But when you start to take a closer look at Oklahoma State's schedule, you start to see some reason for hope Saturday, although the Cowboys have certainly taken care of business when they had to.
Preseason: If you'll remember, a lot of people were down on Oklahoma State going into the season. They lost a ton of starters from last year's team, including several players that were a big part of their top 20 rankings the last few years. By all accounts, this was supposed to be a down year for Oklahoma State. But, insert new Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgersen and insert Justin Blacmon to pick up right where Dez Bryant left off, and the same with Brandon Weeden for Zac Robinson, and now they are 7-1.
Non-conference:I'm not going to bore you with talk on every game, how much can you say about demolishing Washington State, Tulsa, and LA Lafeyette (Other than Oklahoma State actually trailed at the half in that ULL game). But one game I did want to touch on was at home against Troy. Granted, this was Oklahoma State's 2nd game of the season and likely the team was still meshing, but Troy held their own as the Cowboys only won 41-38. Troy is not terrible, but did lose to UAB and just lost by 14 to Louisiana Monroe. Once again, Oklahoma State trailed at half to this inferior team (as they did ULL) - this time 27-20. Oklahoma State obviously regained the lead in the 2nd half, but I note that Troy fumbled the ball twice inside the OSU 10 yard line to give the ball back to Oklahoma State...that obviously cost Troy the game. To be fair, this game had some flukey parts to it like Oklahoma State racking up 12 penalties for 139 yards (wow), and Oklahoma State had 5 turnovers (but Troy had 4). Another interesting note is that Weeden fumbled the ball in victory formation to give Troy one last chance - but Troy fumbled it back to Oklahoma State the next play.
Conference:Quickly recapping, Okie State beat Texas A&M 38-35 at home, won at Texas Tech 34-17, lost at home to Nebraska 51-41, and won at Kansas State 24-14. Baylor certainly can't count on 40 points every game, but you should note that Oklahoma State has scored under 40 in 3 of their 4 conference games. In other words, some of their ridiculous offensive numbers definitely need to be attributed to the 60 (twice) and 50 point totals achieved during non-conference.
A&M really had Oklahoma State on the ropes in their 1st conference game. You might remember Jerrod Johnson throwing 4 interceptions, including a big one during A&M's final drive. A&M had 5 total turnovers in that game. Really, A&M had the better numbers in every category but turnovers and the score - outgaining them by almost 200 yards, having 8 more first downs, and out-rushing and out-passing them.
Oklahoma State really lit it up against Tech numbers wise, and certainly did a better job of containing Tech's offense than Baylor did. Oklahoma State outgained Tech 581-400 in this game. There should be some takeaways for Baylor from the game, since it is one of the common opponents the two have on the season - and that takeaway may just be that Tech's defense is really terrible, and Oklahoma State's defense played better on that day than Baylor's did in the Cotton Bowl. It wasn't that Oklahoma State caused a ton of turnovers, both teams had 2, or anything like that, but it just looks like Oklahoma State got out to an early lead and Tech could not catch up.
Against Nebraska, Taylor Martinez had his only real good passing day of the season. Hard to say if that was a reaction to the Texas loss and the way they defended Martinez, but it is worth noting that he put up over 300 yards passing. I will say that you have to be impressed that Oklahoma State did so well offensively against Nebraska - such as Kendall Hunter rushing for over 200 yards, and Oklahoma State having almost 500 yards of offense.
Finally, last week, you saw a close, low-scoring game at Kansas State that might have surprised some people. You might recall Oklahoma State was without 3 of their top 4 wide receivers, but you should also note Oklahoma St still topped out over 500 yards of offense. It is certainly also relevant that one of Oklahoma State's scores was defensive, so without that, this game would have been truly close.
Oklahoma State is 7-1. They are ranked higher than Baylor. Baylor has been terrible in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has a really good offense and gets 2 top wide receivers back this week. But, Oklahoma State has not been as big of world beaters as people think at first blush. This is a team that trailed 2 very mediocre teams at half in non-conference play. A team tied 7-7 at Kansas State last week. A team that barely beat A&M and Troy. A team that allowed Taylor Martinez to have a career day passing the ball. While none of this means Baylor will win on Saturday, it does mean, if you are a Baylor fan, that you should take some comfort that Oklahoma State may not be quite as unstoppable as they seem. They have exceeded preseason expectations, but they are also a few plays away from a 5-3 team.