So the Cowboys lost Zac Robinson and Russell Okung and 16 starters overall, prompting national analysts to pick Oklahoma State to lag well behind in the Big 12 South.
Cowboys fans stand confident their program has arrived, predicting another successful season for their squad in The Oklahoman's annual poll of 100 fans.
OSU supporters see their Pokes going bowling again, with a majority suggesting a San Antonio holiday is in order at the Alamo Bowl. A few, 3 percent, are aiming highest: the BCS Championship game.
OSU followers are more split on the trend of playing weeknight games.
The Cowboys will play on Thursday (Texas A&M) and Friday (Louisiana-Lafayette) this season. Those in favor, 49 percent, point to the increased television exposure. Those against, 36 percent, think college football belongs on Saturday.
Arkansas and TCU top the list of teams preferred if the Big 12 expands. Most Cowboys fans, 58 percent, are happy to still be in the Big 12, although 42 percent preferred the near-move to the Pac-16.
Kendall Hunter is the top choice as OSU's best player and favorite player.
The toughest game: at Texas on Nov. 13
And Cowboys fans mostly embrace pushing the Bedlam game back into December, should the Big 12 prefer to remain relevant in December in the absence of a conference title game.
Q. Did you prefer the idea of a move to a Pac-16, or are you happy to remain in the Big 12?
Big 12 (58 percent)
Pac-10 (42 percent)
"I like the Big 12, but I think that we have put a Band-Aid on a wound. At some point the conference will have to expand or it will get swallowed up. Next time, Oklahoma State may not be in as good of a position." &msdash; Eric Woodworth, Edmond
"In the long run, you have more big cities, more fans. You've got five or six of the biggest markets in the nation in the Pac-16." — Mike Gray, Perkins
"To be honest, I can't see leaving a Cadillac for a Volkswagen. Who plays for a national championship every year? Usually a Big 12 team." — Brian Johnson, Oklahoma City
"The Pac 16. I'm scared to death of what happens when Boone dies." — Brett Thompson, Edmond
Q. What teams would you like to see added if the Big 12 opts to expand?
Arkansas (40 percent)
TCU (22 percent)
Houston (6 percent)
BYU (6 percent)
LSU (5 percent)
Tulsa (3 percent)
Air Force (2 percent)
Arizona (2 percent)
Arizona State (2 percent)
Nebraska (2 percent)
Colorado (2 percent)
Other (4 percent)
"I would add Air Force Academy because it brings not only a Colorado market but also a limited national market among those who serve or have connection with the Air Force." — Hiram Sasser, McKinney, Texas
"Arkansas, for sure. That's such a natural fit. It's nice easy drive, it would be great. The other, I don't know, maybe a team like TCU or Houston. I'd hate to have another Texas team, but it makes sense." — Lisa Jansen, Ponca City
"Arkansas and Tulsa. That will start to get rid of the Texas-dominant feeling to have a couple of natural rivals like that." — Mitch Bloom, Stillwater
Q. Who's the best player on this Cowboys team?
Kendall Hunter (65 percent)
Orie Lemon (13 percent)
Brandon Weeden (12 percent)
Markelle Martin (4 percent)
Ugo Chinasa (4 percent)
Cooper Bassett (1 percent)
Quinn Sharp (1 percent)
"Throughout the years, he's our star."
Toby Chadrick, Tuttle
"Hopefully going to be Weeden, leading the pack."
Bill McAngus, Pauls Valley
"Bill Young's saying that Orie Lemon's going to be taking people's heads off. And Bill Young knows how to evaluate talent."
Mark Loveless, Guthrie
Q. Who's your favorite player on this Cowboys team?
Kendall Hunter (41 percent)
Brandon Weeden (16 percent)
Orie Lemon (14 percent)
Tracy Moore (4 percent)
Markelle Martin (3 percent)
Cooper Bassett (3 percent)
Ugo Chinasa (2 percent)
Kyle Staley (2 percent)
Justin Blackmon (2 percent)
Josh Cooper (2 percent)
TBD (2 percent)
Other (9 percent)
"I love Kendall Hunter's abilities as well as his soft-spoken attitude. Just let the game do the talking." — Chris Anderson, Jenks
"I like the leadership qualities of Brandon Weeden. It's good to see your quarterback with a strong head on his shoulders." — Brady Thomason, Muskogee
"Ugo, baby! He's going to dominate." — Marcia Anders, Stillwater
"I like Ugo Chinasa. Or maybe I just like saying, 'UGO!!'" — Todd Jamison, Norman
Q. What bowl game will the Cowboys play in?
Alamo Bowl (46 percent)
Cotton Bowl (18 percent)
Holiday Bowl (9 percent)
Pinstripe Bowl (5 percent)
Insight Bowl (5 percent)
BCS bowl (6 percent)
BCS Championship (3 percent)
Independence (3 percent)
Texas (2 percent)
Sun (2 percent)
None (1 percent)
"Pinstripe Bowl. It's kind of exciting to think about New York over the holidays. You can stay for New Year's, yeah, that's not bad." — Carlos Navarro, Oklahoma City
"Holiday Bowl would be pretty cool. I just hope it's not the Texas Bowl. There's no honor in going there." — Alexis Simms, Perry
"I liked going to the Cotton Bowl. It wasn't a good game, but it's easy to travel to. That seems to be the big thing." — Nathan Paul, Tulsa
Q. Which game on OSU's schedule is toughest?
Texas (72 percent)
OU (22 percent)
Texas A&M (4 percent)
Nebraska (2 percent)
"Texas. The rivalry is with OU, but Texas is really the best team. That's who you have to be beat." — Alex Hilden, Guthrie
"OU. Sooners are always enemy No. 1." — Stephanie Watts, Clinton
"Texas A&M. We've only got three games before we hit that one. That really could be our biggest hurdle. If we get over that..." — Derrick Wilson, Perry
Q. How do you feel about the scheduling of games on Thursday and Friday?
For it (49 percent)
Against it (34 percent)
Prefer Saturday, but... (8 percent)
If road games (4 percent)
Thursday, no Friday (3 percent)
If we're ranked high (2 percent)
"I am absolutely for the scheduling of games on Thursday and Friday. Those who aren't are thinking of their own interests rather than the program's. OSU is closer to gaining ground on OU and UT than they have ever been before. They need to use each and every advantage they have to close the gap further. When you have the opportunity to be one of only two teams playing on national television on a given night, you have to take it." — Michael Perez, Tulsa
"College football should be on a Saturday. Thursday and Friday is for high school and let the college kids have their day Saturday." — James Bishop, Tulsa
"Saturdays and day games, not evenings. I have to have a baby sitter." — Amanda Crawford, Stillwater
"I don't care what day they schedule it on. I'm a season-ticket holder. I'm going to be here." —
Cherie Vergeron, Owasso
Q. In the absence of a Big 12 title game, how do feel about moving the Bedlam game into December?
OK with it (57 percent)
Love Thanksgiving (34 percent)
Any time, bring it on! (9 percent)
"It will be awfully cold. But any time they play the Bedlam game, it doesn't matter. I love to watch it." — Billy Soles, Wellington, Kan.
"(Bedlam is) the whole purpose of Thanksgiving. It's why we eat. It used to be about pilgrims, but now it's about that." — Carolyn LaBrue, Enid
"To me, it's a little different. Closer to a bowl. Not as long of a layoff." — Omari Long, Edmond