly a 1-loss Washington probably makes it in over a 1-loss OSU. The question is will beating OU and then winning the Big 12 title game against OU or TCU be enough? I hate losing, but I’d rather lose early like OSU did than let’s say two weeks prior to the end of the football season (2011).

Slavin: Of course they are. It was one loss. It was a disappointing loss, but of the teams on the schedule to lose to, TCU isn’t that bad. Especially if they continue to win and play like a dominating team. If OSU wins the rest of the way, they could get a rematch in the Big 12 title game. Win that, and there’s no reason to believe the Cowboys won’t get an invite to the playoff. As they say, if you’re going to lose, do it early in the season.

Ryan: OSU’s CFP hopes are still intact, though they are on life support. The margin for error is none; they have lost the only game they can afford to lose this season. The Pokes will likely also need TCU to lose a game or two to make the Big 12 championship game. If the Pokes win out, and thus win the Big 12, there should be no reason to worry about title hopes….although 2014 Baylor and TCU may beg to differ.

What is your prediction on where OSU finishes the season? (Record and B12 finish)

Cox: At this point, I will have to say OSU finishes 10-2 (7-2) and that either makes then No. 2 or 3 in the Big 12. That is controlled by TCU now because the Cowboys hopped into the passenger seat.

Boone: I think 9-3 (6-3 in conference) is the final regular season finish, with a loss to West Virginia in Morgantown and a loss to OU in Stillwater. I just think there are too many glaring weaknesses on defense and too much attrition up front for OSU to have the special season we all thought it might have.

Matt: I think OSU finishes 10-2 with a Bedlam loss to OU and misses out on the Big 12 championship game. I think OSU is a Cotton Bowl quality team but that game will go to the loser of the Big 12 championship game and OSU will cruise in the Alamo once again.

Nick: Preseason I said OSU finished tied for first with OU. After watching the TCU game, I think OU might score 50 on the Cowboys – which absolutely makes my skin crawl. I think OSU probably finishes tied for third now with two losses in conference play. Probably OU, TCU, and then OSU tied with West Virginia.

Slavin: It’s really hard not to be pessimistic, especially as bad as OSU looked on Saturday. But I’m sticking with them and calling for a 12-1 record and Big 12 title. It’s what I thought would happen, just didn’t think the 1 would come so early.

Ryan: I still believe in this team, and I think OSU will win every game remaining. Bedlam is a toss-up…I would say OU is the favorite but barely. I’ll pick the Pokes in a close one though. Give me a 12-2 season with a loss in the playoff.

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