Saturday, July 18, 2009

Don't hold back, Mr. Columnist

I've spent much of the past six months talking about coaching changes, players getting in trouble, etc., but with the countdown at exactly six weeks until the start of the regular season, it's time to start looking ahead.

And what better place to start than with one of the two most popular (and surprising) bandwagon teams of the offseason: Oklahoma State.

The Pokes have joined Ole Miss as everyone's favorite sleepers, with both teams appearing in pretty much everybody's preseason top 15. And while I certainly think Oklahoma State will be good -- the offense is too good for them not to be -- the prognostications of an 11-win season, top-five finish and possible Big 12 title seem a little extreme.

I know what you're thinking: Who has Oklahoma State going 11-1? Well, Sporting News' resident college football idiot Matt Hayes, for one.

But what really amuses me is analysis like this, which comes from Tulsa World writer Dave Sittler in an effort to back up his prediction of an 11-0 start:
Oct. 31, Texas: Halloween is perfect for OSU to finally put an end to the spooky, mysterious hex the Longhorns have had on the Cowboys.
That's deep. They will win on Halloween because ... well, I have no good reason, but it's Halloween, so something crazy could happen, right?

That, my friends, is unbridled preseason optimism at its finest.

Like I said, Oklahoma State will be good -- if the Cowboys can beat Georgia at home in the season opener, a 10-1 start isn't out of the question -- but besides Texas, potential landmines loom against Houston, Missouri and Texas Tech, all of whom will be competitive. One big advantage for Oklahoma State is that all of those teams (including Texas) have to visit Stillwater, but it's just too big of a leap of faith for me to believe that a team with no experience in big games will be 11-0 heading into Norman on Nov. 28, especially with the big bad Longhorns looking as strong as ever.

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