Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who was hired by the Cowboys in 2005 as the youngest head coach in college football (38 years old at the time), enters the 2013 campaign with a veteran squad (fifteen returning starters) that is a legitimate national title contender provided they defeat Texas on November 16.
Oklahoma State Offense:
The Cowboys take the field with two very capable quarterbacks in Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, both of whom eclipsed 1,000 passing yards last season. Specifically, Chelf threw for 1,588 yards (60.4%; 15-6 ratio), while Walsh garnered 1,564 yards (66.9%; 13-3 ratio). Both quarterbacks should improve upon those numbers in 2013 due to an excellent receiving corp. that remains one of college football’s premier units. Oklahoma State had to replace three of its top four receivers in 2012, but lose only one starter this season and should put up career numbers behind seniors Blake Jackson, Charlie Moore and Tracy Moore. The Cowboys also boast a very good offensive line behind Jake Jenkins, Brandon Webb and Daniel Koenig.
Oklahoma State Defense:
While many sports bettors associate Oklahoma State with an explosive offense, defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer has assembled an excellent stop unit this season. The strength of the Oklahoma State’s defense is its defensive backs as the Cowboys return seven of their top 8 performers from last season. Kevin Peterson, Justin Gilbert, Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary compile one of the best defensive backfields in the nation. The Cowboys also boast an outstanding linebacking unit that returns four of its top six performers from 2012, including two highly-coveted transfers. With seven returning starters on this side of the ball, together with a very good coordinator in Glenn Spencer, I expect the Cowboys to have one of the best stop units in the conference this season.
While Oklahoma State finished 8-5 last season, that record is deceiving in that the Cowboys were actually +47.6 yards per game in the Big 12 (3rd best). If the Cowboys can somehow get past Texas in Austin, look for Mike Gundy’s squad to make as serious run for the National Title.