2010 Record: (11-2, 6-2 in Big 12)
Head Coach: Mike Gundy (47-29 at OSU, 25-23 in Big 12)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 Alamo Bowl (beat Arizona 36-10)
Final 2010/2011 AP Ranking: #13
Final 2010/2011 CFBZ Ranking: #13
9/3: Louisiana (2010 result: won 54-28)
9/8: Arizona (2010 result: won 36-10)
9/17: at Tulsa (2010 result: won 65-28)
9/24: at Texas A&M (2010 result: won 38-35)
10/8: Kansas (2010 result: won 48-14)
10/15: at Texas (2010 result: won 33-16)
10/22: at Missouri (2009 result: won 33-17)
10/29: Baylor (2010 result: won 55-28)
11/5: Kansas State (2010 result: won 24-14)
11/12: at Texas Tech (2010 result: won 34-17)
11/18: at Iowa State (2009 result: won 34-8)
12/3: Oklahoma (2010 result: lost 47-41)
2010 Offensive Statistics:
Scoring: 44.2 ppg (1st in Big 12, 3rd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 174.38 yds/game (4th in Big 12, 36th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 345.8 yds/game (1st in Big 12, 2nd in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 520.2 yds/game (1st in Big 12, 3rd in Nation)
2010 Defensive Statistics:
Scoring: 26.4 ppg (6th in Big 12, 61st in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 133.69 yds/game (2nd in Big 12, 37th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 275.8 yds/game (11th in Big 12, 115th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 409.5 yds/game (8th in Big 12, 88th in Nation)
2010 Misc Stats:
Turnover Margin: +0.92 per game (2nd in Big 12, 11th in Nation)
Penalties: 64.9 yds/game (10th in Big 12, 108th in Nation)
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Passing: QB Brandon Weeden, Sr (342 of 511 for 4277 yds, 34 TD, 3 INT)
Rushing: RB Joseph Randle, Soph (81 for 453 yds, 5.5 ypc, 2 TD)
Receiving: WR Justin Blackmon, Jr (111 rec for 1782 yds, 20 TD)
Tackles: CB Brodrick Brown, Jr (77)
Sacks: DE Jamie Blatnick, Sr (5.5)
Interceptions: LB Shaun Lewis, Soph; S Markelle Martin, Sr; S Johnny Thomas, Sr (3)
Athlon: Cotton Bowl (vs Arkansas)
Phil Steele: Alamo Bowl (vs Stanford)
Oklahoma State seemingly came out of nowhere last season. Everybody had them 5th or 6th in their half of the Big 12 last year. But along the way something funny happened....Texas tanked and Okie State's offense blew up. Under Dana Holgorsen the Cowboys increased their points scored by 16 points per game and improved their passing yards per game from 179 to 345. Holgorsen has moved on to West Virginia but the Cowboys will attempt to keep his style and production as they move forward this year with a new Offensive Coordinator. They return their 27 year old QB, 5 of their leading 6 receivers (including break-out star Justin Blackmon) and maybe just as importantly their entire offensive line. In all, State returns 9 starters on the offensive side of the football. Kendall Hunter will be missed but the Cowboys have a couple of young backs that should be able to combine for a pretty good year. From a schedule standpoint Oklahoma State has Arizona at home early, play at Texas A&M, at Texas, at Missouri and Oklahoma at home. This is a big year for Mike Gundy. He has quietly won nine games for three straight years and if he can do that again this year he should start to gather more respect from the media. To get an inside take on the 2011 version of the Oklahoma State Cowboys we caught up with Kyle from the Pistols Firing blog.
This season the Cowboys will be breaking in a new OC as Dana Holgersen has made the move to West Virginia. What effect do you think this will have on the team?
None. I'm tired of the media turning this non-story into a story. Some have even suggested a 3-4 win drop from last year's 11-win plateau solely because of this personnel change. That's an embarrassing misread of the situation. It's not like you have an 18-year old QB stepping in to take the reins, if that was the case then yes there would be some turmoil. But you have the most mature, calm signal caller in America running the show. In a lot of ways it's the perfect spot for a new OC to step in.
Kendall Hunter really broke out last year with 1,500+ yards rushing. Who will be stepping up to replace him this year?
Todd Monken (the new Offensive Coordinator) is dealing with a very unique trio of running backs all of whom have a dynamic skill set. You know how the Eagles used to drive you insane in your fantasy league because you didn't know whether you should draft Brian Westbrook or LeSean McCoy? That's kind of how OSU is going to be this year. Joseph Randle will be playing the role of Westbrook - catching swing passes, finding open space, and generally being involved on any and all trick plays Dana left behind in the playbook. Jeremy Smith will be McCoy - more of a true running back who is going to hammer you on third downs and run like a maniac in between the tackles. They also have a freshman named Herschel Sims who will play and could be a wild card backup if somebody goes down or isn't performing. The Oklahoma State running back situation is usually good and that won't change this year.
There will be a lot of new faces on the front seven of the defense this year. Who are some guys from that group that have to step up in order for the Cowboys to live up to expectations?
Nigel Nicholas is someone Mike Gundy has tabbed as a DT who needs to step up and make plays. And obviously when you have guys who have been in the program a long time like Richetti Jones and Jamie Blatnick you expect them to perform. Personally, I get excited about new guys like James Castleman and Maurice Hayes because the unknown is always more exciting than what you've already seen. That is, maybe one of these guys is the next Haloti Ngata and we just don't know it yet. Of course there's always the distinct possibility that OSU will continue to suck at defensive tackle and we will all want to trade Sims for an average to above average DT by October.
What is your take on the Longhorn network and are you in favor of Oklahoma State possibly jumping ship to another conference in the near (or far) future?
I've thought about this a lot, and I'm pretty sure I'm okay with the Longhorn Network. Here's the thing: football recruits are a finite resource, there are only so many of them. It's not like because Texas has the Longhorn network now they can change the NCAA rule that says you can only have 85 players on scholarship at all times. They were already getting essentially any 4-star and 5-star player they wanted and a few high school games on TV in October isn't going to change that. Like Mack Brown said, "it's not like other schools aren't allowed to start their own networks..."
I would be okay with OSU bailing on the Big 12 at any point. It was fun while it lasted but it seems like we're just delaying the inevitable at this point (be it 5 or 10 or 15 more years). I'd really like to see them in the Pac-12 or really anywhere that keeps them away from the SEC.
What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
In college football the top two tiers of teams have an opportunity to run the table every year. The top tier (Alabama, Ohio St. etc.) have the talent to overcome unlucky breaks and any losses incurred are usually just a result of pressure, a crazy road game, or an incredibly poor performance. OSU is in the second tier of teams that has to get every big break (usually 2-3 a year) to run the table. They're going to put themselves in a position to win every game, it just becomes a question of whether they get those breaks because they don't have the talent to overcome not getting them. If they get all of them they go 12-0, if not then probably 9-3. I'll split the difference and say 11-1. I don't think wins and losses will define success this year. I think if they go 9-3 and lose three games in the last five minutes, you can't call that a disappointment. Get to the fourth quarter with a chance for Weeden to close all twelve games and that's a successful season.
CFBZ Top 25
#13 Oklahoma State
2011 Team Previews