That 28-7 home loss was rock bottom last season for an OSU team on a five-game skid. Mike Gundy press conferences were tense. There were few answers for fixing a young team that continued to struggle. But everything changed the next week when the coaching staff burned quarterback Mason Rudolph’s redshirt against Baylor and OSU finally found some rhythm offensively. That momentum carried over to the crazy Bedlam victory that got the Cowboys into the Cactus Bowl, where they beat a Washington team with three first-round NFL picks on defense. It’s been a pretty amazing turnaround.
It’s just the way Gundy likes it. Although he understands the merits of strength of schedule, Gundy’s a believer that a Big 12 championship is the road to a playoff spot, and a softer non-conference schedule aids in developing a young team to reach that level of play. That being said, this will be the last super-soft slate of games OSU has in some time. The Cowboys face Pittsburgh, Oregon State and Boise State in the future.
JUCO running back Chris Carson arrived with a ton of publicity. How has his transition been?
Anytime a former Georgia commit with one of those prototypical do-it-all SEC frames lands at a place like OSU, there are going to be high expectations. He’s been solid so far, rushing for his first 100-yard game last week against UTSA. Carson has passed all the early tests, but we’ll find if the hype checks out if he’s able to produce at a high level in the heart of the Big 12 schedule.
It does allow for a still young OSU team to grow before it faces its toughest challenges of the season, albeit all at home. I’d say the one potential problem could be injuries. If OSU loses any of its key playmakers who are difficult to replace in November, it might be an issue facing all the league’s most high-powered teams at once.