Opponent: Oklahoma State
Kickoff: October 2nd
Location: Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)
Conference: Big 12
Head Coach: Mike Gundy (entering 17th year)
Last Year’s Record: 8-3
Notable Outcomes: Lost to Oklahoma 41-13; beat Baylor 42-3; beat Miami 37-34
Key Losses: Chuba Hubbard, RB; Tylan Wallace, WR; Teven Jenkins, OT
Strength: Linebacker. Oklahoma State returns their leading tackler, linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez. Devin Harper will likely start alongside Rodriguez. Even though Harper only started one game last season, he still ranked sixth for tackles for the Cowboys. Surprisingly for a Gundy team, I think the defense will be more exciting than the offense this season.
Weakness: Running back. Similar to Iowa State, Oklahoma State doesn’t really have a glaringly bad position group. That said, the Cowboys lost an exceptionally talented running back in Chuba Hubbard. They will try to replace his production with returning running backs Dezmon Jackson and LD Brown. Both had solid seasons last year. They also add transfer Jaylen Warren out of Utah State. So there is depth there but not really a “go to” guy.
Way Too Early Prediction: Baylor got absolutely boat raced by the Cowboys last year. However, that game came at the end of a disappointing 2020 campaign. I suspect this year’s game will be nothing like that one. In fact, I think both Baylor and Oklahoma State’s strengths will lie with their defenses. So, the question then will be which team’s offense can get some traction? A lot of Oklahoma State’s hopes will hinge on quarterback Spencer Sanders continuing to develop. However, they lose so much offensive production (only one starting wide receiver or running back returns), that I think Baylor’s high ceiling for improvement will payoff, even on the road.