BCS Rankings: 10 Reasons Why Oklahoma State Might Be the Best One-Loss Team
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have been a huge surprise nation wide this season. After losing Dez Bryant and Zac Robinson, the Cowboys were expected to have relapse season, as they rebuilt and let their youth gain experience.
Many believed the Cowboys would struggle and be dead lost in the Big 12, as they brought in a new offensive coordinator, had a new starting quarterback, a new starting line, and a thin and inexperienced secondary.
The Cowboys however, have sprung onto the scene as one of the most explosive offensive teams in the country. Averaging more than 500 yards and 45 points a game, the Cowboys have jumped out to an 8-1 start and have claimed first place in the Big 12 South.
But are the Cowboys the best one loss team in the country right now? Who knows...but here are ten reasons why they might be.
10: Mike Gundy And Dana Holgorsen
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After struggling to put up points toward the end of the 2009 season, head coach Mike Gundy relinquished control of his Big 12 leading rush offense to pass guru Dana Holgorsen.
Holgorsen had helped Houston become the best offensive team in the country that season and beat the Cowboys early in the season.
The Cowboys learned quickly, and brought in Holgorsen to help revamp an offense that was already filled with new faces and he hasn't disappointed.
Holgorsen has made the Cowboys one of the best offensive teams in the country and one of the best passing teams in the country, without moving away from the running game.
With an All American running back like Kendall Hunter, why would he want too?
So with a solid balance of pass and run, the Cowboys have become the second best offense in the country only behind the top ranked and undefeated Oregon Ducks.
9: The Loss To Nebraska
Before Homecoming week in Stillwater, Oklahoma the Cowboys had rolled relatively easily. Even managed to win in Lubbock for the first time in 66 years to jump out to a 6-0 start.
And they challenges that had presented themselves to the Cowboys earlier in the season against Troy and Texas A&M were not ones made by their opponent, but self inflicted ones.
Turnovers could have sunk the Cowboys against both teams, but the young Cowboys proved to be resilient and fought back for come from behind victories.
But the loss to Nebraska was an eye opener for the Cowboys. After playing so well defensively against Texas Tech the week before, the Cowboys came out with a porous effort and allowed freshman Taylor Martinez to torch the Cowboy secondary for a Nebraska school record.
The Cowboys showed they could score on anyone, putting up 41 points on a Nebraska defense that hadn't let a team score more than 21 points in 14 games.
But when you allow a team to score 51 one points, and most of those points come from their weakest offensive ability, you know something has to change.
The past two weeks, the Cowboy defense has come to play. Causing turnovers and holding teams to three and out. Then against a similar mobile quarterback in Baylor's Robert Griffin, the Cowboys contained him to the pocket and didn't allow him into the open field while putting pressure on him as well.
If the Cowboys manage to win out, they might get a rematch against Nebraska, and they won't let that one slip away twice.
8: The Fall Of
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With teams like Texas falling to the Big 12's cellar, Oklahoma being inconsistent on the road, Alabama becoming human, and Florida falling from grace, the college football has lost the "Elite" team for the season.
For Oklahoma State, that falls into their advantage after winning their 8th game and being ranked 10th by the BCS.
The Cowboys are a program that is still being built, but with this season going the way it is, it could prove that they have finally turned the corner.
Head coach Mike Gundy has spent his career as head coaching career at Oklahoma State steadily building the Cowboys into a team and steadily improving his depth and record.
Well now, the Cowboys are on pace to have a 10 win season heading into Bedlam, and a chance to make a statement against Oklahoma.
If the Cowboys were to win the Big 12, they would have effectively made themselves into an "Elite" football team to fear for the future.
7: Brandon Weeden
I realize most of you would think junior quarterback Brandon Weeden should be higher up on this list and the gun slinger's ability is vital to there success but he's not as high up as you may think.
Weeden has thrived in the new offense this season as a first time starter. The former Yankee's prospect has thrown the ball around for 2,986 yards and 26 touchdowns while having a 160.50 passer rating.
Admittedly it helps to have receivers like Justin Blackmon on your team but what also makes this surprising is he's done this well without last seasons star receiver Hubert Anyiam whose had injury problems this season.
But a plethora of receivers have stepped up like John Cooper, Clint Chelf, Bo Bowling, and Michael Harrison.
For the Cowboys to continue to exploit their opponents secondary, they'll need Weeden to continue slinging the ball around the field effectively.
6: The Offensive Line
With five new starters on an offensive line, not many people believed the Cowboys would have had this much success.
But since opening week, the Cowboys line have steadily improved as the holes for Kendall Hunter and Joseph Randle have opened and the seems for pass rushers has closed to protect Weeden.
The Cowboys will need their line to hold steady and keep improving as Texas and Oklahoma remain on the schedule both have solid and highly talented players on defense.
If the Cowboys want to crash the BCS and win the Big 12 guys like Lane Taylor, Jonathan Rush, and Parker Graham to continue to grow on the run. The rest of the seasons success depends on them.
5: Markelle Martin and Johnny Thomas
The Cowboys already have a thin and inexperienced secondary, but they do have two super talented players playing safety. Juniors Markelle Martin and Johnny Thomas are the strong points of and the leaders of the secondary.
Martin has been a known as a hard hitter throughout his career but has suddenly started to show off some of his potential in coverage.
Thomas however has been the play maker lately in the coverage game, making two key interceptions the past two weeks against Kansas State and Baylor.
For the Cowboys to continue improving on defense enough to at least slow people down, it will fall on the leadership abilities of Martin and Thomas.
Both are extremely talented and athletic players, but that won't be enough. In order for them to really obtain their potential, they'll need to step up as vocal leaders.
4: Orie Lemon
Senior linebacker Orie Lemon was supposed to be the best out of the 2009 seniors Andre Sexton and Patrick Lavine, but thanks to a torn ACL, his senior year was postponed and defensive coordinator Bill Young couldn't be happier.
Lemon is one of the most athletic players in the country, possessing both speed, strength, and size with a good mixture of eyes and hands.
He's basically been the "Superman" of the Cowboy defense this season, being all over the field every chance he gets.
He's made big play after big play this season and has been the only Cowboy to consistently tackle people as the youth and inexperience has hurt the Cowboys fundamentally at times.
But with only one more chance to finally beat Texas and Oklahoma in his career, there is little doubt that Lemon won't kick it up a notch and play at an even higher level.
He's got three games (possibly five with a chance at the Big 12 Championship game and a bowl game) in a Cowboy uniform and this is his time to make a statement and possibly lead the surprising Cowboys to their best season in school history.
3: Receiving Corps
Junior Brandon Weeden, head coach Mike Gundy, and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen all must've been thrilled after playing Kansas State without star receiver Justin Blackmon.
Why do you ask? Well, because the rest of the receiving corps stepped up when they needed them too and has put faith into Weeden that he doesn't solely have to rely on Blackmon.
Junior Josh Cooper, seniors Bo Bowling and Clint Chelf, freshman Michael Harrison, and sophomore Tracy Moore all became reliable targets.
Cooper and Bowling have become regulars in Weeden's arsenal alongside Blackmon and will continue to be consistent as the Cowboys go down the home stretch of the season.
2: Kendall Hunter
All American Kendall Hunter has thrived in a offense that relies heavily on the passing game. That shouldn't be surprising though, since Hunter has good hands and is highly explosive.
Rushing for 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns, Hunter has made the Cowboy offense a balanced one this season.
Last season was a bust for Hunter having suffered a severe ankle injury, but in 2008 against Texas and Oklahoma Hunter had come to play.
The Cowboys leaned heavily on Hunter against Texas in 2008, being one of the only players that season to run for over 100 yards against the Longhorns.
This is Hunter's senior season and even though he's not the main vocal point of the offense he'll still be the go to guy when the Cowboys need to make a play down the stretch of the season.
1: Justin Blackmon
Last but certainly not least, Justin Blackmon. There hasn't been a receiver in the nation that has put up the numbers like Blackmon.
Blackmon leads the country in receiving yards and has 15 touchdowns this season. Thats year after not even being a main target for Zac Robinson.
Blackmon has played eight games this season and has had over 100 yards in every game. He's been Weeden's main target from the get go and has certainly played at a level that no one ever expected out of him.
With junior Hubert Anyiam having an injury ravaged season, Blackmon has had all the spotlight he could ever want. He's out played one of the nations top corner backs in the Cowboys loss to Nebraska and has made spectacular play after play after play.
If the Cowboys are indeed the best one loss team in the country, they have Blackmon to thank for it. If if wasn't for him, Weeden wouldn't have that go to target in the red zone and the Cowboy offense wouldn't be nearly as explosive.
The Cowboys once again have one of the nations top trio's. But without a doubt, they have the nations best receiver, and up to this point no one has showed that they could contain Blackmon.