STILLWATER — The biggest season opener of the Mike Gundy era is quickly approaching. When Georgia invades Stillwater on Sept. 5, all the preseason hype will mean nothing. Both football programs will put 11 guys on the field, and everything will be decided between the lines. Here’s a look at five reasons why the Georgia game could impact the Cowboy’s hopes and dreams long term and five reasons it might not matter:
→Why it’s huge: It’s a statement game. This game will go a long way to proving if OSU is worthy of all the preseason hype. Georgia, ranked No. 13 in the nation, comes into Stillwater with plenty of athletes and the respect the elite SEC commands. Why it isn’t: If OSU loses, many of the Cowboys’ goals remain reachable. Even with a setback in Game 1, no more losses means Big 12 championship and a first-ever BCS berth. →Why it’s huge: Dez Bryant can emerge as a legit Heisman candidate with a big game. Bryant is one of the best, if not the best, receivers in college football. If Bryant becomes a Heisman contender, with all the attention that entails, that’s huge for the Cowboys’ program. Why it isn’t: Though this game will garner plenty of national attention, Bryant will have plenty of opportunities to put his name in the Heisman race. Especially if OSU piles up the wins as Dez piles up the touchdowns. →Why it’s huge: Momentum. Beat Georgia, and OSU could cruise to a 4-0 start with winnable games at Texas A&M, against Missouri and at Baylor to start October. Why it isn’t: Even with a loss to Georgia, OSU should be 4-1 when Missouri comes to town on Oct. 17. And the Cowboys will likely be favored to knock off the Tigers and Baylor, which would make them 6-1 for their Halloween date with Texas with Big 12 South title hopes still intact. →Why it’s huge: Setting the tone at the renovated Boone Pickens Stadium.
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