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OSU football schedule breakdown: Could Bedlam be a Big 12 title preview?

Tylan Wallace (2) and Oklahoma State will hit the heart of their 2020 football schedule with a trip to face Baylor on Oct. 17. [SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN]
Tylan Wallace (2) and Oklahoma State will hit the heart of their 2020 football schedule with a trip to face Baylor on Oct. 17. [SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN]

STILLWATER — The scheduling minds of the Big 12 Conference were kind to Oklahoma State when they redesigned the conference slate earlier this week.

A soft open, with an off week before the mid-season grind, then another off week before a late November Bedlam date.

The home-away portion of the schedule was already determined before conference officials went to work on the new schedule, and it set up well for the Cowboys, too, with a couple of the most important games at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Let’s take a closer look at the schedule the Cowboys will have to navigate if they want to contend for a Big 12 title:

Sept. 12 vs. Tulsa

The Golden Hurricane returns some offensive weapons, like quarterback Zach Smith and running backs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor, so the opener should be a good test for the Cowboy defense, which has 10 starters back. But Tulsa couldn’t contain Chuba Hubbard or Tylan Wallace last year, and there’s no reason to think this year will be different.

Sept. 26 vs. West Virginia

The Mountaineers should be better than last year, particularly on defense, with brothers Darius and Dante Stills in the middle of the defensive line, and a couple talented safeties on the back end. The offense found some life with Jarret Doege at quarterback late last season but the group is still trying to find its identity. The Cowboys should be able to roll in their Big 12 opener.

Oct. 3 at Kansas

Now in his second season with the Jayhawks, Les Miles is still building for a better future, but the present will continue to be a struggle. Pooka Williams is a star at running back, but the rest of the roster remains a work in progress. KU is the perfect place for OSU to open the road schedule.

Oct. 17 at Baylor

After an off week, the Cowboys hit the heart of their schedule, literally and figuratively. Baylor will drop off a bit from its Big 12 runner-up finish of a year ago, but the Bears will still be in the top half of the league, and Charlie Brewer keeps getting better at quarterback.

Oct. 24 vs. Iowa State

The Cowboys will be back home for the first time in four weeks. And just in time. The final two weeks of October bring the games that define OSU’s season, because Iowa State and Texas appear to be the biggest threats to the Cowboys’ hope of a Big 12 title game appearance. Iowa State has key returners on both sides of the ball, and Brock Purdy might be the best quarterback in the league. And each of the last five meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Oct. 31 vs. Texas

What will new Texas offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich do to mold Sam Ehlinger in the quarterback’s senior season? We should know by the end of October. And it should make for quite a showdown in Stillwater with major implications on the Big 12 standings in the balance.

Nov. 7 at Kansas State

K-State doesn’t have a lot to get excited about in the talent department on offense, but Chris Klieman should have them on the upswing in his second year. The defense returns a good amount of experience, led by defensive end Wyatt Hubert. And the Cowboys have lost three of the last four in Manhattan.

Nov. 21 at OU

Bedlam in Norman has been more competitive than Bedlam in Stillwater lately with two overtime games and the epic 48-47 Sooner victory of 2018 among the last four meetings. But Bedlam has never been a preview of the Big 12 title game. Could it happen this year?

Nov. 28 vs. Texas Tech

After beating Texas Tech nine straight seasons, OSU has lost the last two by double-digits after entering as the favorite. A healthy Alan Bowman at quarterback could help Tech exceed expectations as a bottom of the barrel Big 12 team.

Dec. 5 at TCU

OSU’s last trip to Fort Worth was an ugly and uninspired loss to a helplessly flailing TCU squad. Max Duggan returns at quarterback for the Horned Frogs, but not much else. The defense has a few more playmakers, led by Garrett Wallow, who had 125 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year. TCU looks like a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team, but OSU has lost two of the last three against the Frogs.

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›