Oklahoma State is one of Sports Illustrated’s picks to make the College Football Playoff this season.
The SI staff released their preseason predictions Wednesday, and the Cowboys landed at No. 4 to grab the final spot in the playoff field. The only teams ahead of Oklahoma State in the rankings are Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State. Oklahoma State is the highest-ranked Big 12 team in SI’s poll, with Oklahoma next at No. 6.
Here’s SI’s breakdown of Oklahoma State’s path to the playoff:
A good-but-not-great Pitt (Sept. 16) is the Cowboys’ most challenging non–Big 12 matchup. That’s not to say Oklahoma State needs to be perfect; a loss to a ranked conference foe might not doom the Pokes, should they go on to win the title showdown.
Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph is also going to be featured on one of SI’s four regional covers for the magazine’s annual college football preview.
But the Cowboys possess incredible offensive firepower with Rudolph and arguably the best receiving corps in the country, led by James Washington. Plus, they have emerging star running back Justice Hill, and one of the best coaches in the conference in Mike Gundy. If they can field a solid defense, these playoff predictions could look very smart in hindsight.
The Tulsa World’s Mark Cooper asked Gundy about the cover, with Gundy saying, “It was a long process for us to get to a point where people across the country say, ‘We respect Oklahoma State football.'”
The Cowboys open their season at home against Tulsa on Thursday, Aug. 31.