The conference schedule for the Big 12 starts heating up in week 5, as the Texas Longhorns travel to Stillwater to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Before the season began, if you had picked which team would be 3-0 with a number 12 ranking heading into the game, you likely would have sided with the Cowboys. Of course, that’s not the case, and Texas comes in as the unbeaten, ranked team, looking to score a big road win as they work to reestablish themselves as a strong contender for the conference crown.
Texas certainly has to appreciate where they are right now after the struggles of the past few seasons. Of course, some would say it’s easy to look good and be 3-0 when you have played the likes of Wyoming, New Mexico and Mississippi. Nevertheless, you have to win the games you’re expected to, and that’s what the Longhorns have done thus far. In the process, they are racking up 49.3 points per game, 7th best in the nation, while surrendering just 16 points per game, 28th best in the country.
Their offensive attack has been fueled by the rise of sophomore quarterback David Ash, who in three games has nearly eclipsed his numbers from all of last season. This year he is completing 76% of his passes so far, compared to just 57% last year, and has thrown for 700 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions, compared to 1,079 yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions last season. The change has been drastic, and it has sparked the team’s rise back into a Big 12 contender.
Still reeling from their exclusion from the national title picture last season, the Cowboys began the year with an 84-0 drubbing of the hapless Savannah State team, but then disappointingly lost a road game to Arizona. That’s what dropped them out of the rankings, although surely a big win here would restore them to that position, and would get them back in the mix in the conference.
Oklahoma State has plenty of time to come back too, if they are up for it. They still have games against Kansas State, TCU, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Baylor, all currently ranked. Those are five of their last six games, with 3-0 Texas Tech being the sixth. So they’ll have a big opportunity to not only make up ground, but stake their claim as top dog, if they’re able.
According to the week 5 college football odds, Texas is a 2.5 point road favorite in this game. The over/under has been set at 65.5 points. Oklahoma State has won the last two match-ups in the series.
You have to like the over in this game when making a prediction, as both offenses can score points in a hurry. Playing at home and in need of a big win, take the Cowboys to make a stand against the Longhorns, adding even more intrigue to what’s going to be a very tight and intense battle for the Big 12 over the second half of this season.