OSU-Central Michigan Matchups

What are the key matchup for Oklahoma State's opener against Central Michigan?

The opening game of the 2015 season and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are heading to Michigan to play Central Michigan. I remember when this contract was signed and it seemed such a long way off but now it is here and time to kick-off in Mount Pleasant.

It reminds me of Oklahoma State going to Troy and getting slam ducked by a mid-major, but the Chippewas won’t have the same kind of talent that Troy had, and Oklahoma State as a program has advanced past the trap game age.

Just for grins, here is the set up. Oklahoma State is 19-3 against what I consider mid-major competition and that is anything outside the Power Five conferences and above FCS. Two of those loses were on the road (at Troy and at Houston) and the third was at home the week after they opened the 2009 season with the win over Georgia (loss to Houston).

Central Michigan has faced four Power Five opponents at home in Kelly/Shorts Stadium in the last 20 seasons and they are 0-4 (losses to Syracuse 40-3 last year, 41-7 to Michigan State in 2012, 31-24 to Boston College in 2006, and loss to Indiana 20-13 in 2005).

Oklahoma State is bigger, stronger, and much faster than the Chippewas, but you still have to play the game.

Key Matchups
Oklahoma State right tackle Zach Crabtree vs. Central Michigan left end @Joe Ostman                                                    

Ostman is a junior and the veteran in this match up. He is a productive player but without his bookend in Blake Serpa, who is injured and out of the contest, Oklahoma State can focus more on keeping Ostman out of plays. Crabtree is plenty big and plenty athletic enough to handle the Lombardi Award watch lister.

Oklahoma State free safety Jordan Sterns vs. Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush                         

Rush threw every pass last season for CMU and he was the dart thrower in the massive late comeback against Western Kentucky in the Bahamas Bowl. He is to be respected but I like the matchup of brains on the field between Rush and the OSU defensive on the field brain trust of middle linebacker Ryan Simmons and especially free safety Jordan Sterns.

Oklahoma State wide receivers Brandon Sheperd and James Washington
vs. Central Michigan cornerbacks Josh Cox, Stefon Armstead, and Amari Coleman                         

It could be any of the Oklahoma State receivers as with Mason Rudolph throwing and Cox and Coleman both sophomores, I think the speed of the Cowboys and the lack of experience on the Chippewas corners could wind up being a deciding factor in the game.

Prediction

Central Michigan will play with emotion and be fired up for the opener, for a big opponent from the Big 12, and to play well and make their new head coach and cancer fighter John Bonamego proud of them. They will not be able to keep up as virtually every matchup favors the Cowboys. Even when Oklahoma State substitutes, say like second quarterback J.W. Walsh, it won’t get any easier for CMU. I have Oklahoma State winning big.
Oklahoma State 56, @Central Michigan 10

Big 12 Predictions
Last Year: (straight up) 68-14; (against the spread-not all games have point spreads) 59-14.
Thursday
#2 TCU 32          
@Minnesota 24

Friday
#4 Baylor 48

@SMU 20

Saturday
South Dakota State 17
@Kansas 21

Sam Houston State 27
@Texas Tech 31

South Dakota 7
@Kansas State 24

Akron 16
@#19 Oklahoma 38

Texas 20
@#11 Notre Dame 35

Georgia Southern 14
@West Virginia 45

Northern Iowa 31                                          
@Iowa State 34

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