The Oklahoma State Cowboys had a solid 2012 season as they tried to rebuild after losing star players like Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. However, rebuilding time is over. This is a team that is built to win now.
It's not going to be an easy road, but this squad should be one of the early favorites to win the Big 12 and possibly play in another BCS Bowl. They are one of the few teams in a pass-happy conference that is bringing back their starting quarterback, and their depth across the board is as deep as it's ever been.
Here are the game-by-game predictions for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2013.
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy hates starting off a new season against a quality non-conference opponent because he thinks it hurts his team's chances at playing for a national title.
Unfortunately for Coach Gundy, that's exactly what the Cowboys are getting this season, as they begin the fall against an SEC foe in the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
This should be one of the more exciting Pokes openers in recent years, but they should be more than up for the task. It's going to be close. That said, the Cowboys just have too much firepower and should use their vastly superior offensive assault to take down the Bulldogs.
Oklahoma State 42, Mississippi State 35
Overall Record: 1-0 (Big 12 0-0)
This is more like what Oklahoma State fans are used to.
Obviously, playing a team like Mississippi State is going to help give your program even more credibility. However, top-tier teams still need to play a cupcake game or two to get their players ready for conference games.
UTSA isn't going to be a complete pushover; after all, they did win eight games last season. That said, the Pokes should easily win by 20-plus points. They're simply too good for their opponent, even if it is a road game.
Oklahoma State 48, UTSA 21
Overall Record: 2-0 (Big 12 0-0)
Another cupcake, another huge Oklahoma State Cowboys win.
The boys in orange should have no problems in this game. I hesitate to say it will be as big of a drubbing as last year's 84-0 destruction of Savannah State, but it could get out of hand quickly.
Lamar will probably be happy if it can keep the Pokes under 70.
Oklahoma State 63, Lamar 14
Overall Record 3-0 (Big 12 0-0)
Oklahoma State enters Big 12 play against the rebuilding West Virginia Mountaineers.
WVU was unable to hang with the Cowboys' potent offense last year when it had stud quarterback Geno Smith, and it's doubtful that it'll be any better without him.
It's possible that West Virginia could improve defensively next season if guys like Karl Joseph continue to develop, but the Mountaineers are going to struggle early in the season.
Don't be surprised if Oklahoma State makes this look like yet another cupcake game instead of a hard-fought conference tilt.
Oklahoma State 38, West Virginia 21
Overall Record 4-0 (Big 12 1-0)
The Oklahoma State Cowboys will be trying to get revenge for the 44-30 beating the Kansas State Wildcats gave them in 2012.
Oklahoma State struggled with injuries in that game, as quarterback Wes Lunt was knocked out halfway through and Clint Chelf had to come in and try to bring the team back late.
Hopefully, whoever ends up starting for the Cowboys is healthy when the Wildcats roll into town this fall. If they are, expect the Pokes to win a close one at home against a K-State team that's trying to replace a Heisman contender in Collin Klein.
Oklahoma State 35, Kansas State 28
Overal Record: 5-0 (Big 12 2-0)
If the TCU Horned Frogs are able to get back Casey Pachall this summer and reinsert him into their starting lineup with minimal difficulties, I see them as a serious Big 12 title contender.
The Horned Frogs got embarrassed by the Oklahoma State Cowboys last season in Stillwater. They held a slight lead going into halftime, only to give up 27 unanswered second-half points en route to 36-14 loss.
You can rest assured that TCU will be looking to avenge that loss, and it has a good chance to do so with OSU coming off what looks like an emotional revenge game against the Kansas State Wildcats.
It could easily go either way, but the Horned Frogs should pull out a win in this nail-biter.
TCU 38, Oklahoma State 35
Overall Record 5-1 (Big 12 2-1)
Playing the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames is always a tall order because they have one of the better home crowds in the Big 12, especially when a high-caliber opponent comes to town.
However, this is the first chance the Oklahoma State Cowboys have to avenge their 2011 road loss to the Cyclones that knocked them out of the national championship picture.
Look for the Pokes to bring their "A" game and dominate this one from the start.
Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 10
Overall Record 6-1 (Big 12 3-1)
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are going to improve under Kliff Kingsbury, their new head coach who wants to bring the "swagger" back to Lubbock.
That said, Oklahoma State just has too much firepower on offense for Tech to hang with them over four quarters. That goes double when you consider that the Raiders will be trying to replace senior quarterback Seth Doege.
Obviously, anything can happen when these two teams meet up, but Tech looks to be one or two years away from truly competing with the Big 12's elite on a consistent basis.
Oklahoma State 52, Texas Tech 35
Overall Record: 7-1 (Big 12 4-1)
If any Kansas Jayhawks fans can somehow control the weather, I'd suggest they find a way to bring another thunderstorm with them to Stillwater if they want to try to keep up with the Oklahoma State Cowboys again this year.
Barring that, there's almost no chance of the Cowboys losing this game.
Let's face it, Kansas went 1-11 last year and hasn't been any good for awhile. There's no reason to expect that to be any different in 2013.
Oklahoma State 45, Kansas 14
Overall Record: 8-1 (Big 12 5-1)
Expect this to be one of the best games of the season for the Big 12.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have won two of their last three in Austin, TX and will be looking to erase the memory of last year's controversial Longhorn victory. However, Texas has a bevy of talented running backs and could have a dynamic quarterback duo in David Ash and Tyrone Swoopes.
This contest will likely have Big 12 championships implications, and the winner could very well control their own destiny with just two games remaining. Look for this one to be tightly contested, with the eventual victory decided in the final minutes.
Texas 42, Oklahoma State 35
Overall Record 8-2 (Big 12 5-2)
Yet another game on the schedule where the Oklahoma State Cowboys will be looking to get revenge from last season's rebuilding project.
In 2012, the Cowboys looked poised to get into a decent bowl matchup, even after their overtime loss to the Oklahoma Sooners. That game dropped them to 7-4, but a win against the Baylor Bears looked doable.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen and the Pokes had to settle for the lowly Heart of Dallas Bowl against an overmatched Purdue Boilermakers squad.
The Bears do have a potential Heisman dark horse in running back Lache Seastrunk, but they also have to replace Nick Florence at quarterback. It's going to be close; however, with the Cowboys playing at home, they should pull out a victory here.
Oklahoma State 45, Baylor 38
Overall Record 9-2 (Big 12 6-2)
Other than the Red River Shootout, the annual Bedlam series between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners has become the premier rivalry game in the Big 12.
It's hard to beat the history of the Red River game, but Bedlam has produced some of the most exciting conference matchups in recent history, with last year's contest going into overtime before OU pulled out a gutsy, last-second win.
This season should be no different. Look for the game to be close throughout, with the Cowboys coming out on top on their home turf. Much like all three of Oklahoma State's last games, this one could go either way. But when it's this close, you have to go with the home team.
Oklahoma State 52, Oklahoma 45
Overall Record: 10-2 (7-2)