Oklahoma State Battles Bye Weekend and Big 12 Predictions
STILLWATER -- Earlier this week I had an Oklahoma State fan come up to me with that age old joke. "There's no way we can lose this weekend, it's the bye week!" That used to be true but in the year 2020 and in the midst still of the COVID-19 pandemic the bye week can be the most dangerous and detrimental for a college football team or any sports team. We've seen Major League Baseball recover from early problems to complete a season and now the bubbled up playoffs seem to be going smooth. The bubble was the answer for the NBA and WNBA down in Orlando, Fla. and the Walt Disney World of Sports. The NFL is in kind of a struggle right now and the college football season has had it's share of postponements and cancellations.
Just this week the Cowboys have found out that the team they played last week in Kansas has their head coach, Les Miles, be the first Big 12 head coach to test positive for the coronavirus. Even more daunting is that next week's opponent Baylor has shut down football operations until Sunday due to positive tests for COVID-19 and the tracing that goes with it.
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his staff had the final practice for their team in the bye week on Thursday afternoon and following a conditioning workout and coronavirus testing on Friday morning the team is off until Sunday evening. The head coach said he won't make his players stay here in Stillwater.
"I'm just not comfortable telling them that we have to contain them here for two days when they have free time," Gundy said to me earlier this week. "I go home and see my family, I see my kids, they want to see their family. Some of them haven't seen their family since June 1. I've asked them to be very protective."
By no means did I take a formal poll, but both running back LD Brown and defensive tackle Sione Asi both said they were staying around the bubble Cowboy football has created.
"This is home, I'm not going anywhere," said Asi, who is older and married.
"I'm staying here," Brown said. "Too much on the line. I'm staying right here this weekend."
Gundy said he hopes his players will stick around and be careful, but no matter what, he wants them to be careful.
"I think some will. I think some will go and be with their family, Gundy explained. "My concern is Sunday's test and Wednesday's test of next week. There's a lot of thought that goes into that in my chair.
"If they get in a car, they have to mask up, they have to try to stay away from people, because if they get in a with somebody that ends up positive then they become a primary (tracing) if they don't," continued Gundy. "That's just the CDC, that's just the way it is. When they go home, just try to stay away from people. You can see people and all that, but you don't get up close to people for more than — the guidelines say 15 minutes, I tell them I wouldn't be up close to anybody for more than three or four. There's no reason to. Stay away from people, and you just hold your breath."
See, you can lose in the bye week in a pandemic and the opponent (COVID-19) is not one that you can see coming. You can't tackle it but you hope you can block it by doing those things Gundy and CDC recommend.
"I just hope that they'll take care of themselves," Gundy added. "They know the outcome, if they don't then they're not going to get to play. You got to try to do the best you can to protect the organization and protect the team."
As for next week and Baylor, John Werner, who covers Baylor for the Waco Tribune-Herald, said he spoke to Baylor athletics director Mack Rhoades at Baylor.
"He said that if the game had been this Saturday that by the Big 12 protocols (53 players, seven offensive linemen, four interior defensive players, and a quarterback) that they could have played," Werner said of his conversation with Rhoades. He also said, 'We are hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic that we will be able to play next Saturday with Oklahoma State,'" finished Werner.
Oklahoma State can win the bye week and still lose the opportunity to play next season.
Big 12 Predictions
Season: Record vs. Spread - 10-8 Record Straight Up - 11-7
Last Week: Record vs. Spread - 2-3 Record Straight Up - 2-3
This Week - Oct. 10, 2020
Oklahoma (-2.5) 37
#22 - Texas 34
11 a.m. on FOX - This game is a toss up. I'm confident it will be close, but not confident on who will win.
Texas Tech (+12.5) 26
@#24-Iowa State 38
2:30 p.m. on ABC - I think Iowa State is hitting a stride and improving each week and won't let the celebration over beating Oklahoma beat them this week.
Kansas State 20
@TCU (-9.5) 35
3 p.m. on FOX - With Skylar Thompson on quarterback the Cats have a chance, without it's all Duggan and the Frogs.
Last Week - Oct. 3, 2020
Baylor (-2.5) 24
@West Virginia 31
Actual score: 27-21 West Virginia
@#9-Texas (-12.5) 42
Actual score: 33-31 TCU
#17-Oklahoma State 34
@Kansas (+2.5) 6
Actual score: 47-7 Oklahoma State
Texas Tech (+2.5) 35
@Kansas State 31
Actual score: 31-20 Kansas State
#18-Oklahoma (-7.5) 28
@Iowa State 20
Actual score: 37-30 Oklahoma