Can OSU build to a national title in 2012?
But can the Cowboys build off that and win a national title in 2012? Doing so without transcendent stars like Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon would surprise plenty of folks around the nation, but OSU is one of the "20 teams that can win it all" that we're profiling at ESPN.com before the 2012 season.
Why could OSU win the title?
The biggest reason will be its running game.
With Weeden, Blackmon and the quick-paced offense getting the attention last season, it could have slipped past some observers that Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith combined for 1,862 yards and 33 touchdowns. Randle, very quietly, had 1,216 of the yards and 24 of the touchdowns.
And what about that terrible defense? It's not so terrible.
The Cowboys still allowed only 26.8 points a game, which certainly doesn't correlate to that yardage figure. Aiding that, in particular, was its nation-leading 44 takeaways that created a lot of short fields for Weeden and the offense. The Pokes were eighth in the country in average starting field position, their own 36-yard line. [Quarterback Wes] Lunt assuredly would appreciate that sort of help in his first season.
As for the biggest reason why Oklahoma State won't win the national title? That's easy.
Ever remember a freshman quarterback being named the starter in the spring, two months after he enrolled? It's highly uncommon -- and that's because of the knowledge and aptitude required to play the position at a high level in a major conference.
With that in mind, there's always the possibility that Lunt will fall flat, even if he winds up being successful in the long run. It might be too much to ask, simply put. That might even rear its head before the season begins.
Good stuff there from colleague Travis Haney, who offered a nice breakdown of the Cowboys. There will be plenty more as the season approaches, but check out the full piece for a lot more on the reigning Big 12 champs.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.