It’s almost time for Bedlam, y’all! To help familiarize ourselves with the Oklahoma State Cowboys, we brought in Cade Webb of SB Nation’s Cowboys Ride For Free. He talks about the matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners, places to eat and drink in Stillwater, and much more. Enjoy!
How would you describe the mood of Oklahoma State's fan base leading up to this one? Are they optimistic, pessimistic or cautiously optimistic? How does it compare to they way it's been in the lead-up to previous Bedlam games?
I tweeted it earlier this week, but I don't think I've seen this much pessimism from Oklahoma State fans in Bedlam in a long time. It has nothing to do with the team, either. If there were ever a team to beat OU, it's probably that one. I think OSU fans, like myself, have watched really good OSU teams be held back by conservative play calling and game decisions from the coaching staff over the years. The pessimism is directed towards the head coach, and it's going to take a win on Saturday to change their mind.
Oklahoma State's defense is better than most people probably think it is, currently ranking 16th nationally in defensive efficiency. What's been the key to that unit's success in limiting damage this season?
They are solid in each area. The defensive line has played quite well over the last month, and they can rotate bodies in without losing much at all. The linebackers continue to be athletic and rangy. The one area that I think has been a surprise is the secondary. With two inexperienced starters at cornerback to start the season, and Ramon Richards moved to safety, there was reason for caution. But A.J. Green is turning into a star, and Rodarius Williams brings next-level physicality to the secondary. Richards has also simply blossomed at the safety spot. He's the best tackler on the team, and has had his best season so far hands-down.
Speaking of the defense, who are some of the overlooked players on that side of the ball that Oklahoma fans should key an eye out for on Saturday?
I would say the two cornerbacks would be a start. Both of them have good size and speed to go along with really good cover skills. I'd say one player to watch for is Calvin Bundage. He was a 4-star recruit out of Edmond Santa Fe, and he looks like he belongs in the SEC. He plays the star linebacker position, but they'll use him as a true safety, linebacker, and a standup edge rusher. He can do it all, and he delivers quite the hit. He could make an impact on Saturday.
Oklahoma State's WR unit was considered to be the best in the country coming into 2017, and they've backed it up so far this season. Outside of James Washington, who could cause problems for Oklahoma's secondary, and what makes the group so dangerous?
What makes them so dangerous is their depth. Teams have tried to take away James Washington to little avail, but even if that's successful, you've now got to worry about Marcell Ateman, Jalen McCleskey, Dillon Stoner, and Tyron Johnson. All four of those guys will be playing in the NFL at some point. I think OSU needs to find success on the outside, and it starts with Washington and Ateman. If they can soften up the defense, look for Stoner and McCleskey to make a big impact over the middle.
Is there any news on the injury front this week? Is the offensive line close to full strength at this point?
I haven't heard much of anything. Mason Rudolph sounds like he's ready to go, and should be close to 100%. The offensive line is about as healthy as it's going to get. They've been without starting RG Larry Williams for over a month now, so the group that's in there has been gelling. We saw the difference a full-strength offensive line can make last week against West Virginia. I could see it being even better this week.
Is Baker Mayfield the most hated OU football player in OSU history at this point? If not, who would it be?
I would say yes. I think he's great for college football, and great for Bedlam, but man I really don't like that guy (and that's what makes it fun). He's just a rare breed, man. If it isn't him, I'd say Brian Bosworth or Dusty Dvoracek are right up there.
In your opinion, what is the best restaurant in Stillwater?
Oh, it's Hideaway Pizza, my dude. Yes, Eskimo Joes is wonderful, and the cheese fries are legit. But nothing gets me going like some good 'za, and Hideaway does it right. Get the hamburger pizza next time you're there. Flames.
If you had to recommend one Stillwater bar to OU students and another Stillwater bar to slightly older OU fans, which places would you choose?
For the younger crowd, probably Murphy's. Really any bar on the strip will satisfy. For the slightly older crowd, if you're into country music and dancing, check out Outlaws. It can still get pretty wild, but it's much bigger than Murphy's and has a really cool atmosphere.
How did Oklahoma State fans feel when Bob Stoops retired?
Relieved. Overjoyed. Ecstatic. Really any of those words and synonyms would apply. I think we were all just so tired of losing in the same fashion every year that we needed to see a change. But I'd be wrong to not say how great he was.
Who would win in a fight -- Bryant "Big Country" Reeves or former OSU offensive lineman/current OKC sports radio personality Sam Mayes?
I don't even know where to start with this one. So many avenues. I'll take Big Country because he is a mammoth of a man. He's a taller Sam Mayes. I do think all the yelling from Mayes would be kinda distracted for ol' B.C., though.
Garth Brooks is a bit overrated, right?
If I told you my real opinion, I think the townsfolk would run me out of this job. I like Garth a lot. We'll leave it at that.
If you had to guess, who do you think will be the guest picker on College GameDay?
Rickie Fowler. #sources
What will Oklahoma State have to do on Saturday to grab a victory over Oklahoma?
Not get dominated on the defensive front. Sounds simple, but Oklahoma's offensive line is the best in the country. I think OSU's defense has a lot to prove, and the defensive line has really played well lately, but this is a different animal. If they can just hold serve up there, I think they can run on the back end with OU's receivers.
Offensively, they've got to be able to run the ball. It sets up everything for the pass game, and if they can get Justice Hill and J.D. King going, all bets are off.
How do you think this one will shake out? What's your final score prediction?
I've tried to stay away from this all week. Every year I feel optimistic and something stupid happens, but I think this year could be different. I think the timing of the game has a big impact on the way this game is coached, and I think OSU has a slightly better team overall. The two offenses are pretty even, and I give the nod to OSU's defense. Give me the team with the better defense to win at home. Oklahoma State 44, Oklahoma 38.