Picked as the No. 1 team in the Big 12 preseason poll, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are poised for a potentially big season in 2013.
The biggest questions surrounding this team include who will start at quarterback for the whole season and can the defense improve on last year's showing?
Here's a look at this year's Cowboys' squad.
*All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted
Tune in to the "The Program" as they break down Oklahoma State's squad and its chances to win the Big 12 in 2013.
The 2012 Oklahoma State Cowboys finished 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big 12 despite starting three different quarterbacks throughout the season.
The season started with an 84-0 rout of Savannah State, a game that drew controversy for lower level teams playing BCS teams and losing badly.
In Week 2, the Cowboys suffered their first setback with a 59-38 loss to the Arizona Wildcats. Just two games later, Oklahoma State fell to 2-2 on the season with a 41-36 loss to the Texas Longhorns.
However, a turnaround was in store for the Cowboys as they won five of their next six games, with the only loss coming to the eventual Big 12 Champion Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan.
The regular season ended on a bad note for Oklahoma State though, as they lost to Oklahoma and Baylor to finish the year at 7-5. They went on to win the Heart of Dallas Bowl 58-14 over Purdue.
Running back Joseph Randle finished first in the Big 12 in rushing yards with 1,417. He ended up being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
Offense - 7
Defense - 7
1. SR Clint Chelf, 6-1, 210
2. SO J.W. Walsh, 6-2, 205
1. SR Kye Staley, 5-10, 236
2. SO Jeremy Seaton, 6-2, 250
1. SR Jeremy Smith, 5-10, 208
2. JR Desmond Roland, 6-2, 210
1. SO Devin Davis, 6-5, 298
2. RS FR Michael Wilson, 6-6, 290
1. JR Daniel Koenig, 6-6, 310
2. JR Brandon Garrett, 6-5, 295
1. SR Brandon Webb, 6-3, 326
2. RS FR Paul Lewis, 6-3, 295
1. SR Parker Graham, 6-7, 315
2. JR Chris Grisbhy, 6-5, 315
1. JR Jake Jenkins, 6-3, 290
2. RS FR Zac Veatch, 6-4, 255
1. JR Charlie Moore, 6-2, 202
2. FR Brandon Sheperd, 6-1, 195
1. SR Tracy Moore, 6-2, 215
2. FR Jhajuan Seales, 6-2, 180
1. JR Josh Stewart, 5-10, 185
2. SO David Glidden, 5-7, 185
1. SR Blake Jackson, 6-3, 235
2. SO Austin Hays, 6-2, 185
1. SO Jimmy Bean, 6-5, 245
2. SO Trace Clark, 6-4, 240
1. JR James Castleman, 6-2, 296
2. SR Anthony Rogers, 6-3, 293
1. SR Calvin Barnett, 6-2, 300
2. SR Davidell Collins, 6-5, 275
1. SR Tyler Johnson, 6-1, 245
2. JR Sam Wren, 6-2, 255
1. SR Shaun Lewis, 5-11, 225
2. SR Joe Mitchell, 6-3, 225
1. SR Caleb Lavey, 6-3, 235
2. SO Demarcus Sherod, 6-0, 220
1. SO Ryan Simmons, 6-0, 242
2. SO Kris Catlin, 6-1, 225
1. SO Kevin Peterson, 5-11, 185
2. SO Ashton Lampkin, 5-11, 180
1. SR Shamiel Gary, 6-0, 210
2. JR Lyndell Johnson, 6-3, 215
1. SR Daytawion Lowe, 5-11, 205
2. SR Larry Stephens, 5-10, 185
1. SR Justin Gilbert, 6-0, 200
2. SO Miketavius Jones, 5-10, 175
1. JR Michael Reichenstein, 6-4, 212
2. JR Kip Smith, 6-1, 209
1. SO Bobby Stonebraker, 6-0, 165
2. JR Kip Smith, 6-1, 209
1. JR Andrew Suter, 6-2, 268
2. JR Connor Sinko, 6-3, 266
1. JR Michael Reichenstein, 6-4, 212
1. JR Josh Stewart, 5-10, 185
2. JR Charlie Moore, 6-2, 202
3. SO David Glidden, 5-7, 185
1. SR Justin Gilbert, 6-0, 200
2. SO Brandon Sheperd, 6-1, 195
(Depth chart courtesy of Oklahoma State's website)
QBs Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh
Oklahoma State has two quarterbacks on its team that threw for over 1,000 yards and won multiple games in Big 12 play last year in Chelf and Walsh.
But question marks still surround the quarterback position in Stillwater. As the old saying goes, "If you have two quarterbacks, you don't have any."
Head coach Mike Gundy is still confident in finding the right guy to start Week 1 against Mississippi State.
"We've got two young men that we feel very comfortable with, and they've worked, and they're extremely dedicated to our program," Gundy said. "They're great team players."
WR Josh Stewart
Last season, Stewart was one of the best wide receivers in the country at just a sophomore. He hauled in 101 catches for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns.
This year, he'll look to have an even more important role in the offense as Gundy tries to find a permanent answer at quarterback. Stewart was also picked as one of just two receivers on the All-Big 12 preseason team along with Eric Ward of Texas Tech.
DT Calvin Barnett
Another member of the preseason All-Big 12 team, Barnett is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line.
Last year, he racked up 30 tackles including one sack. He was also named the 2012 Defensive Newcomer of the Year in the Big 12.
Mike Gundy (Eighth Year)
Entering his eighth season as the head coach in Stillwater, Gundy has brought the Cowboys a tremendous amount of success during his tenure. He was named the 2011 Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year after taking the Cowboys to an 11-1 regular season record and a Big 12 title.
At Oklahoma State, Gundy has a 67-35 record, a BCS bowl win in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl and a 5-2 overall bowl record.
Gundy has spent most of his coaching career at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have been his only head coaching job, and he's spent a combined eight years as an assistant prior to taking the head job.
Mike Yurcich - Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks Coach
The Cowboys have a new offensive coordinator in Mike Yurcich. Although Yurcich is a virtual unknown in the FBS ranks, at Div. II Shippensburg last year his offense scored 46.8 points per game and averaged over 390 passing yards a game. Those are certainly numbers that are attractive for the no-huddle scheme that Gundy employs.
Joe Bob Clements - Defensive Line Coach
After having a great deal of success at Kansas State as the defensive ends coach, Gundy hired Clements as his defensive line coach.
Clements spent two stints at Kansas State, his alma mater, as the defensive ends coach. During his tenures, the Wildcats won two Big 12 titles.
Tim Duffie - Safeties
The new safeties coach in Stillwater, Duffie spent 2012 coaching the secondary at Wake Forest. Prior to being at Wake Forest, Duffie spent time coaching at UTEP and Colorado State. He also spent the summer of 2001 working with the Detroit Lions in a fellowship role.
Jason Ray - Receivers
Ray joins the Oklahoma State coaching staff after being the an offensive assistant at Wyoming since 2009. Ray will be one of two receivers coaches on the Cowboys staff. Ray is also a former receiver who played with the Missouri Tigers.
LB Shaun Lewis
2013 Game Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Mississippi State*
Sept. 7 @ UTSA
Sept. 14 vs. Lamar
Sept. 28 @ West Virginia
Oct. 5 vs. Kansas State
Oct. 19 vs. TCU
Oct. 26 @ Iowa State
Nov. 2 @ Texas Tech
Nov. 9 vs. Kansas
Nov. 16 @ Texas
Nov. 23 vs. Baylor
Dec. 7 vs. Oklahoma
*Neutral site game
Most Important Games:
August 31, vs. Mississippi State
The Cowboys open up the season against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, a SEC team looking to enter the ranks of the elite this year. This game will certainly be a big draw at Houston's Reliant Stadium and will be one of the most hyped games of Week 1.
If Oklahoma State can get off on the right foot against an SEC opponent, then that confidence could carry over for the rest of the season. But if they lose, it could set the Cowboys a bit.
October 5, vs. Kansas State
In the Cowboys' first home conference game of the year and just their second home game of the season, they'll host the Kansas State Wildcats, the reigning Big 12 champions. The Cowboys fell to the Wildcats last year, so they'll certainly be looking for revenge.
The last time Kansas State came into Stillwater in 2011, the game set the attendance record for Boone Pickens Stadium with 58,895 people showing up. Not even the Bedlam game later that year broke that mark.
December 7, vs. Oklahoma
The Bedlam game is always a huge one in the Big 12, and this year it could have Big 12 title implications. The Cowboys and Sooners are the top two teams in the Big 12's preseason poll. So if both teams live up to their hype, this game could determine who wins the league.
The last time Bedlam was at Stillwater, the Cowboys won their first-ever Big 12 title and the fans stormed the field.
The offense in Stillwater has been one of the most prolific units of recent memory with its no-huddle style. Last season, the Cowboys were third in the nation in points per game (45.7) and seventh in passing yards per game (331.7).
However, the Cowboys lose their best offensive weapon last year in running back Joseph Randle, who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Last year, he led the Big 12 in rushing yards with over 1,400.
This season, the best weapon will undoubtedly be wide receiver Josh Stewart. The junior wideout is one of two All-Big 12 preseason wide receivers and should give either Clint Chelf or J.W. Walsh a consistent target.
The quarterback situation in Stillwater is a huge question mark. Chelf should be the starter, but Walsh is gunning for the job as well. Both guys showed flashes of greatness last season, but being the starter for a full year is a different animal.
Now that defenses have film on these guys, they'll need to be able to make midseason adjustments to keep up production.
Another big weapon for this team is its offensive line. One of the best in the Big 12, they allowed the fewest sacks in the conference last season (12). If the Cowboys can replace Evan Epstein and Lane Taylor effectively on that line, then the job of whoever wins the quarterback race in Stillwater will be much easier.
This year's defense for Oklahoma State is loaded with playmakers on nearly every unit.
There's defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, a preseason All-Big 12 member who will anchor this year's defensive line. Barnett had 30 tackles last year and was the Big 12's Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
Then there's linebacker Shaun Lewis, another preseason All-Big 12 member and a guy who can make a huge difference on a defense that gave up over 28 points per game last season.
Finally, cornerback Justin Gilbert is a huge playmaker and should be one of the best lockdown secondary guys in the league. Gilbert also has five touchdowns on kickoff returns, which is a school record and tied for the Big 12 record.
Overall, this defense is one that needs to supplement its offense more effectively. Last year, the Cowboys scored 30 or more points in all of their losses. The defense has to step up this year if Oklahoma State wants to return to Big 12 title contention.
This unit runs a 4-3 set, which is certainly a positive with such a quality defensive line.
WR Tracy Moore
WR Tracy Moore
It's no secret that Josh Stewart is a huge receiving threat. But every passing attack needs secondary receivers to complement the top guy. And this year, that guy could be Tracy Moore.
Moore missed a good chunk of last season with an ankle injury. But over his career as a Cowboy, he's grabbed 93 balls for 1,326 yards and 12 touchdowns. If he can be a quality second option for Oklahoma State, then the passing attack continue to be a huge threat.
The Offensive Line
This unit is one of the best in the league, but they have to replace two huge players in Evan Epstein and Lane Taylor. If they can do that though, then whoever is the signal-caller for the Cowboys will have a much easier job.
Jeremy Smith, the guy pegged to replace Joseph Randle, will also have a much better time replacing the legendary back if he has a good offensive line behind him.
K Bobby Stonebraker or Kip Smith
Whoever replaces Quinn Sharp will have a huge job on their hands. Sharp was one of the best kickers in Big 12 history, ranking second in career field goal percentage (84.75 percent). Having such a quality kicker is always a huge weapon for a team. So the Cowboys will hope that Stonebraker or Smith can at least to a certain degree replicate the job that Sharp did.
Can the Cowboys find an answer at quarterback?
Last season, the Cowboys had to start Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf at quarterback. Starting three guys is never good for a team's chemistry, and it was evident in the team's struggles last season.
Now, head coach Mike Gundy has a chance to find a permanent answer at that position. Whether it's Chelf or Walsh, it will be imperative for Gundy's choice to takeoff with the job. If Gundy is forced to make a change, it could spoil the entire season.
Can the defense improve?
Last year's defense was at fault for nearly every loss the Cowboys suffered. They ranked 80th in total defense, certainly not a good mark.
But with playmakers throughout each unit of this year's defense, the Cowboys could take a step up on that side of the ball. And they'll have to if Oklahoma State wants to stay relevant in the Big 12 title discussions.
The Cowboys only have six home games this season. They go on the road for five and also have the neutral-site game against Mississippi State Week 1.
In fact, the Cowboys only play one game in Stillwater in the season's first month, and that's against Lamar.
The biggest question is, will the road games early in the season wear down the Cowboys early or will it battle-test them for a tough Big 12 season?
With a tough schedule that includes six games away from Stillwater, the Cowboys won't live up to the hype of being the top-ranked team in the Big 12 preseason poll.
Instead, they'll go 8-4 overall and 5-4 in Big 12 play. They'll start the season 4-0 with a huge win over Mississippi State. But the Cowboys will drop both their first two and last two Big 12 games to finish the season fourth in the league.
That will earn the Cowboys a trip to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Aug. 31 vs. Mississippi State - W
Sept. 7 @ UTSA - W
Sept. 14 vs. Lamar - W
Sept. 28 @ West Virginia - W
Oct. 5 vs. Kansas State - L
Oct. 19 vs. TCU - L
Oct. 26 @ Iowa State - W
Nov. 2 @ Texas Tech - W
Nov. 9 vs. Kansas - W
Nov. 16 @ Texas - W
Nov. 23 vs. Baylor - L
Dec. 7 vs. Oklahoma - L