Pokes' chances for a CFB playoff berth

Could Oklahoma State surprise the nation and make an appearance in the College Football Playoff?

Travis Haney, our colleague at ESPN Insider, took a closer look at the Cowboys’ chances Insider today with three reasons why Mike Gundy’s program will make the playoff and three reasons why the Pokes will not make the playoff.

One reason the Cowboys could earn a playoff berth is junior-college signee Tyreek Hill, writes Haney:

“Reports from Stillwater indicate that Tyreek Hill could be a dynamic playmaker, which is why he deserves his own category here. … The objective: Get him the ball, preferably in space. Coach Mike Gundy told me he would ideally like to see Hill receive 20 touches per game at running back and receiver. "It's our job to get him going," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich told me. "We have to make sure to prepare our talent for [the opener against] Florida State.”

One of the reasons Oklahoma State could struggle to make the playoff is the Cowboys' offensive efficiency, which took a step backward in 2013, writes Haney:

“Oklahoma State was the standard for offensive efficiency in both 2011 and 2012, finishing third in the country both seasons. Due to a variety of factors, not the least of which was a continually unsettled situation at quarterback, the Cowboys dropped to 45th in yards per play in 2013 (5.91, compared to more than 7 in the previous two years). Clint Chelf stepped in and operated, more or less, as a caretaker of the offense, while an improved defense often kept OSU in games.”

It would be a major surprise if the Cowboys earn a berth in the College Football Playoff but, as Haney notes, 2014 could pay big dividends for 2015.

“In reality, this is a team that could set the table for future efforts. The FSU opener could give fans a nice (or unpleasant) gauge for how wide the gap is between elite and where the Pokes currently reside.”