November 15, 2007

Six-cess: Win and go bowling

With two weeks left in the regular season, Oklahoma State is in need of one more win to reach the bowl game promised land.

The problem is, if the Cowboys can't get to win No. 6 this Saturday against Baylor, the half-dozen mark might not be reached in a season when the team looks a heck of a lot better than last year's Independence Bowl championship squad.

After the last two weeks, it's hard to have a lot of confidence in a team with absolutely zero defense. The last quarter against Texas and most of the Kansas game was pretty disheartening on a lot of levels. Couple that with how well Baylor was able to move the ball last weekend against Oklahoma and you have every reason to believe OSU will be in for a fight against the Bears along the lanes of I-35 this weekend.

In reality, that's probably not much of a worry. While the defenses of both OSU and BU resemble something along the lines of a butterfly net trying to carry water, the offenses are worlds apart. Sure, the Bears have a good passing game with Blake Szymanski at the helm, but their rushing game is putrid (115th nationally), while OSU's offense ranks 8th overall. The Bears should score in the low- to mid-20s in this game, but OSU should be able to score in the low 40s for sure. The fewest points allowed by the BU defense in Big 12 play is 31 and its highest is 58. The Cowboys have scored more than 40 points three times in their six league games. It might turn into another high-scoring affair for OSU, but the word "shootout" doesn't quite come to mind. If both defenses are poor and only one offense is great, you'd expect the team with the better offense to win since the defensive side of the ball cancels out.

But this is OSU we're talking about. The Cowboys have been maddening on many levels this season, looking like a Big 12 title contender one week and a conference also-ran the next. The schedule has been pock-marked with poor performances to go along with some really fine football. It's a shame the defense can't even rank in the 70s. If they did, the Pokes might be 8-2 right now and still in the South Division race. No matter the final win total for this 2007 slate, OSU players and coaches will look back and think there could have been three more on top of that.

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