2012-13 Football Previews (Big 12) – OSU Cowboys
For the past few seasons, the Sooners haven’t been the only team from the state of Oklahoma to be in the national picture. Under head coach Mike Gundy and offensive co-ordinator Dana Holgorsen (who left in 2011) the Cowboys of Oklahoma State have ridden tremendous offensive firepower to the BCS landscape.
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Big 12 2012-13 Football Previews: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Head Coach: Mike Gundy
2011 Record: 12-1
Oklahoma State Gambling Odds from Sportsbook.com to win BCS: 100-1
This year, however, OSU loses its star QB, Brandon Weeden, to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and also loses its top two wideouts from 2011. There will be some adversity, no doubt, but the Cowboys will be flying under the radar in 2012 – and with the big boy Sooners down the Interstate, that might just be where the Cowboys like to be.
The biggest need for damage control will be the replacement of Weeden. He threw for a ridiculous 4,727 yards last season, to go with 37 TDs. When also factoring in the departure of stud WR Justin Blackmon, there will clearly be a drop-off in production. Freshman Wes Lunt, junior Clint Chelf and redshirt frosh J.W. Walsh could all see some time under center to fill Weeden’s big shoes.
The heart of the offense will be RB Joseph Randle. The Cowboys were much more than just a passing offense last season, as was evidenced by Randle’s 1,216 rush yards and 24 TDs. He finished with first-team All-Big 12 honors and should continue to dominate as an upperclassman. The wideout crop does return a pair of seniors in Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson. Moore was third on the team in receiving last season. The interior of Oklahoma State’s offensive line is also welded together with three senior starters, including excellent OG Lane Taylor.
Defensively, OSU returns the bulk of its starters, and those it doesn’t are replaced by talented former junior college players. Look for LB Shaun Lewis and CB Brodrick Brown to have especially strong campaigns. The front seven loses an eight-sack man in Jamie Blatnick, so someone must step up on the D-line and replace his production.
Perhaps one of the most talented pieces on the roster is special teamer Quinn Sharp. The senior will handle the kicking and punting duties and is a legitimate All-American.
Oklahoma State Football Prediction: 9-4
There’s no doubt that the lost starters on offense will be felt on some level, but this is a team that has learned how to win consistently. The Cowboys can probably plug new players into the effective offensive scheme and still have a reasonable amount of success. Holgorsen really set a dynamic offense in place before he bolted for the West Virginia head coaching position. The scores of returning players on defense also bode well for OSU; particularly because the Cowboys can employ a “bend but don’t break” style of execution with the team’s offense being so potent.
The Cowboys have a tricky road game at Arizona on Sept. 8, then face Texas on Sept. 29 and finish with a tough slate; drawing West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor to finish out the year. The challenges on the slate will be plenty, but if one of Lunt, Chelf or Walsh can command the offense anything like Weeden did, Oklahoma State should snag nine or even 10 wins in 2012.
2012 OSU Schedule
9/1/12 7:00 PM ET SAVST
9/8/12 TBD @ARZ
9/15/12 TBD ULLAF
9/29/12 TBD TEXAS
10/13/12 TBD @KANS
10/20/12 TBD IOWST
10/27/12 TBD TCU
11/3/12 TBD @KANST
11/10/12 TBD WVIRG
11/17/12 TBD TXTCH
11/24/12 TBD @OKLA
12/1/12 TBD @BAY