The Oklahoma State Cowboys enter the season ranked ninth in the country, highest in the school's history.
They also bring with them an offense that was ranked third in points per game last season and probably have the country's most effective offensive trio, led by senior quarterback Zac Robinson with juniors Kendall Hunter at tailback and Dez Bryant at receiver.
That's what everyone is talking about—just how good this offense can be this season and how opposing defenses are going to even attempt to slow them down.
What isn't being mentioned, though, is the fact that the Cowboy defense has a strong chance of being improved this upcoming season.
Entering the offseason, head coach Mike Gundy hired a former Cowboy alumnus to be the new defensive coordinator, a man who turned Kansas' defense around and had started to do the same thing in Miami—Bill Young.
Young has devised a simple plan for a Cowboy defense that contains both veterans and an exceptionally talented group of youngsters.
Make everything simple, precise, and effective.
The Cowboys were ranked 101st in the nation last season as they struggled in the secondary and getting pressure on the opposing quarterback.
The Cowboys now have a chance to show the country what their newfound depth, athleticism, and veteran leadership is capable of.
Seniors Patrick Lavine, Andre Sexton, Perrish Cox, and Jermiah Price have a chance to continue and finish off the rebuilding process of the Oklahoma State football program.
A solid core of linebackers and a much improved defensive line look to add considerably more pressure to quarterbacks.
The only lingering question is the play of the secondary with only one returning starter in Cox, who many believe will have a breakout season.
Who is going to join Cox is the question that many believe is the key to the season. Senior Terrance Anderson, who received significant playing time last season, is reportedly the second starter at cornerback.
Safety has been the largest concern as the Cowboys lost both starters from last season. Neither Quinton Moore nor Ricky Price was spectacular, though both were fairly solid.
A group of safeties has been projected to earn legitimate playing time this season, led by senior Lucien Antoine and sophomore Victor Johnson.
Everyone knows the Cowboy offense will play exceptionally well and continue to be one of the best in the nation. But it is their defense that has the ability to set them apart from the rest.
Should the defense not improve, the Cowboys still have a chance to finish either 10-2 or 11-1, which means finishing second or third in the Big XII South.
But even if the defense improves just enough to put them in the top 75, the Cowboys have a chance to go 12-0, potentially winning their first Big XII title and earning a shot at the national championship.
Though the chances are slim, the Cowboys have just as good of a shot as anyone else.
As we wait for the Cowboys to play their first down of the season, the questions must remain unanswered.
The college football season has begun—it's time for these young men across the country to go to work.
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