I've said it over and over this week until I actually feel blue in the face. Oklahoma State is a monumental favorite over Savannah State and it is virtually impossible that the Cowboys will be beaten. Yes, Appalachian State beat No. 5 Michigan in 2007 and James Madison disposed of nationally ranked Virginia Tech in 2010. But the Cowboys won't be upset victims in Saturday night's season opener.
Appalachian State had won the FCS Championship in 2006 over UMass, 28-17. They went on to beat Delaware 49-21 in the 2007 FCS National Championship Game for a repeat.
James Madison won the FCS title in 2004 and was a constant playoff qualifier in the decade, but actually had a subpar team in the season they knocked off the Hokies. Still, neither team approaches the struggles of Savannah State. The Tigers have gone 1-10 in back-to-back seasons and are 4-28 combined in the past three seasons.
Savannah State head coach Steve Davenport is urging his team to play hard and gain respect down after down. That is a good strategy. But we do have a few match-ups we'll be watching.
OSU quarterback Wes Lunt
vs. SSU boundry corner John Wilson
This is Wes Lunt's first game as a collegiate quarterback but he was spot on during a record-breaking high school career, and he also was impressive during the spring and fall camp.
Wilson is a good player, maybe the best pound for pound on the Tigers roster. Wilson had 60 tackles last season with an interception and 10 passes broken up. However, Lunt sees two better corners every day in practice in Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert. Lunt will tear up the Savannah State secondary and defense.Lunt wins decisively
OSU center Evan Epstein
vs. SSU defensive tackles Terrance Williams and Leroy Cummings
I can tell you right now that there are few people in this world that are as excited to play Saturday as Epstein. A long-time goal is finely at hand. Nobody is going to spoil Epstein's debut. The 6-3, 295-pound center has a size edge as Williams is 260 pounds and Cummings is 270 pounds. Both Tiger linemen are determined, but they are about to tangle with a man on a five-year mission.
Epstein wins decisively
OSU strong safetys Shamiel Gary, Lavocheya Cooper and Zack Craig
vs. SSU tight end Kris Drummond
Drummond caught 13 passes for 151 yards last season and somehow warranted preseason All-MEAC attention. Drummond, oddly enough a name that has lots of history on the Oklahoma State campus, is a 6-5 and 215 pound big inside receiver more than he is a tight end. He is not overly physical and he will find that the Cowboys strong safeties are. Cowboys will lean on Drummond from start to finish.
OSU safeties win
This really depends on how long head coach Mike Gundy wants to play Wes Lunt with the first team offense and J.W. Walsh with the second team offense. Both need experience and that does not bode well for Savannah State. I really don't think the Tigers will score on the Oklahoma State defense. This may sound obscene, but here goes.
OSU, 73, Savannah State 0
Big 12 Predictions
Marshall 13, West Virginia 42
Tulsa 24, Iowa State 28
Missouri State 6, Kansas State 34
South Dakota State 17, Kansas 21
Wyoming 10, Texas 35
Northwestern State 10, Texas Tech 24
Oklahoma 49, UTEP 20
SMU 28, Baylor 37