Mason Rudolph

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Baker Mayfield, J.T. Barrett, Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold among 2017 Heisman Trophy favorites

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The new college football season may still be a long way away, but it is never too early to place your bets on who you think will win the Heisman Trophy in the 2017 season. The very early favorite, according to odds released by Bovada on Monday, is Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Bovada gives Mayfield 11/2 odds to win the Heisman Trophy this fall. He is followed by Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett (6/1), which sets up a nice Heisman Trophy showdown in September when the defending Big 12 champions head to Columbus for the second game in a home-and-home series that was won by Ohio State in Norman in 2016. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, is listed with 7/1 odds, with USC’s rising star quarterback Sam Darnold listed at 9/1.

Penn State’s dynamic duo of running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley each have 10/1 odds, along with Washington quarterback Jake Browning.

Looking back to the early odds from last January, Barrett and Mayfield each had 10/1 Heisman odds. Louisville’s Jackson was not on the radar.

Alamo Bowl blowout sees No. 12 Oklahoma State dominate No. 10 Colorado

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The Alamo Bowl saw a 31-point lead evaporate last season, but there would be no meltdown this year. No. 12 Oklahoma State (10-3) steamrolled No. 10 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, 38-8.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 24-yard pass from Chris Carson, and James Washington was on the receiving end of 171 yards and one touchdown from Rudolph. For a good stretch, Washington equaled Colorado’s total offensive production in the game in the second half. Colorado was just unable to get anything going on offense, with an injury to Sefo Liufau keeping the Buffs QB out of the mix for a stretch. Colorado did manage to avoid a shutout with a fourth quarter touchdown and two-point conversion. Phillip Lindsay ran for a six-yard score and Liufau completed a pass to Lindsay for a two-point conversion. At that point, however, it was more about pride than anything else, because Oklahoma State had the game all but locked down.

Cowboys running back Justice Hill hit the century mark with a late 37-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Colorado defense. Oklahoma State ended the night with over 500 yards of offense and zero turnovers.

Oklahoma State held a 31-0 lead until 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, preventing the Cowboys from recording their first shutout victory over a ranked opponent since 1958. The last time Oklahoma State pitched a shutout in a postseason bowl game was in the 1944 Cotton Bowl, against TCU. Oklahoma State beat their future conference foes, 34-0.

Looking Ahead

Oklahoma State will have plenty of reason to feel confident about what they can do in the Big 12 next season with Mason Rudolph and James Washington saying they will be back for one more season in Stillwater. Barring any changes on that front, the Cowboys will have one of the most potent combos in the Big 12, which is really all you need sometimes in the conference, right? Oklahoma State and Oklahoma look to be situated well to be heavy preseason favorites in Big 12 play, and each could start the year in the top 10 of the preseason polls (which are even more meaningless than the bowl games). The 2017 season begins with a Group of Five team to watch in 2017, Tulsa. The Cowboys host Tulsa on Sept. 2, 2017 in Stillwater before playing back-to-back road games at South Alabama and Pittsburgh. Big 12 play opens with a home game against TCU on Sept. 23, 2017.

What will we make of Colorado? The Buffs have a hire to make at defensive coordinator (Bob Diaco would be a good addition), and Sefo Liufau will be moving on. The Buffs will certainly have a bit of a new look next season, but the big question is how much can this program rebound in the offseason after seeing an otherwise dream season end with the thud it did in postseason play (Pac-12 championship game and Alamo Bowl)? That is not easy to predict, but the bar has been raised for Colorado and there is a renewed sense of optimism for the program to utilize to its advantage. The 2017 season opens in Denver against Colorado State and two home games against Texas State and Northern Colorado. Getting into Pac-12 play with a winning record is certainly to be expected, and anything less than a 3-0 mark should be considered a disappointment. Colorado will also get home game sin conference play against both USC and Washington, which could be interesting if Colorado continues to improve rather than take too many steps back.

Colorado QB Sefo Liufau injured in first half of Alamo Bowl

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Oklahoma State leads Colorado 17-0 at halftime in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Digging out of s 17-0 deficit is certainly not unheard of today (see: Arkansas, Belk Bowl), but the Buffs from the Pac-12 may have to climb back without a healthy Sefo Liufau at quarterback. Liufau was knocked out of the game in the first half and had his ankle attended to on the sideline.

Oklahoma State took the game’s opening drive down for a field goal to get the scoring going. The Cowboys entered the end zone for the first time with a 10-yard touchdown run by Chris Carson, who had caught a 24-yard pass from Mason Rudolph on the previous play. Oklahoma State scored once more on their next offensive series after a quick three-and-out by Colorado on the ensuing possession. Rudolph connected on a five-yard touchdown to James Washington, who had dropped a deep pass right in his hands earlier in the half. Rudolph and Washington hooked up on a 42-yard pass on the drive to get things moving.

Oklahoma State did a solid job of forcing Liufau to stay slightly out of rhythm. Liufau, who was injured in the Pac-12 championship game against Washington, has completed six of 10 passes for just 53 yards. He was seen getting his ankle taped by trainers on the Colorado sideline as well, and freshman quarterback Steven Montez has taken over on offense in his absence.

No. 11 Oklahoma State keeps Big 12 title hopes in sight with win at TCU

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For as much talk as there has been about Oklahoma and even West Virginia when it comes to the Big 12 championship race, it seems No. 11 Oklahoma State has been flying under the radar. That should not be the case after the Cowboys (9-2, 7-1) picked up yet another win in conference play to set themselves up for a chance to clinch the Big 12 title in two weeks. Oklahoma State’s 31-6 victory on the road against TCU (5-5, 304 Big 12) in Fort Worth also keeps Oklahoma state on the radar for a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 207 yards and a touchdown and picked up two rushing touchdowns, while two running backs (Chris Carson and Justice Hill) went for more than 100 yards on the ground to power the offense by TCU. The defense also frustrated TCU quarterback Kenny Hill with a pair of interceptions, and Hill was little more than a minor threat with his dual-abilities.

Yes, it’s true. The Cowboys do have a slight sliver of hope to reach the College Football Playoff. Considering both the MAC and Big 12 previously basically confirmed Oklahoma State’s loss to Central Michigan never should have happened, Oklahoma State could hope the selection committee gives them a pass for one blemish on their schedule. Oklahoma State may still need some help elsewhere to move up high enough in the next two weeks, but they should very much be in the discussion for the committee moving forward, if they knock off Oklahoma in two weeks.

That will be Oklahoma State’s next game. After a bye week next week, Oklahoma State travels to Norman to play the rival Sooners on December 3. Oklahoma State won the last time they visited Memorial Stadium, with a 38-35 thriller two seasons ago.

TCU still has two games to play, including a road game at Texas on Black Friday next week. TCU will have two games to try and meet the six-win minimum for bowl eligibility.

Surprise in Stillwater! Oklahoma State upsets No. 10 West Virginia

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Oklahoma State (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) was in danger of letting a 17-point lead evaporate in the second half against No. 10 West Virginia (6-1, 3-1 Big 12), but the Cowboys held on and pulled away to hand the Mountaineers their first loss of the season, 37-20. The result may effectively put another nail in the coffin for the Big 12’s playoff hopes and also adds another ingredient to the Big 12 championship picture.

West Virginia pulled to within seven points of Oklahoma State in the fourth quarter when Skyler Howard ran 12 yards to the end zone for a score and Mike Molina kicked a short 21-yard field goal after Oklahoma State went three-and-out in between. Oklahoma State then flipped a switch to put the game away with an answering touchdown drive (Mason Rudolph to Chris Lacy) and an interception of Howard that ultimately led to a field goal by Ben Grogan for a little more breathing room. West Virginia would run out of time from there.

West Virginia committed three turnovers in the game, which led to 17 points for Oklahoma State. The two Oklahoma State touchdowns off turnovers also only had to travel a combined 17 yards, and the field goal came on a 4th and goal from the six-yard line (following a delay of game penalty). Turnovers have a way of influencing a game, and they certainly had an impact in the decision of this Big 12 tilt.

It is the first time West Virginia has taken a loss, and it may be another tough blow to the Big 12’s playoff hopes. As it stands right now, the big 12 likely needs Baylor to run the table the rest of the way, because Oklahoma already has two losses, as does Oklahoma State. One loss is not quite an official eliminator for West Virginia, and they do get two of their toughest remaining games at home (Oklahoma and Baylor), but the path to the College Football Playoff for a second straight season is getting more treacherous for the Big 12 without getting help elsewhere.

Oklahoma State now is in the Big 12 hunt, which is not a huge shock. Oklahoma State does have a head-to-head loss against Baylor, but they will play Oklahoma in the final game of the regular season. The Big 12 could potentially be on the line in that game, which should create quite a raucous atmosphere in Norman on December 3. But Oklahoma State heads to Kansas State first next week and still has Texas Tech and TCU to get through first.

West Virgina will look to bounce back next week at home against Kansas.