After notching big wins in a unique college football bowl season, these 10 teams are primed to make a sizeable leap moving forward.
On the heels of an unprecedented college football regular season, it stands to reason that the college football bowl season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. From countless bowl games ultimately being canceled to the limited number of fans to what felt like an exorbitant number of players opting out of the bowl games, it was a wild ride with only the National Championship Game remaining to be played.
But even in the midst of such a unique bowl season, a win in a bowl game can be something that allows a college football program to take a big step forward. In some cases, it’s a win that establishes position for a new coach. In others, a win was a sign of things to come. And, of course, there are other factors in play as well.
While Alabama and Ohio State winning their College Football Playoff semifinal matchups are huge wins, there aren’t substantial steps for those programs to take given where they already are. For the following 10 teams, however, a big bowl win could allow the program to take a nice leap forward moving into 2021.
College football team ready to make a leap No. 10: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Bowl Result: Def. Miami 37-34 in Cheez-It Bowl
Coming into the 2020 college football season, it would’ve been an odd thing to say that Mike Gundy‘s Oklahoma State Cowboys would be ready to take a step forward following bowl season given what they’re losing. Not only are Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace headed for the NFL but several members of a great defense are on their way out as well.
However, that’s why the Cheez-It Bowl win over the Miami Hurricanes was such a substantially positive sign for the Cowboys. With Hubbard out of the lineup, among others, for the Pokes in the game against a team that only had two losses in the ACC this season and they still were able to come out with a win in a relative shootout.
The biggest positive sign for Oklahoma State in the win was the performances of quarterback Spencer Sanders and wide receiver Brennan Presley. Sanders went 27-for-40 with 305 yards and four touchdowns while also leading the team with 45 rushing yards while Presley led the way with six receptions for 118 yards and three scores.
Oklahoma State’s offensive leaders from the game will be back in Stillwater for the 2021 season and, if they can build off this type of performance, the Cowboys could be another dangerous offensive group under Gundy’s watch. So even with substantial losses, the bowl win breeds some optimism moving forward.