OSU will start strong, but struggle down stretch in 2014

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Here is my game-by-game prediction for the 2014 Oklahoma State football season:

Week one: Florida State (Arlington), loss, 34-24 (0-1)

Everyone in and around college football is picking Florida State to come into Arlington and wipe the turf with Oklahoma State this coming Saturday night.OSU COTTON (David Glidden)

At first glance, it’s easy to understand why. However, if I have learned one thing when it comes to picking games, it’s whatever looks like a sure thing, isn’t a sure thing.

This isn’t the OSU of old. The Cowboys are now a good program, not just a good team every four or five years. Mike Gundy, while being a man, is also a pretty darn good football coach.

The Pokes will keep this close for three quarters, but eventually the defending national champion Seminoles will break away to win by double digits.

Week two: Missouri State, win, 45-21 (1-1)

The Cowboys will have a slight hangover from the opening week game against Florida State, but they will eventually wake up to win this game with ease.

Look for MO State to keep it close for a quarter or maybe even a half, but the Pokes will eventually pull away in the second half and go on to get their first win of 2014 as they coast by the Bears.

Week three: University of Texas San Antonio, win, 37-24 (2-1)

Oklahoma State’s young and inexperienced defense will have a lot of growing up to do early in the season and this is one of those learning games for OSU.

The young D will be pumped up to play against FSU and even motivated to play the home opener against Missouri State, but in week three against another opponent that doesn’t match up physically, the raw defense will show its youth.

UTSA will keep this game close for the majority of the contest until the OSU offense can find a way to pull away in the second half to win by double digits, but this game will be in doubt for three quarters.

Week four: Texas Tech, win, 31-28, (3-1)

For the exact same reason I am picking the UTSA game to be a close one, I like the Cowboys against Red Raiders in Stillwater in this matchup.

The young and inexperienced Oklahoma State defense will be motivated and pumped up to play in the Big 12 home opener and come out with a lot of intensity.

OSU’s offense will be able to muster enough points and go on a game-winning drive capped off by the football sailing through the uprights as time expires for a Pokes victory.

It is worth noting, however, if this game was being played in Lubbock, it wouldn’t even be close.

Week five: Iowa State, win, 41-24 (4-1)

Simply put, Iowa State is not a very good football team outside of Ames.

The Cowboys shouldn’t have much problem at all with the Cyclones in Stillwater unless the youth comes out, but by week five, youth won’t be much of an excuse anymore.

Look for the Oklahoma State offense to start getting in sync and start to put points on the board, relieving pressure from the young Oklahoma State defense.

Week six: At Kansas, win, 35-10 (5-1)

I’m not sure why Kansas even plays football anymore to be honest. I think the Jayhawks would have a better chance at winning football games in the Big 12 if they rolled their basketball team on the field.

The mid-season bye for the Cowboys won’t be much of a game from start to finish, and the Pokes will remain unbeaten in conference play as they prepare to head into the gauntlet of their schedule.

Week seven: At TCU, loss, 21-17 (5-2)

I tossed and turned trying to come up with a reason Oklahoma State would go into Fort Worth and take down the Horned Frogs, but I simply could not come up with a viable one.

The Cowboys will struggle offensively against a stout TCU defense. The young but talented defense will keep the Pokes in the game, but the lack of offense in this game will be too much to overcome for Gundy and his staff.

The Frogs will hand the Orange and Black their second loss of the season and first in Big 12 play.

Week eight: West Virginia, win, 34-31 (6-2)

What a better way to bounce back after your first Big 12 Conference loss than to do it against former OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgerson.

This game simply came down to who was playing at home. If this matchup was taking place in Morgantown, I would have picked the Mountaineers to take it 34-31, but since this game is staying in the great state of Oklahoma, I’m going to go with the Pokes in a close one.

Gundy will top Holgerson after WVU shocked OSU a year ago on their home field.

Week nine: At Kansas State, loss, 35-21 (6-3)

This was one of the easiest picks of the schedule for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys simply will not have the experience to go into the Little Apple and take down Bill Snyder and his beloved Wildcats.

It wouldn’t matter where this game was being played, I would pick KSU 1,000 times again. Kansas State will be more fundamentally sound and have more composure than the young Pokes, and that’s a bad way to be against Snyder and Co.

The ‘Cats will dominate this game from start to finish.

Week 10: Texas, win, 27-21 (7-3)

I just couldn’t pick Texas.

Will Texas be more talented than Oklahoma State? Yes. Will Texas be tougher physically and mentally with Charlie Strong as their head coach than in years past? Yes. Does that mean they will come into Stilly and get a W? No.

The Cowboys defense will show up in the game following the dismantling at the hands of K-State. The offense will do enough to get by Strong’s defense and give the Pokes the rare win over the Longhorns in Stillwater.

Week 11: At Baylor, loss, 45-14 (7-4)

This one will be the major clunker of the season for Oklahoma State. Baylor is going to have one of, if not the best and most powerful offenses in the nation in 2014, so to expect the Cowboys to take a young defense into Waco and compete is going to be a tall task.

Both the offense and the defense will struggle big time in this game and the Pokes will suffer a beating at the hands of the Bears.

Week 12: At Oklahoma, loss, 33-14 (7-5)

The annual Bedlam clash between the Sooners and the Cowboys will once again be exciting to watch.

Last year’s version had everyone in the state on the edge of their seats with Oklahoma fans getting the last laugh over the Cowboy faithful in the Sooners’ shocking comeback win.

OSU will fight tooth and nail to stay in this game against the powerful OU team, who will have their sights set on the college football playoffs.

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