A trip to Lubbock, Texas, has never been so important for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State than on Saturday.
All of the pieces for a College Football Playoff team are there for the Cowboys with quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver James Washington leading the way.
A loss to TCU last week gives the Cowboys a huge hurdle to clear on its path back to a Big 12 title and College Football Playoff berth, but a second loss this week at Texas Tech?
That would be insurmountable, notes Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel.
“A loss in Lubbock would end all College Football Playoff hopes and even put the Big 12 championship game hopes on life support, all before October arrives,” Tramel wrote. “Gundy is a made man in Stillwater for his remarkable success. … But lose Saturday at Tech, and the 2017 season quickly becomes a major disappointment.”
Expectations were sky high for the Cowboys entering the 2017 season. They were a sleeper playoff pick and to some arguably the best team in the Big 12 in the preseason.
Rudolph and Washington were expected to contend for many of the major individual awards, including Rudolph as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
A loss on Saturday would derail all of those aspirations, however, as Oklahoma State walks into Jones AT&T Stadium for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff against the undefeated Red Raiders.
Oklahoma State has won eight straight against Texas Tech — its last loss coming in 2008 when the Red Raiders tied for the Big 12 south division title.
Gundy’s group won’t be facing Mike Leach, Graham Harrell or Michael Crabtree, but Oklahoma State can’t afford to overlook anyone with a blemish on its record.
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