The string of teams that play the Jayhawks after their bye continues, and we saw how well that went against Baylor. To help prepare for this weekend’s matchup, I reached out to Cade Webb over at Cowboys Ride For Free, the SB Nation site covering the Oklahoma State Cowboys. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
RCT: Oklahoma State came off a promising season last year where they started with 10 straight wins, only to lose their last 3, including the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss. After such a disappointing end to the season, what kind of expectations were there for this team coming into this season?
CRFF: Regardless of the way things ended last season, I think expectations were about as high as they’ve ever been for Oklahoma State, aside from 2011. While the end of last season was certainly a bummer, you can’t deflect the fact that they were 10-0 with some really good wins before they ran out of gas. Honestly, we all thought OSU would be 5-1 or 6-0 at this point. Obviously, Central Michigan and those MAC officials had other ideas, but it is what it is. 4-2 is still a solid record, and the team's goals are still very much attainable.
RCT: Unfortunately for the Cowboys, I think most people think about them this year for the debacle against Central Michigan, where a team that probably had no business sticking around won the game after an egregious officiating error. Given some of the other results for this team (like Iowa State), is it a fair assessment to say that this team has a problem with playing down to the level of its competition?
CRFF: Playing down to the level of their competition is the hallmark of the Mike Gundy era in Stillwater. Sure, they’ll beat a team they shouldn’t every now and then, but they’ll also let a team hang around that has no business being there. With Central Michigan, sure, the refs made an awful and unforgivable mistake, but OSU allowed themselves to be in that position, and the rest is history. The last two trips to Lawrence for the Cowboys are examples of Mike Gundy teams playing down to their competition, and that’s why there’s some uneasiness around Stillwater for this game.
RCT: Given the state of the Kansas football program, it’s understandable if our readers aren’t up to date on how other football teams around the conference are doing. Which players can we expect to hear a lot about this week, both on offense and defense?
CRFF: It certainly is understandable. With glory days of Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III being close enough to taste, apathy is quite understandable. That said, this offense goes as Mason Rudolph goes. Rudolph, the Pokes’ junior QB has had a stellar start to the season, having racked up 2,039 yards and 13 touchdowns to go with only two interceptions. Last weekend against Iowa State, he played a marginal game and it allowed Iowa State to hang around. The proof is in the pudding with the offense. On the defensive side, I think we all want to talk about star players in the secondary, but OSU’s best defensive player has been DT Vincent Taylor. He blocked two extra points against Texas, but is a monster at 6’3”, 310 pounds. He stops up the interior of the offensive line, but is quick enough to get to the QB. Look for those two to have big games on Saturday.
RCT: What would have to go wrong for Oklahoma State for Kansas to pull the upset this week? Any chance that the upcoming game against West Virginia can be enough of a distraction for that to happen?
CRFF: Like I’ve said, OSU has no reservations about playing down to their opponent. Oklahoma State is the better team here, and I think we can all admit that. I have my own fears, though. Road games are never a cakewalk in the Big 12. Multiply that by an 11:00 A.M. kick against an inferior opponent, and that’s a recipe for a letdown. OSU is coming off a bye, however, so I think they come ready to play on Saturday.
RCT: Prediction Time! What do you see the final score of this game being? What is the longest scoring play going to be, and who scores it?
CRFF: OSU wins this game. I can see a scenario in which KU hangs around for a couple quarters, but like I said, I think the bye week gives Gundy enough time to make sure his team is mentally prepared. I’ll take Oklahoma State 38-17. I like the matchup of Justice Hill vs. the KU rushing defense. I could see Hill taking a long run to the house in this game, but smart money is on James Washington. Washington is the home run threat for Oklahoma State and is darn good at what he does.
RCT: BONUS - Which would you prefer, a personal chef or a personal assistant?
CRFF: Interesting question. I would say a personal chef. A healthy diet is the key to a healthy, fit life and having a personal chef would be a good start for that. Also, PB&J’s just don’t cut it for me anymore.
Again, a big thank you to Cade for helping us out today. Don’t forget to check out the questions I answered for him over on CRFF.