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Slavin: OSU Advances to the CFP Championship and Four Other Predictions for 2017



We have just a couple of weeks left before the Cowboys kick off their season against Tulsa. There are a lot of expectations for the year, but what do we think might happen? I’ve got five predictions for the season ahead — four legitimate predictions and one I wouldn’t take to Vegas, but that I’m going to make anyway.

1. James Washington does NOT win the Biletnikoff Award

Let’s go ahead and get a negative one out of the way. Washington isn’t winning the award this year, not because of his talent or some #fakenews injury. It’s because there are just too many weapons on this team. Joining Washington in catching passes this year are returning Cowboys Jalen McCleskey, Marcell Ateman and Chris Lacy whose last seasons each look liked like this.

player catches yards
Jalen McCleskey 73 812
Marcell Ateman 45 766
Chris Lacy 31 489

Dillon Stoner is expected to get opportunities. Oh, and there’s Tyron Johnson, who is apparently the next Dez Bryant. Washington is going to get his receptions, especially on the deep pass, but will he get enough targets?

Last year’s Biletnikoff winner Dede Westbrook got 80 receptions for 1,524 yards and 17 touchdowns. In 2015, it was Corey Coleman who had 74 receptions for 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns. With the number of weapons OSU has this year can Washington get around 76 receptions, 1,400 yards, and 17 touchdowns? It’s likely what he’ll need to win it. I just don’t think he can. More importantly, I think another receiver on a team that doesn’t have OSU’s depth will get plenty of targets and yards and beat out Washington. Not because the other guy is necessarily better, but based on production.

2. Oklahoma State Makes the Big 12 Title Game

The top two teams make the newly instigated Big 12 title game. Could a team other than Oklahoma State and Oklahoma make it? Kansas State, West Virginia, and yes, even Texas could all make the game this season. But of Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, I think it’s more likely the Sooners miss than the Cowboys. Sorry to sound like a homer, but I think OU’s question marks heading into the season are bigger than OSU’s. In fact, I’ll take the guess one step further. OSU not only makes the Big 12 title game, they don’t face the Sooners in it. OU will finish tied for second with two other teams and lose the tie breaker.

3. Justice Hill Will Gain 1,500 Yards on the Ground

Last year Justice Hill ended the season as the first Oklahoma State running back to top 1,000 yards since Joseph Randle in 2012. Hill finished with 1,142 yards despite not starting the first three games of the season. This year? There is zero reason to believe he won’t top 1,500 yards. My reasoning? Over the last 10 games of the season, Hill averaged 105.3 yards a game. I think the Cowboys will play in at least 14 games next season. Assuming the offensive line will be better (which I do) there’s no reason to think Hill won’t top that 105.3 yards-per-game average.

4. Mike Yurcich Gets a Head Coaching Job Before OSU’s Bowl Game

It’s going to happen eventually. Yurcich is going to leave Oklahoma State for a head coaching gig. I’m not sure where he ends up (SMU if Chad Morris leaves after this season, perhaps?), but I think he’s gone after this season.

Yurcich has been rumored for jobs before, but after this season it’s likely to be a sure thing. He’ll be leading what could be the best offense of the year. If OSU makes the playoff, which I think they will (see below), Yurcich will be a hot name. Plus, take into account the track records of previous Oklahoma State offensive coordinators as head coaches. Teams know Gundy has a habit of hiring and mentoring winners.

As to where he ends up, I have no idea. I could see him in Texas, somewhere in the southeast, or up in the MAC. What I do see is him gone continuing to grow the Gundy coaching tree.

5. Oklahoma State Beats Florida State in the College Football Playoff Semi-Final

Oklahoma State will not only win the Big 12, they’ll get the four seed in the college-football playoff and upset top seeded Florida State, before losing to Alabama in the title game. The Cowboys and Seminoles will get sent to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, where they’ll put on an offensive showcase that ends with the Cowboys victorious.

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