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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Take Two: Simulation record most wrong?

By Jake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon

It's Take Two Tuesday time, when we give diverging opinions on a topic related to the Big 12.

Today's Take Two topic: last week, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson simulated out every game in the 2014 season. Off that simulation, which projection is most likely to be wrong?

Take 1: Brandon Chatmon -- Texas Tech

While Iowa State and Oklahoma State immediately come to mind as teams that could make me look like a fool for my low expectations for the Cyclones and Cowboys, Texas Tech is the team that could end up saying “I told you so” at the end of the 2014 season.

A 4-5 conference record for the Red Raiders would be a worst-case scenario, meaning the defense never came together and the offense ran into obstacles. But Tech, without question, has some of the Big 12’s best offensive talent with quarterback Davis Webb and receiver Jakeem Grant having the potential to perform as well as any player at their position this fall.

Their defense could be the determining factor. That unit has a couple things in its favor, including increased talent and some continuity with Matt Wallerstedt returning as defensive coordinator for the second straight season.

If Webb remains healthy, the Red Raiders will score plenty of points. If the defense comes together as the season progresses, Tech could be the team that far surpasses our summer projections and inserts itself in the Big 12 title race.

Take 2: Jake Trotter -- Oklahoma State

With all due respect to my esteemed colleagues, there is no way that Iowa State doesn’t win a game in the Big 12.

Mark it down. You heard it here first.

But my biggest gripe with their simulation was the 5-7 record they projected for Oklahoma State.

There’s no doubt with such a young roster the Cowboys will endure growing pains, especially in the ghastly opener against defending national champion Florida State.

But their projection smacks of 2010, when virtually every college football expert picked the Cowboys to finish either fifth or sixth -- in the Big 12 South. Instead, behind the unknown quarterback-receiver duo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, the Pokes reeled off 11 wins and came within a hair of winning the South.

Likewise, this Oklahoma State squad has some unknowns. Many of the defenders penciled atop the current depth chart have never started a game in their careers. And of the returning receivers, only Jhajuan Seales had more than 22 catches last year.

But Oklahoma State has never recruited better, including the classes leading up to that 2010 season. The offense is littered with potential playmakers like Seales, Marcell Ateman and speed-demon running back Tyreek Hill. The defense has speed at every level.

These Cowboys likely won’t replicate the surprising success of the 2010 team. But Mike Gundy’s track record suggests Oklahoma State will do far better than 5-7.