Oklahoma State faces an easier early-season schedule than any other team from a Power 5 conference this season, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
The ESPN reporter ranked the Cowboys’ first five games as the easiest stretch for any team in a power conference. Between three non-power conference opponents and two games against teams expected to be in the bottom half of the Big 12, the first five games of Oklahoma State’s schedule certainly don’t look menacing.
- vs. Missouri State – Aug. 30
- vs. South Alabama – Sept. 8
- vs. Boise State – Sept. 15
- vs. Texas Tech – Sept. 22
- at Kansas – Sept. 29
Boise State probably is the toughest game in that stretch, but the Cowboys get to face the Broncos at home. Oklahoma State only goes on the road once before October, and that’s to play the lowly Jayhawks.
The Pokes begin life after Mason Rudolph with a group of games that should allow their next quarterback to get comfortable. Oklahoma State plays five of its first six games at home and its lone away game comes against Kansas, which hasn’t won more than three games since 2009. Boise State provides a good test in Week 3, and Iowa State is coming off a breakthrough season, but Oklahoma State is traditionally strong under Gundy (last year being the exception).
Of course, it probably all balances out. An easy road up front means Oklahoma State faces one of the toughest stretches in the country late in the season. After dodging the conference heavyweights early, the Cowboys will play at Oklahoma, West Virginia and at TCU in three straight games in November to close out the season.
If the Cowboys make it through that stretch with two or three wins, there won’t be many people critiquing their early-season schedule.