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Oklahoma State’s place in the way-too-early Top 25 polls

Gina Mizell Published: January 14, 2013

College football season hasn’t even been over for one week, but plenty of national outlets have already given their early projections on what the preseason top 25 polls will look like.

Most include Oklahoma State, a squad that has uncertainty on its coaching staff and loses its top offensive weapon but still returns plenty of talent in 2013.

Here’s a roundup of the Cowboys’ place in these polls.

(Note: Some of these were done before running back Joseph Randle declared for the draft and defensive coordinator Bill Young was replaced by Glenn Spencer. That’s why these things are way too early.)

ESPN: 24

Comment: “If the Pokes can settle on a starting quarterback and stick with him — they rotated freshmen Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh and junior Clint Chelf throughout this past season — they’ll have a chance to improve on their 8-5 record of 2012. It still wasn’t a bad rebuilding campaign after OSU lost quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon from its record-setting offense in 2011. The Pokes lose some of the firepower they had behind the quarterbacks after running back Joseph Randle opted to leave school early for the NFL, but Jeremy Smith will be back. The Cowboys had 20 players make their first career starts this past season; only five other FBS schools had more first-time starters. That experience should pay off in 2013, when OSU plays TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma at home.”

USA Today: 19

Comment: “Why No. 19? Like TCU, the lumps a young Oklahoma State team took in 2012 will pay dividends in the fall. How far the Cowboys go depends on whether the still-young roster is ready in 2013 or still a year away. The Cowboys host Kansas State, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma.”

Athlon: 14

Comment: “Despite losing quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon to the NFL, the Cowboys averaged 45.7 points a game and won at least eight games for the fifth consecutive year in 2012. Oklahoma State’s offensive numbers are even more impressive when you consider three quarterbacks received starts this year, and the receiving corps lost Tracy Moore early in the season due to an injury. The Cowboys need to settle on a starting quarterback next year, but the offense returns one of the Big 12’s top lines and even though running back Joseph Randle is leaving for the NFL, the backfield is in good shape with Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland. The defense must replace linebacker Alex Elkins, cornerback Brodrick Brown and end Nigel Nicholas but most of the core will return intact.”

San Jose Mercury News: 13

Comment: “With 15 starters scheduled to return, OSU is the team to beat in the Big 12.”

Orlando Sentinel: 12

Comment: “The Cowboys took a slight dip from 2011 to 2012, but expect this team to be loaded with talent especially on offense. Mike Gundy used four different quarterbacks last season thanks to injuries and picking a starter will be crucial especially with a new offensive coordinator.”

Dallas Morning News: 20

Comment: “Oklahoma State: Though the OSU QB situation is just as unclear as it was a year ago, it’s certainly a spot that causes less angst among Cowboys fans. Sophomore J.W. Walsh seems like the early favorite heading into the summer (Gina’s note: I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion…at all. Chelf will be the QB1 on the first day of spring practice), but he’ll have plenty of competition from Clint Chelf and Wes Lunt, all of whom bring a totally different style to the table. Most of the receiving corps returns, including the Big 12’s top target in Josh Stewart, and though they’d certainly be better off with Joseph Randle at RB, senior Jeremy Smith can carry the load if need be.”

National Football Post: 20

Comment: None. Just rankings.

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