Since the 2012 season ended, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy lost prolific running back Joseph Randle to the NFL, replaced both his offensive and defensive coordinators and still hasn't named a 2013 starting quarterback.
Despite all that, the Cowboys enter their 2013 campaign facing unprecedented preseason expectations. Oklahoma State was picked atop the Big 12 Conference's preseason media poll — released Thursday — for the first time.
OSU was picked first on 15 of the 43 ballots submitted; five other teams also received first-place votes, illustrating the league's expected wide-open nature in 2013.
Oklahoma, receiving eight first-place votes, came in second place in the poll. The Sooners were followed by third-place TCU (nine first-place votes) and Texas (eight first-place votes).
Oklahoma State won its first Big 12 championship — and its first outright league title — in 2011, when the Cowboys finished 12-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl with superstar quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Before that season, though, OSU was picked third in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Before Thursday's poll, Oklahoma State's best preseason voting came in 1998, when it was picked second in the Big 12's South division.
Here's a closer look at each Big 12 team, ranked in order of Thursday's poll results.
1. OKLAHOMA STATE
Last year's record: 8-5 (5-4 Big 12)
Returning starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)
Analysis: Cowboys' offense includes dynamic receivers Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore, three returning starters on the offensive line and two capable quarterbacks in Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh. On defense, OSU returns several veterans, plus an SEC-caliber defensive tackle in Calvin Barnett.
Last year's record: 10-3 (8-1 Big 12)
Returning starters: 11 (7 offense, 4 defense)
Analysis: If Oklahoma's offensive line stays healthy and Blake Bell performs well at quarterback, the Sooner offense should be in good shape. OU's defense, on the other hand, enters the season with all kinds of question marks. Who will step up on the inexperienced defensive line? Will linebackers resume a bigger role? Will Aaron Colvin have any help in the secondary?
Last year's record: 7-6 (4-5 Big 12)
Returning starters: 16 (7 offense, 9 defense)