2013 Record: 10-3 (7-2)
Bowl Result: 31-41 Loss vs. Missouri
Offensive Returning Starters: 5
Defensive Returning Starters: 4
Reasons to be Optimistic
Oklahoma State was just one win away from claiming the Big 12 title last season and perhaps the new level of high expectations will work into the Cowboy's advantage both mentally and with how they conduct themselves on and off the field.
Even though the offense loses starting QB Clint Chelf I actually think the Cowboys will be better at the QB position this season with JW Walsh. For those who don't remember Walsh was the starting QB in the first half of last season and he was putting up better numbers per game than Chelf. With the QB competition going on during the 2013 season I think the Cowboy's coaching staff pulled Walsh from the starting job a bit prematurely. Walsh is a more dynamic QB than Chelf and he bring a dangerous element to the run game which should be a positive for the offense.
Oklahoma State returns just 5 starters on offense, but I think this unit will be better in 2014 than they were in 2013. Top RB Desmond Roland returns along with two veteran tackles. There are also some nice weapons at receiver with Josh Stewart who caught 60 passes last season and JUCO transfer Tyreek Hill who has track star speed. Hill impressed in Spring ball and he will be used in a similar way to what Tavon Austin was in West Virginia.
Solid defensive starters Jimmy Bean on the D-line and Travis Cross in the secondary return, but that is about it in terms of proven defensive commodities.
Reasons to be Pessimistic
The interior O-line will be filled with young inexperienced players. With a QB like Walsh who has been known to make some mistakes may be forced into making poor decisions if he has weak protection up front.
The defense will be in almost complete rebuild mode after departing with 7 starters and 13 guys that were in the defensive depth chart last season. The defense quietly propped up Oklahoma State last season and without that safety blanket it could be tougher consistently picking up wins in 2014.
Prediction: I like the offensive potential this squad has and with Walsh not having to look over his shoulder he can finally play with some more confidence on the field. Walsh is a playmaker and if he stays healthy this will likely be a top 10 offense in the FBS. Huge question marks on the defensive side of the ball will likely hold this group back from being Big 12 champs.
Record: 9-3 (7-2)