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1. Past success predicts future success
Change is the watchword in the Big 12, which, along with its six-program conference realignment turnover, has seen five different conference champions in five years. But for college football as a whole, the best predictors of this year's outcomes are last year's outcomes. If you've been good, you'll probably be good again, and vice versa.
And few teams have been as consistently good in recent years as Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have won 9+ games in five of the last six seasons (and it took three tight losses to prevent it in the other season) and have finished in the top 16 of the F/+ rankings in five as well. The 'Pokes were an unlikely overtime loss in Ames away from a spot in the BCS Championship in 2011; they lost some of their greatest players ever and still finished 12th and eighth in F/+ the next two years. Mike Gundy has replaced assistants, quarterbacks, and award winners and has kept right on winning.
So why do we doubt the Cowboys in 2014?
OSU returns an experienced quarterback, its leading rusher, three 200-yard receivers, six offensive linemen with starting experience, most of a strong defensive line, and, perhaps as importantly, both coordinators. They still have T. Boone money. They were one of the best teams in the country after November 1 last year.
But even those who aren't predicting Oklahoma to run away with the conference are mentioning contenders like Baylor and Kansas State. The team with 41 wins in four years is a total sleeper.
Mind you, it makes some sense. The quarterback who was in charge during the late breakthrough (Clint Chelf) is gone. So are three of the top four receivers from a balanced corps. And three starting offensive linemen. And two stalwarts at linebacker. Oh, and the top five defensive backs, guys who had been longtime contributors. There are reasons to doubt, and I haven't even gotten to the cruel November slate yet.
But if track records do matter -- and outside of this silly conference, they typically do -- then OSU should have a role to play in the title race, just as it has for most of the past half-decade. The Cowboys get the benefit of the doubt until they prove they don't deserve it.
2013 Schedule & Results
|Record: 10-3 | Adj. Record: 12-1 | Final F/+ Rk: 8|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Adj. Score||Adj. W-L||5-gm Adj. Avg.|
|31-Aug||vs. Mississippi State||33||21-3||W||35.3 - 14.4||W|
|7-Sep||UTSA||67||56-35||W||47.9 - 29.6||W|
|14-Sep||Lamar||N/A||59-3||W||25.6 - 17.9||W|
|28-Sep||at West Virginia||76||21-30||L||19.0 - 18.0||W|
|5-Oct||Kansas State||24||33-29||W||29.5 - 19.0||W||11.6|
|19-Oct||TCU||44||24-10||W||33.6 - 21.2||W||9.9|
|26-Oct||at Iowa State||78||58-27||W||27.9 - 23.5||W||7.2|
|2-Nov||at Texas Tech||43||52-34||W||32.3 - 27.4||W||6.6|
|9-Nov||Kansas||101||42-6||W||22.9 - 24.3||L||6.2|
|16-Nov||at Texas||35||38-13||W||33.2 - 26.0||W||5.5|
|23-Nov||Baylor||7||49-17||W||56.6 - 16.6||W||11.0|
|7-Dec||Oklahoma||20||24-33||L||32.5 - 21.4||W||12.4|
|3-Jan||vs. Missouri||14||31-41||L||31.1 - 19.2||W||13.8|
|Points Per Game||39.1||14||21.6||19|
|Adj. Points Per Game||32.9||35||21.4||14|
2. Peaking at the right time
Granted, I might be singing a different tune right now had October OSU not turned into November OSU. Like their in-state counterparts to the south, the Cowboys went from good to very good late in the season, and they almost snared their second conference title in three years because of it.
- Adj. Points Per Game (first 9 games): OSU 30.4, Opponent 22.0 (plus-8.4)
- Adj. Points Per Game (last 4 games): OSU 38.4, Opponent 20.8 (plus-17.6)
Through nine games, OSU was 8-1, but that was due as much to scheduling as anything else. The 'Pokes beat another late-peaking team, Mississippi State, in the season opener, survived Kansas State (before the Wildcats also began to peak), and looked solid in road wins over Iowa State and Texas Tech.
But they had more than a few shaky moments. Clint Chelf, the starting quarterback to begin the season, looked so bad against Mississippi State that he was subbed out before halftime. And the OSU offense looked so awful against West Virginia (two fumbles, two interceptions, a 43 percent completion rate, a miserable 6-for-20 on third downs) that it was hard to shake the impression that game made, even as the Cowboys were winning in Ames and Lubbock.
Beginning on November 16, though, impressions changed. OSU went to Austin to face a Texas team that had won six games in a row and thumped the 'Horns by 25. Then Baylor came to town for a Saturday night showdown. The banged-up Bears were undefeated and legitimate national title contenders; they left Stillwater the victims of a 32-point thrashing. OSU stumbled deep in the fourth quarter of losses to both Oklahoma (which cost them the Big 12) and Missouri (which cost them the Cotton Bowl), but the Cowboys of late-2013 were not the Cowboys of late-September.
Their great late form gave them an F/+ ranking of eighth, their second-best under Gundy (behind 2011's No. 3 finish).
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||45.5%||38||Succ. Rt. +||110.9||26|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||26.9||13||Def. FP+||107.4||6|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||4.7||31||Redzone S&P+||118.4||15|
|Q1 Rk||35||1st Down Rk||49|
|Q2 Rk||43||2nd Down Rk||30|
|Q3 Rk||51||3rd Down Rk||28|
Note: players in bold below are 2014 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|J.W. Walsh||6'2, 205||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)||113||190||1333||9||5||59.5%||4||2.1%||6.8|
|Daxx Garman||6'2, 205||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)|
|Mason Rudolph||6'4, 217||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)|
3. Talent vs. system
2013 OSU switched offenses ...
2013 OSU switched offenses ...
A year ago, when offensive coordinator Todd Monken left to take the head coaching job at Southern Miss, Mike Gundy made waves by replacing him with unknown Shippensburg O.C. Mike Yurcich. He discovered Yurcich by scouring stats on the Internet, then handed over the reins of one of the nation's most consistently strong offenses.
Yurcich's first year was not without its growing pains. His pass-first system was more well-suited for Clint Chelf, but when Chelf looked lost (3-for-6 for 11 yards) against Mississippi State, he was demoted. The nimble J.W. Walsh replaced him and had some exciting moments -- 13 carries for 125 yards against Mississippi State, 24-for-38 for 245 yards against Kansas State -- but when the then-sophomore threw two first-half picks against TCU, Chelf entered and looked just steady enough to regain the starting role.
Chelf thrived late in 2013, but he's gone, leaving the job (for now) back in the hands of Walsh. This doesn't appear to be a perfect match of personnel with system, but Walsh does have his strengths. He wasn't as successfully aggressive as Chelf in 2013, but he still completed 60 percent of his passes, and with Walsh behind center, the run game gets a bit more interesting. Chelf was a well-timed scrambler, but Walsh is more of an every-down run threat. With Walsh and returning running backs Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs, the run game has potential.
Still, a 60-percent completion rate with only 11.8 yards per completion is sub-optimal for a pass-first attack. And OSU's most efficient receiver, Josh Stewart, is now in the pros. (Well, sort of; he injured his Achilles while trying out for the Tennessee Titans.) We'll see what a full offseason does, both for Walsh's comfortability in Yurcich's system and for Yurcich's play-calling tendencies.
|Desmond Roland||RB||6'2, 210||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||176||811||13||4.6||5.2||33.0%|
|J.W. Walsh||QB||6'2, 205||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)||54||304||3||5.6||3.5||55.6%|
|Rennie Childs||RB||5'10, 205||So.||3 stars (5.5)||41||189||1||4.6||5.7||31.7%|
|Caleb Muncrief||RB||5'8, 190||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||6||18||0||3.0||0.5||16.7%|
|Corion Webster||RB||5'11, 208||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Tyreek Hill||RB/WR||5'10, 185||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)|
|Devon Thomas||RB||5'11, 210||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Jhajuan Seales||WR||6'2, 198||So.||2 stars (5.4)||61||39||535||63.9%||13.6%||53.7%||8.8||61||8.3||75.7|
|Marcell Ateman||WR||6'4, 210||So.||4 stars (5.8)||38||22||276||57.9%||8.5%||50.0%||7.3||-5||5.8||39.1|
|Brandon Sheperd||WR||6'1, 195||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||30||14||223||46.7%||6.7%||77.3%||7.4||21||5.8||31.6|
|David Glidden||IR||5'7, 185||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||23||15||173||65.2%||5.1%||35.0%||7.5||-7||7.4||24.5|
|Desmond Roland||RB||6'2, 210||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||14||9||116||64.3%||3.1%||50.0%||8.3||7||6.4||16.4|
|Jeremy Seaton||FB||6'2, 250||Jr.||NR||8||6||56||75.0%||1.8%||57.1%||7.0||-11||7.3||7.9|
|C.J. Curry||WR||6'2, 205||So.||4 stars (5.8)||2||1||10||50.0%||0.4%||N/A||5.0||-4||0.0||1.4|
|Blake Webb||IR||5'11, 190||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||2||2||26||100.0%||0.4%||N/A||13.0||6||0.0||3.7|
|Austin Hays||IR||6'2, 185||So.||2 stars (5.2)|
|Blake Jarwin||TE||6'5, 240||So.||NR|
|Ra'Shaad Samples||IR||5'11, 178||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)|
|Keenen Brown||WR||6'3, 205||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)|
|Jordan Frazier||TE||6'5, 242||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)|
4. The kids could be pretty damn good
Oklahoma State must replace four of its steadiest, most well-known skill position players in 2014: running back Jeremy Smith and wideouts Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore, and Charlie Moore. Three of the four played roles in OSU's 2011 Big 12 title, and all four were steady and relatively dependable.
But on a per-touch basis, all four were replaceable. Smith was a powerful between-the-tackles option, but so are Des Roland and Rennie Childs. Meanwhile, Stewart, Moore, and Moore all averaged between 7.9 and 8.6 yards per target -- above average but not spectacular.
The top four returning receivers combined to catch 90 passes with a per-target average of 7.9 yards, so the cupboard isn't exactly bare (benefits to passing a lot: you can lose three prolific receivers and still return three or four more). And a trio of youngsters provided quite a bit of hope. Jhajuan Seales caught 13 passes for 197 yards and two scores in OSU's four-game surge to finish the season; plus, he caught four for 87 yards against Kansas State. Marcell Ateman caught five passes for 107 yards in the KU-UT-BU portion of the schedule. Brandon Sheperd caught four passes for 73 yards against UTSA, then caught five for 99 yards in the last three games.
Granted, these three need to improve their efficiency numbers -- Ateman and Sheperd combined for just a 53 percent catch rate. But Seales, Ateman and Sheperd, with help from David Glidden, could very much reproduce the numbers of last year's top receivers. And if four-star redshirt freshman or electric JUCO transfer Tyreek Hill* can offer something of value, this receiving corps could trump last year's despite the relative inexperience.
* Electric? Yes, electric. The guy can, and probably will, line up everywhere.
|Parker Graham||RG||31||1st All-Big 12|
|Daniel Koenig||RT||6'6, 300||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||22|
|Chris Grisbhy||LG||6'5, 325||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||9|
|Brandon Garrett||LT||6'5, 295||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||3|
|Devin Davis||LT||6'5, 312||So.||3 stars (5.7)||2|
|Zac Veatch||RG||6'4, 290||So.||3 stars (5.6)||1|
|Paul Lewis||RG||6'3, 295||So.||3 stars (5.5)||1|
|Colby Hegwood||RG||6'5, 320||Jr.||NR||0|
|Michael Wilson||LT||6'6, 300||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0|
|Zachary Crabtree||RT||6'7, 290||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Jack Kurzu||OL||6'4, 305||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Jaxon Salinas||C||6'4, 305||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)|
|Zachary Hargrove||LG||6'2, 356||Jr.||NR|
5. A new era up front
I have absolutely no idea what to expect from Oklahoma State's offensive line. For years, I assumed extreme quality from this unit, simply because it was coached by Joe Wickline. OSU would lose four starters, and its line stats would continue to thrive simply because Wickline's really good at his job. But after falling to 50th in Adj. Line Yards in 2012, a banged-up line fell to 81st in 2013. The sack rates stayed strong, in part because of the quick-passing nature of the offense, but for the second straight year, OSU stunk in short-yardage situations, and the Stuff Rate (run stops behind the line) was horrendous last fall.
Thanks to injuries, by the end of 2013, 10 linemen had started at least one career game. Six of them return, including two-year starting tackle Daniel Koenig and tackles Brandon Garrett and Devin Davis, who are both coming off of injuries. But all-conference guard Parker Graham is gone, as is Wickline, now the offensive coordinator at Texas.
Gundy, never scared of making a non-traditional hire, replaced him with Bob Connelly (no relation), a journeyman and former line coach at Arizona State, UTEP, UCLA, Alabama, Washington State, San Jose State, CS-Northridge, and Texas A&M-Commerce who spent 2013 as a high school assistant.
It wouldn't be difficult to surpass last season's run blocking numbers, but with a new, relatively unknown coach and some mix-and-match experience, there's just no telling what to expect here.
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||35.9%||11||Succ. Rt. +||114.3||18|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||33.0||12||Off. FP+||105.5||9|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||3.3||5||Redzone S&P+||113.0||23|
|Q1 Rk||19||1st Down Rk||40|
|Q2 Rk||19||2nd Down Rk||8|
|Q3 Rk||7||3rd Down Rk||11|
6. Year 1 of the Glenn Spencer experiment: a rousing success
The offense eventually picked up steam under Yurcich, but it took a while. The defense, on the other hand, started off strong under new coordinator Glenn Spencer, then got even better. I was a bit skeptical of Spencer's use of the word "aggressive" last year, but his tweaks helped OSU improve from 24th in Def. F/+ to sixth.
This was a unique, exciting defense. OSU's front seven was excellent against the run; the Cowboys ranked 11th in Adj. Line Yards, sixth in Stuff Rate, and 17th in Rushing S&P+. But they didn't have much pass-rush presence, often choosing to rush just four defenders, drop linebackers into coverage, and press cornerbacks with reckless abandon. The result: you couldn't run on OSU on standard downs, and you couldn't pass on OSU on passing downs.
Returnees up front suggest that OSU's run defense might again be stout in 2014, but Spencer will probably face a couple of new challenges this fall. First of all, the obvious: linebackers Caleb Lavey and Shaun Lewis (combined: 20.5 tackles for loss, 15 passes defensed) are gone. So are the top five tacklers from last year's well-seasoned secondary, including top-10 draft pick Justin Gilbert (14 passes defensed) and stalwart safeties Daytawion Lowe, Lyndell Johnson, and Shamiel Gary (combined: eight tackles for loss, 21 passes defensed). That's a lot of play-making going out the door at once.
Plus, OSU was quite lucky when it comes to injuries in 2013. The top seven linemen played in all 13 games, as did the top four linebackers and five of the top six defensive backs. Luck is random, and OSU could be super-healthy once again, but the odds of that aren't great. Attrition will test depth in 2014, and injuries could test it even further.
|Rivals||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|James Castleman||DT||6'2, 300||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||13||29.0||3.6%||5.0||1.0||0||1||1||0|
|Jimmy Bean||DE||6'5, 250||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||13||27.5||3.4%||10.0||5.0||0||0||0||0|
|Emmanuel Ogbah||DE||6'4, 270||So.||3 stars (5.6)||13||18.0||2.2%||5.5||4.0||0||0||0||0|
|Sam Wren||DE||6'2, 255||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||13||15.5||1.9%||2.5||0.5||0||0||1||0|
|Trace Clark||DE||6'4, 255||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||13||7.5||0.9%||2.5||0.0||0||1||0||0|
|Ofa Hautau||DT||6'2, 290||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||12||7.0||0.9%||2.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Eric Davis||DT||6'3, 290||So.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Vincent Taylor||DT||6'3, 290||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Ben Hughes||DT||6'3, 310||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Vili Leveni||DT||6'3, 270||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)|
|Jordan Braliford||DE||6'3, 225||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Jarrell Owens||DE||6'3, 240||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Trey Carter||DE||6'4, 250||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
7. Options up front
Eight OSU linemen finished the season with at least 2.0 tackles for loss, and six return in 2014. The pass rush could stand to improve, and it might do just that if sophomore Emmanuel Ogbah and junior Jimmy Bean continue to develop; four of their nine sacks came in the last four games.
But OSU's success against the run should continue even despite the loss of Lavey and Lewis, especially if junior Kris Catlin or four-star sophomore Seth Jacobs can pretty quickly start making some plays. There might be a twinge of worry at tackle, where OSU got away with basically playing two guys (James Castleman and Calvin Barnett) for a high percentage of snaps, and where the 'Pokes must replace one of the two. But I still like what I see here.
|Rivals||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Ryan Simmons||MLB||6'0, 235||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||13||58.0||7.2%||9.0||1.0||1||2||0||0|
|Kris Catlin||WLB||6'1, 225||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||11||11.0||1.4%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Seth Jacobs||WLB||6'2, 220||So.||4 stars (5.8)||6||9.0||1.1%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Dominic Ramacher||MLB||6'3, 230||So.||3 stars (5.7)||12||4.5||0.6%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
| Demarcus Sherod
|MLB||6'0, 225||So.||3 stars (5.7)||12||6.0||0.7%||1.5||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Devante Averette||WLB||6'0, 235||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Gyasi Akem||LB||6'1, 210||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)|
|Josh Mabin||LB||6'2, 227||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Rivals||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Ashton Lampkin||CB||5'11, 180||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||13||21.5||2.7%||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Kevin Peterson||CB||5'11, 185||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||12||20.5||2.5%||3||0||2||4||0||0|
| Larry Stephens
|FS||5'10, 185||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||13||13.5||1.7%||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Miketavius Jones||CB||5'10, 175||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||13||13.0||1.6%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jordan Sterns||FS||6'1, 195||So.||3 stars (5.5)||12||10.5||1.3%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Deric Robertson||SS||6'2, 195||So.||3 stars (5.7)||8||3.5||0.4%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jerel Morrow||FS||6'0, 180||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)|
|Darius Curry||CB||6'1, 190||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Taylor Lewis||CB||6'0, 180||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Tre Flowers||SS||6'3, 180||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)|
| Josh Furman
|NB||6'2, 202||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||8||9.5||1.3%||0.0||0.0||0||1||0||0|
|D'Nerius Antoine||NB||6'0, 230||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)|
|Kirk Tucker||DB||6'2, 190||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
|Chris Hardeman||DB||5'9, 178||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)|
8. A smoking crater in the back (maybe)
Depth in the secondary has long been a strength for Gundy's OSU defenses. We'll find out just how much of a strength it may be this fall after attrition skimmed off the entire 2013 first string.
Part of the Cowboys' success in 2013 came from stopping the run and forcing passing downs, and that might again be a strength. But what happens on said passing downs? Will new starting cornerbacks pull off the same level of successful pressing? Will a green set of safeties be able to prevent big plays at a similar rate? Probably not.
Granted, this defense isn't completely inexperienced. Corners Kevin Peterson, Ashton Lampkin, and Miketavius Jones all saw action last year as sophomores, and Peterson showed some extreme play-making potential (three tackles for loss, six passes defensed). Plus, knowing this level of attrition was coming, Gundy went DB-heavy in the 2013 recruiting class, and it is probably a safe assumption that at least one redshirt freshman will be ready for extensive playing time. Throw in senior safety Larry Stephens (who missed 2013), sophomores Jordan Sterns and Deric Robertson, Michigan transfer Josh Furman, and a couple of decent true freshmen, and you should have a competent starting four/five in the back.
The problem is that last year's secondary was far beyond competent. There will be regression here; we're just waiting to see how much.
|Kip Smith||6'1, 235||Sr.||79||39.6||7||30||24||68.4%|
|Kip Smith||6'1, 235||Sr.||90||60.0||21||2||23.3%|
|Ben Grogan||6'1, 186||So.||67-68||9-13||69.2%||2-5||40.0%|
|Desmond Roland||KR||6'2, 210||Sr.||7||22.1||0|
|David Glidden||PR||5'7, 185||Jr.||5||1.2||0|
|Special Teams F/+||85|
|Field Goal Efficiency||118|
|Punt Return Efficiency||38|
|Kick Return Efficiency||7|
|Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency||63|
9. Some questions to answer on special teams
For the first time since 2007, Oklahoma State actually had a shaky special teams unit last fall. After ranking in the top 10 in each of the last three seasons, the Cowboys fell to 85th in Special Teams F/+. They were, as always, dangerous in the return game, but place-kicker Ben Grogan was quite shaky, and the coverage unit didn't help out punter Kip Smith very much.
Grogan and Smith are back, but return men Justin Gilbert (kicks) and Josh Stewart (punts) are not. Was last year an aberration here, or are more struggles on the way in 2014?
2014 Schedule & Projection Factors
|30-Aug||vs. Florida State||1|
|1-Nov||at Kansas State||41|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||25.9% (7)|
|Two-Year Recruiting Rk||28|
|TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin*||15 / 10.6|
|Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.)||7 (4, 3)|
10. A top-20 team goes 8-4 or 9-3
It is kind of a specialty of mine to call a team underrated, then mention how tough the schedule is. It is my go-to hedge. That said ...
... Oklahoma State is going to be better than you think in 2014, and it might not matter. Because holy crap, that schedule is brutal. At least, it is at the front and back. Instead of Mississippi State, OSU begins the season on a neutral field against the defending national champions. And instead of getting Baylor and Oklahoma at home to finish the regular season, the 'Pokes will finish with trips to Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma among their final four games.
A top-20 team would likely go 8-4 against this schedule, with losses to FSU, Oklahoma, Baylor, and either Kansas State or TCU. I fully expect OSU to play at a top-20 level once again, but this schedule certainly tamps down expectations.
So in the end, this perhaps becomes another 2012, in which new pieces are broken in and suffer a few growing pains before breaking through the next season. With this home-road split in the Big 12 rotation, the odd-numbered years should continue to be very good for OSU, but this is an even-numbered year, one in which the Cowboys are probably replacing a few too many defenders to steal big road wins.Follow @SBNationCFBFollow @SBNRecruiting