The Oklahoman's 2015 OSU football predictions
As Oklahoma State prepares to take on Central Michigan in the season opener, The Oklahoman’s college football coverage team shared its picks for the Cowboys' season.
Who will be the Cowboys' MVP?
* Kyle Fredrickson, OSU beat writer: QB Mason Rudolph – It’s no coincidence the Cowboys’ incredible turnaround last season took place just as Rudolph took over as the starting quarterback.
* John Helsley, OSU beat writer: Rudolph – His impact on last year’s team was immediate and remarkable. With an improved O-line, a stacked receiving corps and better run game, what’s next could be scary.
* Jenni Carlson, Columnist: Rudolph – He’s straight out of central casting, and if the script holds, he’ll have a big year.
* Berry Tramel, Columnist: Rudolph – When you have a quarterback, all is right with the world.
Who is the Cowboys' best player?
* Fredrickson: DE Emmanuel Ogbah – OSU fans should savor Ogbah’s relentless pass rush in 2015 as it’s likely he enters the NFL Draft as a projected first-round pick.
* Helsley: Ogbah – Already a sack-master, this guy is just figuring things out in some ways. And still he’s projected as a possible top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
* Carlson: Ogbah – The unassuming star. His job is more difficult with new DTs, but the defensive end will still change games.
* Tramel: Kevin Peterson – Best player on a defense that just might be dominant.
Who is the Cowboys' most overlooked player?
* Fredrickson: LB Ryan Simmons – The senior linebacker’s leadership will be key if the young Cowboy defenders surrounding him continue to grow.
* Helsley: S Jordan Sterns – Ogbah, Simmons and Peterson made the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, but Sterns returns as OSU’s leading tackler and hardest hitter.
* Carlson: DT Vincent Taylor – Hard to overlook at 6-foot-3, 300-pound mountain of a man, but the DT will be big for the defense.
* Tramel: WR James Washington – Does anyone have any idea how explosive this sophomore receiver is?
Who is the Cowboys' best newcomer?
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* Fredrickson: OT Victor Salako – The UAB transfer fills an immediate need at left tackle protecting Rudolph, the Cowboys’ most valuable asset.
* Helsley: LB Jordan Burton – Junior college transfers typically take a while to get in the flow. Not Burton, who seized the “Star” linebacker spot in the spring and looked like a difference maker in the preseason.
* Carlson: RB Chris Carson – The running back has good returns thus far and will take pressure off Rudolph and the passing game.
* Tramel: Burton – He’s been awfully impressive in practice so far.
What will be the Cowboys' biggest game?
* Fredrickson: vs. TCU, Nov. 7 – After its embarrassing 45-9 loss in Fort Worth last season, OSU will have revenge on its mind against a team with College Football Playoff aspirations still within reach.
* Helsley: at Texas, Sept. 26 – Not the game against the best team, rather the real indicator of whether the Cowboys can be in the league championship chase. A first real test, on the road, against a team looking to make a move up.
* Carlson: vs. TCU – The Frogs will be the first game in what could be a marquee November for the Cowboys.
* Tramel: TCU – Win that game and OSU will skyrocket when the playoff committee votes a few days later.
What will be the Cowboys' best win?
* Fredrickson: vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 28 – Mike Gundy gets his first consecutive Bedlam victories to solidify the Cowboys as the league’s third-best team.
* Helsley: vs. Baylor, Nov. 21 – The Cowboys have handled – manhandled, actually – very good Baylor teams in Boone Pickens Stadium. The Bears haven’t won in Stillwater since 1939. And it’s a trap game for Baylor, with TCU up just six days later on a Friday night.
* Carlson: vs. Baylor – The Cowboys have the Bears’ number in Stillwater. Beating them again could shake the national scene.
* Tramel: vs. Baylor – Bears might be undefeated when they come to Stillwater.
What could be a trap game for the Cowboys?
* Fredrickson: at Texas Tech, Oct. 31 – Stranger things have happened on Halloween Weekend.
* Helsley: at West Virginia, Oct. 10 -- There’s talk of an improved defense in Morgantown. And Dana Holgorsen will have an offense. The Cowboys were upset in their last visit there, costing them the 2013 Big 12 title.
* Carlson: at West Virginia – Last time the Cowboys were in Morgantown, they laid an egg. Will they be more on guard this year?
* Tramel: at West Virginia – The Cowboys lost in Morgantown in 2013, a game that ultimately cost OSU a Fiesta Bowl berth.
What will the Cowboys' record be?
* Fredrickson: 10-3 – Cowboys fall to West Virginia, TCU and Baylor.
* Helsley: 11-2 – Cowboys lose to West Virginia and TCU
* Carlson: 11-2 – Odd-numbered years have become big for the Cowboys. Look for the trend to continue.
* Tramel: 11-2 – Cowboys could be 8-0 through October.
Where will the Cowboys go bowling?
* Fredrickson: Sugar Bowl vs. Auburn
* Helsley: Sugar Bowl vs. LSU
* Carlson: Sugar Bowl vs. Ole Miss
* Tramel: Sugar Bowl vs. Georgia
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was... Read more ›
Kyle Fredrickson became the Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com in July 2014. A native Coloradoan, Fredrickson attended Western State College before transferring to Oklahoma State in 2010 and graduating in 2012. Fredrickson... Read more ›