The Cowboys and head coach Mike Gundy are coming off of the best season in school history after winning 12 games. This was all done with two spectacular players, both of whom are now in the NFL. Brandon Weeden led the Cowboys surgically against Big 12 defenses, and with Justin Blackmon running routes it was almost impossible for Weeden NOT to be successful.
This year the Cowboys will be relying on Junior quarterback Clint Chelf to replace Weeden, which won’t be an easy task. Chelf did see some action last season, most of it in mop up duty, but he did go 14 of 21 for 206 yards and 2 TDs against Kansas. While I know it was Kansas, it does show that Chelf has the potential to perform on the field. Chelf won’t have to do all of the work though, Junior running back Joseph Randle is back. Randle rushed for 1200 yards and 24 TDs last season, helping propel the Cowboys offense to that number 3 overall ranking. The Cowboys are returning two senior wide receivers, Isaiah Anderson and Tracy Moore, but obviously neither of them is Justin Blackmon.
Why Oklahoma State should be ranked higher:
There aren’t many reasons the Cowboys should be ranked higher unless quarterback Clint Chelf turns out to be the next Brandon Weeden.
Why Oklahoma State shouldn’t be ranked higher:
Facing Texas, Kansas State away, West Virginia, and Oklahoma away wouldn’t be an easy task for any defense. The Cowboys ranked 107th in total defense last season and they are returning 8 of those starters. Will they improve?
Returning Starters: 5 Offense / 8 Defense
Best games: Texas, TCU, at Kansas State, West Virginia, at Oklahoma
2011 Total Offense: 3rd
2011 Total Defense: 107th
2011 Turnover margin: 1st
Championship odds: 30/1
Projected record: 8 – 4
Update: I suffered from one of those moments that all writers suffer from at one point or another. I completely overlooked Wes Lunt being named the starter for the Cowboys back in April. However, I don’t think that a true freshman will be able to lead the Cowboys to a higher ranking anyways, so they stay at 22.