Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Opening College Football Odds: Oklahoma State -10
Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh TV Coverage: ABC/ESPN2
Oklahoma State's offense is certainly off and running on the young season. The Pokes are averaging 572.5 yards and 51.5 points per game in blowout wins over Tulsa and South Alabama. Of course, the Cowboys haven't run across a test quite like this one yet, but both James Washington and Mason Rudolph are off to good starts in seasons in which they both figured to at least be on the short list of potential Heisman Trophy candidates.
Is there reason to be concerned about this defense, though? The showing against South Alabama at Ladd-Peebles Stadium was far better than it was against Tulsa, but still, 142.5 rushing yards per game allowed is a potentially alarming number against a capable Pittsburgh team.
The Panthers were good enough to hang in there with Penn State every step of the way last Saturday in spite of the fact that the Nittany Lions were darn good for most of the 60 minutes. A safety in the fourth quarter setup a potential disaster in relation to the 19.5-point spread, but Pittsburgh hung on to beat the number the top five sportsbooks' laid out by a hook.
Max Browne has struggled mightily replacement Nathan Peterman under center. Browne only has 278 passing yards in two games, and there isn't a receiver on this roster who has more than the 76 yards of Jester Weah.
Toss in the fact that Pittsburgh flat out hasn't looked nearly as good defensively as we're used to seeing, and that's why this team looks like it could be in some trouble in 2017.
The Last Meeting
Rudolph is darn good, but he and Washington aren't going to be as good this year as they were last season when these two teams met. Rudolph only completed 26 passes on the day, but those 26 passes went for a just flat out stupid 540 yards and two touchdowns. Washington? All he did for the day was go off for nine catches, 296 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
In fairness to Pittsburgh, it did hang in there and ultimately only lose when Rennie Childs scored his fourth touchdowns of the game to make the final score 45-38 in Stillwater. If the Panthers are going to hang around this year in this one, they're going to need some answers for what Rudolph and Washington are bringing to the table.
Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh Free Picks
We really think the Panthers are live in this game even though they're an unranked team with a near-miss against an FCS team and a bad loss to Penn State to their credit. Qadree Ollison and Quadree Henderson are both capable running backs, and in spite of the fact that Browne has struggled, we know that he still has some raw talent and could find a way to hang in there with Rudolph.
But the biggest reason we like Pittsburgh to pull off this upset really has to do with the Okie State offense and the way that it played away from Stillwater last season. Sure, the team scored 43 against Kansas State and 44 against Kansas, but in games against Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor, there were just 20, 31 and 24 points respectively. If that's where the Cowboys are going to be held in this game, we think they're going to be in a lot of trouble against a club that certainly isn't going to be afraid of this moment.
College Football ATS Pick: Play Pittsburgh at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 34, Oklahoma State 27