Analysis: Where Does OSU Stand Right Now?

Wow, anybody that had everything happening so far in the Big 12 raise your hand. We'll get back to that but as far as Oklahoma State goes, I had the Cowboys 4-0 following the Texas A&M game. I actually had OSU winning its first five games before meeting the first stumble in Lubbock, but now I would like a do over on that one.

I thought the offense would be strong and that Kendall Hunter would be a major factor. I had every expectation that Brandon Weeden would be playing well, but the wide receivers have been better than anticipated and the offense overall, even more explosive than I thought it would be.

Now that said, I'm well aware the competition is getting better in many cases the rest of the way.

Looking ahead at the schedule and based on what we have seen from everybody else so far, the Cowboys can win any and every game the rest of the way. The selections here would add up to 10 wins.

Yes, I know that would not have been realistic at the beginning of the season, but it is now. Are you going to say Oklahoma State can't win at Tech, on homecoming against Nebraska, at Texas, at home against Oklahoma? Now, on the other hand, at Kansas State may be harder than originally thought and Baylor is much better than anticipated.

For those that love accounting or were accounting graduates, here are the plusses and minuses, or the areas that are solid and the areas that need attention and improvement.

Solid
Wide Receiver Play: Few drops, good blocking, routes seem to be sharp, turnovers at a minimum.

Quarterback Play: Outstanding despite Weeden's thumb injury, can improve but still considered solid, backup play has improved dramatically.

Running Back Play: Hunter had been outstanding, backups Jeremy Smith and Joe Randle good too.

Defensive Line Play: Based on current players and depth, they have overachieved, more sacks, solid against the run, pass rush could get better.

Linebacker Play: Orie Lemon and Justin Gent have been really good. The star linebacker position gets better every game with James Thomas and the youngsters like A&M game hero Shaun Lewis.

Quinn Sharp: Kickoffs are the best in the nation and punts are close.

Dan Bailey: Perfect on extra points and winning field goal nailed.

Less Than Solid
Offensive Line Play: It hasn't been a huge problem, but understandably with the newness they are still a work in project. The expectation is they will continue to get better.

Secondary: They have played well a lot of the time but still have been beaten on too many long balls and too many third downs. A lot of youth, so they can be expected to struggle a little and continually improve.

Kickoff Coverage Unit: Must get better as just about every kickoff that is not a touchback off the foot of Sharp ends up coming back a long way.

Kickoff Return Unit: Finally broke one the other night versus A&M, but must get better.

Punt Return and Coverage: Not bad and Josh Cooper has a return for touchdown, but it could be more consistant. Again, there are a lot of young players involved in all the special teams units.

Overall, so far, so good and it is on to Louisiana this Friday.

Now for the Big 12, here's a quick synopsis:

North
Nebraska: About where I thought they would be. I still don't think they are a dominant team but the emergence of Taylor Martinez at quarterback gives their offense a personality. Defensively, they are good but not as good as last season. Still the favorite in the North.

Missouri: The suspensions have been critical and have weakened the Tigers. This week's game with Colorado becomes crucial to build conference momentum. I thought they had a good chance, but think it is a longer shot now.

Colorado: The Buffaloes were my pick for third and have not disappointed with the back to back wins over Hawaii and Georgia. Look out, the Buffs will be bowl eligible and if they handle things right could make that day after Thanksgiving game with Nebraska interesting.

Iowa State: The Cyclones were my pick for fourth and still are. Nice win over Texas Tech and no fluke as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead in that game and fell asleep. Good running attack and while they don't have as many athletes, under Paul Rhoads the defense will be sound.

Kansas State: I had them winning all non-conference games, which they have so far as they have one later and losing all conference games. I missed on that as they beat the Cyclones. Nebraska will reveal the Cats on Thursday.

Kansas: Thought they were awful. Nearly changed my mind after the beat Georgia Tech and then discovered they are awful too. Not sold on Truner Gill.

South
Oklahoma: They are 5-0 and they have looked good so far in their games with their top three opponents as they blasted Florida State, beat Air Force (who can be hard to beat), and dusted Texas as it would have been more impressive except for a few fourth quarter mistakes in decisions. How about Utah State now? They are better then you gave them credit for. OU is the favorite, but not a dominant team.

Baylor: Yes, I am putting the Bears up here. This is a critical week with the game in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday with Tech. A win in that one and Baylor is one away from a bowl and can start really accepting compliments about moving up in the world. The Bears are stout on offense and improving dramatically on defense. Playing Kansas helps and beating Tech will be more of a proving ground.

Texas: Shame on Texas. They are better than this. Those recruting rankings weren't a bunch of huey. This team is underachieving. I'm not sure it is all coaching either. On offense they need to get an identity and a better offensive line coach. The line play is bad at times, fair at others. On defense, they need to kick some players behinds.

Texas A&M - This is a good Aggies team. Jerrod Johnson is good but needs to be more consistent. If he would eliminate half of his bad plays the Aggies might win the South. The offensive line is too young and a little of a liability but they have outstanding wide receivers and running backs. Defensively, Sherman made a great hire as they were so much more sound on that side of the ball than they have been the last several seasons.

Texas Tech: You've heard of coaching changes needing time to take hold. Here's your sign. Tech is messed up. You can't go from Mike Leach, his style and his demeanor and go so dratically opposite to Tommy Tuberville without growing pains. This season is going to prove that.


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