Oklahoma State at Central Michigan
Why You Need To Care: Last year, Oklahoma State started out the season having to deal with defending national champ Florida State, and played well in a 37-31 loss. This time around, the Cowboys are kicking off the season with a strange road trip to Central Michigan for the first ever meeting between the two before cruising through the rest of the non-conference schedule against Central Arkansas and UTSA.
This is the big moment for Central Michigan, getting a Power 5 big boy up in Mount Pleasant. Coming off a thrilling season with a wild bowl loss to WKU, the needle is pointing up under new head coach John Bonamego. The Chippewas beat Purdue last season, and they have the pop and explosion to make this fun.
Why Oklahoma State Will Win: Can Central Michigan possibly get to OSU QB Mason Rudolph? CMU couldn’t get to the quarterback on a regular basis last year, generating just 20 sacks and never getting to Brandon Doughty in the bowl loss to WKU. The pass rush got far better as the second half of the season went on, but there needs to be more production with three starters up front. The Cowboys have the firepower, and the offensive line, to put up huge numbers as long as Rudolph gets time to operate.
Why Central Michigan Will Win: The Chippewas should be able to keep up the pace. QB Cooper Rush threw every passing yard for the Chippewas last season, and even with leading target Titus Davis gone, there shouldn’t be any slowing down with one of the MAC’s most efficient passing games. This should be a shootout.
Player Who Matters: Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph. Very big, very talented, and with a huge arm and next-level upside, he could be the type of quarterback who becomes the reason Oklahoma State goes from okay to Big 12 title good. This has to mark the start of a huge season – he needs to go off.
What’s Going To Happen? CMU will make it fun at home with big numbers from Rush and lots of big plays, but the Oklahoma State defensive front will take over in the second half, doing just enough to help the O pull away.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 38, Central Michigan 24, Line: Oklahoma State -23, o/u: 54
Must See Rating: 5: True Detective, Season 1 – 1: True Detective, Season 2 … 2.5