Today concludes our discussion on the most underrated teams in college football. TSS Associate Editor Terry Johnson joins staff writer Kevin Causey and special rotating guests in our weekly roundtable discussing all things college football.
So far this week we have examined the underrated teams in the ACC, the Big Ten, the SEC and the Pac-12. Today we explore the Big 12. Joining us in this conversation is TSS writer and the man behind The Next Wave Football, Ryan Palencer….
Question: The coaches poll has been released, other outlets are releasing their Top 25 polls (SI, Athlon) and we are in the middle of releasing our poll. Which Big 12 team is the most underrated heading into the 2015 season?
On Twitter @RyanPalencer
Oklahoma State is the most underrated team in the Big 12.
The Cowboys are young in some spots, but awfully talented in all of them. Quarterback Mason Rudolph returns as a sophomore off a strong 2014 campaign. Though Mike Gundy may not have ultimately wanted to use Rudolph last season, it is hard to argue with his success, particularly down the stretch. While he lost his debut to Baylor, Rudolph tossed for nearly 900 yards in three games and six touchdowns. Though Oklahoma State was just one game over .500 last season, they bring a lot of excitement into 2015. The Cowboys bring back a talented wide receiver bunch, including Brandon Sheperd and James Washington. In addition, the line is looking solid so far in front of the signal caller.
Emmanuel Ogbah was huge for Oklahoma State last season as well, with 11 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Having a force up from like Ogbah up front, putting pressure on an offense, makes any unit better. Opposite of Ogbah is another talented rusher in Jimmy Bean. With another season of experience with those two, the Cowboys front four could be awfully dangerous. While last season was a planned rebuild, to make a bowl game and be this far ahead of schedule cannot be anything less than encouraging for Oklahoma State.
On Twitter @CFBZ
I’m going to say Kansas State. The main reason for this is…Bill Snyder. After coming coming back, Snyder went 6-6 and 7-6 in his first two years. Since then he’s 38-14. Last year he took a K-State team with no expectations and only lost to Auburn, Baylor, TCU and UCLA.
From a talent perspective, the Wildcats aren’t in the upper half of the Big 12. From a performance standpoint, they are. Snyder always has his team prepared. Snyder’s teams don’t often lose to teams they should beat.
Year in, year out we forget about Kansas State. They are the perennially underrated team in the Big 12.
On Twitter @SectionTPJ
Without question, Oklahoma State is the most underrated team in the Big 12.
Despite finishing the season with impressive victories over Oklahoma and Washington, the media picked the ‘Pokes to finish fourth in the league this year, which is ironically one spot lower than the Sooners.
The Cowboys will finish higher than that. With Mason Rudolph under center, OSU has a strong-armed quarterback that can stretch the field vertically. His ability to connect on the deep ball, will help open up the running game, which will easily improve on last year’s average of 3.5 yards per carry.
On the other side of the ball, the ‘Pokes will be one of the most improved units in the country. Sure, the defense will give up its share of yardage. However, defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer preached the importance of generating turnovers in spring practice. He was so emphatic in making his point that there’s actually a hashtag (#WTIB) associated with it.
Combining those two factors together, I like Oklahoma State’s chances to win 10 games this season. That’s quite an improvement from the fourth place finish that the media predicted.