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Tulsa

vs.

Oklahoma State

College Football Pick

8/31/17

Oklahoma State’s goal will be to not lose a non-conference game this season after keeping Central Michigan around too close a year ago. Opening what is expected to be a CFP type of campaign, the Cowboys host Tulsa as a -17 point favorite as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

It’s almost a guarantee that there’s going to be a ton of points in this game and that’s seen with an over/under above 70 points. The Pokes should have one of the best offenses in the country and could be headed for more than 40 per game if all goes well. Quarterback Mason Rudolph (4,091 yards, 28 TDs, 4 INTs) is back for his senior season with a number of tools around him, most importantly his top receivers in James Washington and Jalen McCleskey. Justice Hill (1,142 yards, 6 TDs) also returns in the backfield so the weapons will be there. If the offensive line doesn’t drop off with two starters gone, this offense will be elite.

The question will be on the defensive side and that will again likely determine how far the team goes. The Cowboys had some questionable losses last season and that was partly due to an iffy defense. With only five returning starters, there’s no guarantee how good this group will be after giving up 30 or more points eight different times last season.

In a different year, Tulsa would present a much bigger challenge, but the Golden Hurricane will open this season with a new quarterback as Dane Evans is gone. Only a week before this game, it’s looking likely the team will turn to two different quarterbacks this season with sophomore Chad President and redshirt freshman Luke Skipper. That’s usually not a recipe for success, but this offense should still be potent enough to move the ball on most teams, albeit maybe not scoring 42.5 points per game like 2016. With four returning linemen, the Hurricane will run plenty behind D’Angelo Brewer (1,425 yards, 7 TDs). Returning receivers Justin Hobbs and Keenen Johnson should also help things.

But at the end of the day, this is the opening game for a team without a hands-down starter at quarterback. In the two games that Tulsa played a decent defense in last year (Ohio State, Houston), they lost and scored just three points against the Buckeyes. Not to say OK State’s defense is that good, but with a new quarterback and playing what is expected to be one of the better teams in the country, Tulsa has an uphill battle.

This will be a tough spread to take because the range of outcomes is large for the Golden Hurricane. If the offense doesn’t take a step back with a new quarterback, they should come within 17 points. But if that’s an issue and a defense that isn’t very good gets gashed by Rudolph and company, this could get out of hand, similar to the Ohio State loss last season.

Our Pick - the lack of a defense on the Oklahoma State side keeps this from becoming a solid play. Tulsa will be able to put points on the board, so unless the Oklahoma State defense has improved drastically overnight, the back door will always be open (for an underdog cover) in Cowboy games tis year.

Just the same, we think Oklahoma State outscores Tulsa here by more than the posted number. Oklahoma State -17

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