2012 Recap: It was a transition year. It was still a Top 15 SRS year. Oklahoma State was perhaps the best 8-5 team in the country. Arizona surprised the Cowboys early. They lost a shootout against Texas, lost to 11-1 Kansas State on the road. One-score road losses to Oklahoma and to Baylor to close the season dropped them to 7-5.
Offense: Mike Yurcich arrives from D-II to coordinate the offense. Coordinator switches are never certain, but this one at least checks out on paper. Despite consistent turnover, the Cowboys have finished outside the Top Eight in yards per play just once since 2007. The quarterback battle between Chelf and Walsh continues, though both seem to be comfortable options. OSU also has plenty of paper options at receiver. There’s some concern on the line where they lose three starters, most notably four-year starter and first team all conference guard Lane Taylor.
Defense: Oklahoma State had finished second in the Big 12 in yards per play defense. That wasn’t enough to save Bill Young’s job. OSU promoted assistant Glenn Spencer from within and hopes he will provide “a little zing.” We presume “zing” means creating turnovers. In 2011, OSU led the nation with 44. In 2012, they were middle of the pack at 22. That can make a difference. Oklahoma State has good secondary, depth up front and reasonable playmakers at linebacker. They should finish near the top of the Big 12 again.
Favorable Schedule: Oklahoma State gets the five home games in the nine-game Big 12 schedule. They play TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor at home. Their one tough road trip, on paper, is away to Texas.
Ceiling: 12-0. The offense rolls right along. The turnover margin swings back in Oklahoma State’s favor.
Floor: 7-5. Coordinator turnover is unpredictable. Oklahoma State struggles through a deep Big 12.
Prediction: 11-1. OSU has the track record. They have the tools. They have an axe to grind after last year. One of the Big 12 contenders catches them, but they finish a solid Top 10 team.
25. USC Trojans 24. Miami Hurricanes 23. Northwestern Wildcats 22. Oregon State Beavers 21. Nebraska Cornhuskers 20. Texas Longhorns 19. Louisville Cardinals 18. Baylor Bears 17. Michigan Wolverines 16. TCU Horned Frogs 15. Oklahoma Sooners 14. Clemson Tigers 13. Florida State Seminoles 12. LSU Tigers 11. Boise State Broncos 10. Florida Gators