No. 15 Oklahoma State

Let's look at some history. Eight wins in 2012, 10 in 2013, 7 in 2014, 10 in 2015 and 10 in 2016. Sound like a perennial Top 20 type program to you? It does to us, which is why it is so easy to fit in Oklahoma State into a Sweet 16 position each season.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Coach Mike Gundy's Cowboys definitely have game. The problem is that so has down state rival Oklahoma, which is a perennial Top 10 team. And, when push comes to shove each season, the Sooners and Bob Stoops have had a little bit more ooomph. So much so that Oklahoma Sate's last Big 12 championship was in 2011 when the Cowboys came this close to qualifying for the BCS title game.

Which brings us to this season. Stoops has retired and Oklahoma must travel to Stillwater for this season's encounter which has been moved to mid-October as the Big 12 fools around with the concept of a conference championship game WITHOUT divisions--that means that the top 2 teams will play in a rematch.

Oklahoma State was good enough to win 10 games last year and should have beaten Central Michigan. Which most people in Stillwater, including Gundy, thought did happen were it not for a bizarre final play allowing Central Michigan to pull off a stunning upset.

The good news for State and Gundy is that quarterback Mason Rudolph is back and he might be the best QB in Oklahoma and the Big 12. Also returning is James Washington. That might be the best passing combination in college football in 2017. The amazing part of that story is that Washington, who is going for his third consecutive 1,000 yard (in receptions) season, didn't even lead the Cowboys in receptions last year. That honor belonged to Jalen McCleskey (73) and he is also returning.

Oh, there are some holes to fill on defense and Gundy thinks the Cowboy defense might be better than most people project, all of which casts OSU into a role of sleeper in the Big 12--in terms of Oklahoma not winning the conference at least.

The key to everthing will be in a three week stretch in the middle of the season when OU travels to Texas and West Virginia and then comes home to deal with Oklahoma on November 4th.

Win two of those three and the Cowboys could be in the Big 12 title game in December in a rematch Win all three and the chatter and the Cowboys could be headed to the Final Four semifinals.[/membership]