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Way-too-early predictions: Handicapping OSU Football’s Conference Schedule in 2023

This is a tough schedule for an OSU team that may be in rebuild mode.



Devin Wilber/PFB

With OSU football’s conference schedule finally landing this week via the Big 12 offices, it’s time to take stock of what’s ahead make some absolutely wild predictions for the 2023 season.

Let’s dive into it and go game by game through the league schedule.

For those who aren’t familiar with handicapping and gambling parlance, if, for instance, a line is OSU -6 then OSU is a six-point favorite. If OSU is listed as +6 then OSU is a six-point underdog. And so on.

Sept. 23 at Iowa State

Early handicap: OSU +5

Prediction: Iowa State 30, OSU 21

Iowa State is coming off a 4-8 season in which its offense was among the biggest problem for its struggles, causing Matt Campbell to make some changes in his staff this offseason. But the Cyclones are notoriously a booger to play in Ames — and this game coming after a soft three-game nonconference schedule could be a brutal shock to the system for an OSU team that has a ton of question marks.

Conference record: 0-1

October 7 vs. Kansas State

Early handicap: OSU +3

Prediction: Kansas State 35, OSU 31

In Manhattan last season, Kansas State dealt OSU a 48-0 spanking in one of the most humbling losses of the Gundy era. So I do think the Cowboys at home will have that at the front of their minds as they aim for revenge. But this K-State team is coming off a Big 12 title and seems to be on the ascent still, while OSU may be entering a rebuilding year.

Conference record: 0-2

October 14 vs. Kansas

Early handicap: OSU -9

Prediction: OSU 44, Kansas 27

OSU finally gets on the board with a win in league play. Kansas was much improved this past season, but I expect they’ll take a slight step back to earth next season — and OSU has a good chance of handling its business at home after an 0-2 start in league action.

Conference record: 1-2

October 21 at West Virginia

Early handicap: OSU -2

Prediction: OSU 31, WVU 24

This will probably be closer than people are expecting both in the gambling markets and in real life. OSU, though, has more talent overall and the better coaching staff by a country road. Hopefully by this point OSU will have a QB who is gaining confidence and starting to find his form.

Conference record: 2-2

October 28 vs. Cincinnati

Early handicap: OSU -8

Prediction: OSU 40, Cincinnati 10

Cincy is coming off a nine-win season and is likely out to prove itself in its first year in the Big 12. But OSU is coming off a down year and is likely wanting to prove not only that its last season was a rare down year — but that it is the top dog in the new iteration of this league. Methinks it’s a coronation.

Conference record: 3-2

Nov. 4 vs. Oklahoma

Early handicap: OSU +13

Prediction: OU 38, OSU 17

I wish the last Bedlam football game of our generation (maybe?) would go better than this. I’m just not sure it will. OU had a down year last season and still whipped OSU in Norman in a game that was really never close. If this turns out to be a close one or even an OSU win, it wouldn’t surprise one bit given the stakes.

Conference record: 3-3

Nov. 11 at UCF

Early handicap: OSU -3

Prediction: UCF 30, OSU 27

On the road facing a UCF team that’s won 18 games the last two seasons, OSU as a favorite I think would be a show of respect — especially if the season unfolds as I’ve projected above. It turns out to be a close one, but OSU falls in its first meeting against UCF as a Big 12 member.

Conference record: 3-4

Nov. 18 at Houston

Early handicap: Houston -3

Prediction: Houston 40, OSU 37

Kasey Dunn in a YOLO spot vs. Dana Holgorsen in a YOLO spot. YES PLEASE. Expecting lots of points, little defense and a thrilling back-and-forth game. Garret Rangel throws for four touchdowns, Ollie Gordon goes for 200+ all-purpose yards, but OSU comes up with a road L in a tough spot heading into the season finale.

Conference record: 3-5

Nov. 25 vs. BYU

Early handicap: OSU -2

Prediction: OSU 27, BYU 24

OSU ends the season on a high note and finishes 3-1 vs. the new Big 12 members despite what I think most people would decide is a down year by OSU standards. Another bowl game awaits, though, and OSU has more clarity at QB going into the offseason than it did the year prior.

Conference record: 4-5

Final record: For this exercise and for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to give OSU a 3-0 nonconference record.

That leaves OSU with a 4-5 conference record and a 7-5 record on the season.

That’s enough to get OSU into a bowl game but not enough booking trips back to Arlington. On the plus side, I think by this point OSU has a better answer as to who will be the QB of the future long-term — either Garret Rangel or Zane Flores, is my bet — and OSU goes into bowl season with some confidence knowing that it has a promising offseason and 2024 on the horizon.

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