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What the Boise State Win Means for OSU’s Season

The Boise State win could set Oklahoma State on a course for Big 12 title contention.



Oklahoma State waltzed into Week 3 having impressed few with its blowout wins over an FCS school and an underling Sun Belt team by a combined 83 points.

The narrative among the more level-headed of OSU’s fanbase went something like this:

You can’t learn anything from beat-downs of those early-season cupcakes. Mostly true. Taylor Cornelius will get exposed by a talented defense Boise defense. That seemed entirely possible. OSU’s defense is a big fat question mark and we want to be optimistic, but can’t bring ourselves to be optimistic. Please give us a reason to be optimistic! This is where I was, for sure.

Boise State posed the Cowboys’ biggest test to date, and maybe their toughest challenge over the next two months. But what unfolded on Saturday was a nice reprieve from an uneasy feeling that many OSU fans shared, whether they want to admit it or not.

OSU might be good.

After heading into the second quarter tied at zilch (thanks to a missed field goal by Boise State kicker Haden Hoggarth), and with just 15 yards to its credit, OSU ripped off three dominant quarters in which it out-gained the Broncos by 93 yards, lapped them by 2.2 yards per play and scored on eight of its last nine possessions leading to the 23-point win.

The result showed that this defense just might be pretty good (it was really disruptive on Saturday), that OSU’s offense can be good enough (with playmakers running all over the field), and that special teams doesn’t have to play the role of OSU’s bemoaned patsy.

But what did that Boise State win mean for OSU’s season moving forward? Based on one predictive metric, it meant a lot.

Massey-Peabody Analytics estimates and projects future wins and probabilities for the College Football Playoff based on their own proprietary quantitative football ratings. Yeah, I even lost myself on that sentence.

After Oklahoma State tuned up Boise State, its chances of making the playoff rose to 7 percent (good for 12th-best in their ranking) and is now given a 13 percent chance to win the Big 12, behind only OU in the Big 12.

If you want a real dark horse, consider Oklahoma State (at 7 percent, our 12th-most likely playoff team). The Cowboys turned in the weekend’s sixth-best performance, easily handling Group of Five darling Boise State. We give them a 13 percent chance of winning the Big 12. With a back-loaded schedule (they finish at Oklahoma, vs. West Virginia and at TCU), people likely will be talking about them for the next couple of months. [The Washington Post]

The Cowboys are currently double-digit favorites to make it 4-0 against Texas Tech who heads to Stillwater on Saturday night. Mike Gundy would like to keep the focus inside the locker room on the Red Raiders, but the rest of us are allowed to glance over the schedule.

If OSU can not only gain confidence from the Boise State win but use it as launching pad, things could set up nicely as it enters a back-loaded Big 12 slate. With a string of six games that Oklahoma State will likely be favored in to follow, a 9-0 start heading into Norman on November 10 seems like an actual possibility.

There are still plenty of questions about this team. Can Cornelius continue to improve? Can he last the year taking the type of hits he took against Boise? Can Jim Knowles continue to keep opposing offensive lines second guessing? Is special teams fixed?

We’ll get answers to all of those soon enough, but that signature win just might propel the Pokes to a place few expected them to reach — Big 12 title contention.


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