Ricky’s Big Twelve Conference NCAAF pick for 2017 is the Oklahoma State Cowboys
This could get messy. The Cowboys were really good on offense last year but this season promises to be special. They are absolutely loaded. QB Mason Rudolph threw for over 4,000 yards and had a sparkling 28-4 TD ratio. That is 4 INT in 448 attempts. He also ran for 6 more scores. Yes, shockingly, he did not appear on any ESPN Heisman hype videos so he ended up finishing behind a long snapper from Idaho and the Dr Pepper guy in the voting.
Rudolph has a scary number of weapons at his disposal. The running game should be excellent with a big and experienced offensive line paving the way for emerging star Justice Hill (1,142, 6 TD). The passing attack should be devastating with James Washington returning for his senior season. Washington racked up 1,380 receiving yards and 10 TD at 19.4 (!!) yards a pop. Jalen McCleskey and Chris Lacy provide depth and additional targets that Rudolph can use to carve up opposing defenses.
It is conceivable that the Cowboys score 50+ in half of their games.
The Cowboys were sneaky good last season finishing up #3 in the Big 12 in scoring defense (26.5). They held TCU and Colorado to under 10 points in two of their last three games. And they tallied 32 sacks. However, there was still the leaky run defense (193 yards per game), and pass defense that allowed over 60% completions.
Oklahoma St only returns five starters from the 2016 unit and may be hard pressed to equal last season’s overall performance. We worry about the pass rush as only one player returns this season that registered more than three sacks in 2016 (DL Tralund Webber – 6), and overall, the front seven is lacking in experience. They do have MLB Chad Whitener (2nd Team Big 12) back in the fold along with a couple of fine safeties. Overall, it feels like the defense may be down a notch, and that there is potential to get roasted vs talented offenses.
The Cowboys welcome back Zach Sino who is a fantastic punter. They will have to reload at PK (Ben Grogan – career FG leader departs) and on the return teams.