The preseason Big-12 rankings have OSU at fifth! Also, no OSU players made the all-Big-12 preseason team. OSU can't be that bad...can they? Either others are underestimating OSU or overestimating everyone else in the Big-12 South. If they are right, OSU is in for a bad year. Let's look at Oklahoma State football and how they have a chance to be pretty good.
Core Players Gone
The team lost most all of its core (QB Zac Robinson, RB Keith Toston, WR Dez Bryant, OT Russell Okung, LB Andre Sexton, DB Perrish Cox...etc) so no one really knows what to expect. Fair enough.
New Offense, New Wizard
Dana Holgorsen was behind Texas Tech's "Air Raid" offense. He brought it to Houston in 2008 and they became one of the best offenses in the country (No. 1 in yards and scoring in 2009).
No problem at QB
Weeden will be good. Usually, an average QB can't just take over "someone else's game" (especially when they were as awful as Alex Cate was) and dominate like Weeden did in the second half against Colorado. He was on the spot. A lot of good QB's would have sucked in that situation, but Weeden excelled making clutch throws.
Yes it is was lowly CU, but being able to bring any team out of the doldrums and into victory is a great sign. That is something Zac Robinson struggled with. Add to that the rave reviews Weeden has received from new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen (who said his arm and accuracy are better than his two previous QBs, Graham Harrell and Case Keenum).
No problem at RB
Hunter is great, but he was injured last year. He is one of the best in the Big-12 and in the country. There is less depth at RB, but RB isn't as critical in the new offense.
Question mark at WR
Anyiam was really good last year. He should be the dominant No. 1 this year. There is supposed to be a six-WR rotation (Holgorsen's offense). WRs like Moore, Cooper, and Blackmon will be able to take the experience they got last year and step it up (Dez's stats were mediocre his freshman year). Each WR will have less pressure to carry the team.
The offense requires speed, correct routes, and making the (usually) wide-open catch. Thats how the offense works (if it works). I think this group will make a name for itself as a whole, but Anyiam may be the only star of the group.
Looks like OSU has nothing to speak of at TE. Look for tons of four-WR sets.
The O-line lost three starters. It won't be able to open up the big running lanes which it used to (when Totson or Hunter or just about anyone could go in and gain over five yards a carry). This is not as critical in the new offense, but the O-line will at least have to protect Weeden. This could be the downfall of OSU.
In 2009, Bill Young joined OSU and the defense was the best it has been at OSU for many years. The defense lost a few starters, but should be able to have a similarly successful 2010.
This is a team of young guys who make up some of the best classes of recruits OSU has had to date. Weeden should be able to move the ball a la "Air Raid" at times. OSU will win some games: all four out-of-conference games should be wins. OSU will have several tough games (A&M, Baylor, TT, KSU) and a couple "seemingly impossible" games (OU, UT, NU). OSU should win between five and nine games, barring a fall apart or breakout season.
This is a young team which should benefit from the 10-team conference in future years (ISU, KU, KSU every year!), but this looks to be a rebuilding year. Pickens will be probably be asking for a new coach by December. He doesn't understand how rare it is for any team to get the quantity of elite talent that just departed OSU—Dez Bryant, Zac Robinson, Russell Okung, Andre Sexton, Perrish Cox, etc.—and how hard it is to replace that much in one year.
If OSU can get some young guys to make the big leap, it could be a good year for Oklahoma State after all.