It's a wide-open race, but the good news is four (or more) players vying for the No. 2 spot are talented if inexperienced. Juniors Jeremy Broadway and DeMarcus Connor, and sophomores Artrell Woods and Damian Davis all could be significant players in the passing game, along with a few others. This is where William Cole will be missed.
Truthfully, Brandon Pettigrew is the team's second-best receiving option, but because of his blocking skills, he'll be kept out of several passing plays to provide extra protection for quarterback Zac Robinson. Still, Pettigrew should improve on his total of 35 receptions from last year.
Which is a bigger key to success: defensive improvement or Zac Robinson's health?
Robinson's health is deeply important, but for the Cowboys to do better than their 7-6 mark of the last two seasons, the defense must play better. And should Robinson get hurt, defensive improvement becomes more important, because the defense will be asked to keep the Cowboys in the game with a young quarterback running the show.
Remember, Robinson was young and inexperienced when he took over for Bobby Reid last year, so all is not lost if he goes down this season. OSU has enough talent on the offensive line, as well as the running back and receiver positions, to take pressure off the backup quarterback.
Be sure to watch OSU football with Scott Wright, our weekly video show about the Cowboys every Tuesday on NewsOK.com as well as the Bedlam Nation Conversation every Friday at NewsOK.com.