The old man is on the spot.
Only 26, still a young married man and yet to discover the beauties of onesies and sippy cups, in the world of college athletics Brandon Weeden qualifies as a geezer.
And as the summer spun toward his first season as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback, Weeden was constantly reminded of his advanced age.
At the Big 12 Media Days in Arlington, reporters weren't nearly as interested in Weeden's arm or his knowledge of press coverage as they were that one identifying number: not his jersey No. 3, but his birth certificate-confirming 26.
"I got asked about that hundreds of times," Weeden said.
And birthday No. 27 is due Oct. 14, so maybe a rocking chair for the locker room is on the gift list.
Just mark your calendars and iPhone apps now for the reminder, as Weeden's age isn't likely to be such a hot topic by mid-October.
By then, Weeden will be marked by his play.
What should we expect? Hard to say, as much for the inexperienced cast surrounding him as his own unproven resume as a college quarterback.
But while Weeden has lived a little and already experienced some special sports moments — he's already had his New York Yankees job — you get the sense that this chance to lead the Cowboys means everything.
"I'm excited about it," Weeden said. "I really am. There's a lot of pressure that comes with it, but I can't think about that stuff. I've just got to work on what I can control out here.
"Still, being around all the students, it's nice walking to class and hearing, 'Hey, good luck next week.' I'm like, 'Man, next week.'"
Weeden's time has arrived. And it's right on time for the Cowboys.
With a kiddie corps roster that features 15 freshmen and eight sophomores and a still-developing new offense, the Pokes need a guy with some grizzle to lead them.
Of course, he's got to perform. And he knows it.
"It's going to be fun," Weeden said. "It's a privilege to be in the situation I'm in. I feel fortunate to be where I'm at. Words really can't describe it."
Weeden needed no words a year ago. His age was irrelevant. So was his status.
He was just another guy walking across campus, until he rescued OSU from disaster against Colorado, engineering a second-half comeback with Zac Robinson out and Alex Cate crumbling.
In just one half of work, he stoked hope among fans and formed a face for 2011.
How times have changed since.
The rap on Weeden then, one even he confirmed, was that he didn't engage himself in preparation.
"If you're the third guy," Weeden said, "you know you're not playing."
He knows now. Everybody knows.
They even know his age.
The old man is on the spot.
"I don't think it's really set in yet," Weeden said. "Maybe Thursday or Friday, before I say, 'Gollee, we're playing. It's on.'"
Breaking down Washington State
Location: Pullman, Wash.
Conference: Pac 10
Last year's record: 1-11
Best player: LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis. The Cougars' leading tackler in 2009, Hoffman-Ellis had 84 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss. The junior has moved from middle linebacker to outside linebacker this season to better utilize his speed.
Why they could win: Washington State enters the season with excitement. The Cougars hope 2010 will be the season when they begin having success under coach Paul Wulff. And there are plenty of unknowns with the Cowboys heading into their first game of 2010.
Why they could lose: OSU has better talent and is at home. And the Cowboys have the element of surprise on their side because nobody has seen Dana Holgorsen's offense featuring Kendall Hunter and Brandon Weeden.
Noteworthy: Washington State ranked 115 or lower (out of 120 FBS schools) in nine major statistical categories in 2009, including last in total defense (512 yards per game) and No. 119 in total offense (248.58 ypg). ... The Cougars have won three games in the past two seasons combined. ... Washington State's last road win was a 42-35 win over Washington on Nov. 24, 2007.
By Brandon Chatmon