Below you will find a list of the things that have to happen and, in some cases, the things that can't happen in order for Oklahoma State and the 2015 football season to go off as well as it possibly can. We will number all of these necessities or call it a Cowboys "wish list."
1. Mason Rudolph is human and he will have a bad game or two, but for the majority of the season he needs to continue to develop as we would project him to. On the days he is having a bad game then that package planned for veteran quarterback and leader J.W. Walsh needs to be ready to go and be successful.
2. Rennie Childs (pictured above) needs to continue to play as he did in the spring and his new teammate at running back Chris Carson needs to be what the doctor ordered. There is even a chance that young Jeff Carr is putting on weight this summer and maybe his elusive and speedy running style could kick in and contribute some this season. Running backs need to stay healthy and be productive to create the balance that head coach Mike Gundy and his offense craves.
3. There is lots of depth, so six to seven receivers need to be healthy, happy, and productive.
4. The offensive line needs to continue to work and develop just like they did under new OL coach Greg Adkins in the spring. The starters are identified and look to be ready to handle the load, but the next best tackle, next best guard, and another center need to emerge and be ready. Injuries happen and you don't want injuries in the offensive line to cost this team.
5. The defensive tackles need to make like the offensive line and continue that solid development from the spring. Vili Leveni is back and he needs to stay healthy as he is now the veteran inside on defense.
6. Emmanuel Ogbah be Emmanuel Ogbah.
7. Jordan Burton is like the perfect fit at the "star" linebacker and he needs to show off a little. That is a big-play position and he is capable of being a big play guy, so bring on the big plays.
8. Introduce Chad Whitener to the world as he is so solid as a middle linebacker that Ryan Simmons will not have to play 80 to 90 percent of the snaps. He can play 60 percent and Chad can play 40 percent and both be better and fresher.
9. Michael Hunter is really good and the cornerback from Indiana with two years of starting experience could be a real difference maker. Picture a specialty defense with five corners on the back end in man coverage and the front going crazy.
10. Find a reliable punter because this defense with the #WTIB attitude deserves some help establishing field position.
11. Find a reliable ... make that explosive return guy or two. Those kickoff and punt returns can be real momentum changers or the kind of plays that put games away. I'd like to see freshman Bryce Balous and his speed tried out for the role.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (10-2 / 7-2)
9/3 @Central Michigan - It may look a little like it but this isn't Troy; Pokes win opener 42-16.
9/12 Central Arkansas - UCA challenged Texas Tech last season but not in Stillwater as OSU handles it 38-10.
9/19 UTSA - The Roadrunners lost a lot off last year's team and come north in rebuilding mode 54-13 Cowboys.
9/26 @Texas - Cowboys have won three in a row in Austin; make it four in a row 31-10.
10/3 Kansas State - Another revenge game and OSU takes it 38-14.
10/10 @West Virginia - This is where an open week could come in handy but it's a trip to Morgantown and WVU scores the upset 31-24.
10/24 Kansas - Two weeks of stewing over the loss at West Virginia and Kansas pays 54-10.
10/31 @Texas Tech - Oklahoma State plays the tricks on Tech with a 41-20 win.
11/7 TCU - The Frogs have not won in Stillwater but this is a very salty TCU squad that is unbeaten and stays that way 35-23.
11/14 @Iowa State - Cowboys pour it on in Ames 45-20.
11/21 Baylor - Bears have lost six in a row in Stillwater and this makes it seven as Cowboys score the upset 47-28.
11/28 OU - Bedlam in Stillwater and the Cowboys make it two in a row with a 41-31 win.