Oklahoma State football: A look at Big 12 teams that could challenge favorite Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State is the popular pick to win its second conference title in three seasons, but five other teams could be equipped to challenge the Cowboys.
by Gina Mizell Published: May 26, 2013

Oklahoma

Who's gone: QB Landry Jones, S Tony Jefferson, WR Kenny Stills, S Javon Harris

Who's back: CB Aaron Colvin, RB Damien Williams, FB Trey Millard, WR Jalen Saunders, LB Corey Nelson

Why they'll win the Big 12: The Sooners' switch to an offense that utilizes a more mobile quarterback should benefit projected starter Blake Bell. And he's got a slew of offensive playmakers returning, with Williams, Millard and Brennan Clay in the backfield and Saunders and Sterling Sheperd at receiver.

Why they won't: OU struggled so much at times on defense last season that switched to a scheme that used seven defensive backs and no linebackers. That was an experiment coordinator Mike Stoops has admitted backfired. But the Sooners also lack depth on the defensive line.

Baylor

Who's gone: QB Nick Florence, WR Terrance Williams

Who's back: RB Lache Seastrunk, LB Eddie Lackey, DE Chris McAlister, WR Tevin Reese, LB Bryce Hager

Why they'll win the Big 12: Art Briles recently mentioned that “tradition” is now one of Baylor's biggest strengths. Could it be? The Bears lost Heisman winner Robert Griffin III at quarterback and first-round NFL Draft pick Kendall Wright at receiver after the 2011 season and still sported one of the nation's most potent offenses in 2012. Next up at QB? Bryce Petty, who got rave reviews during the spring.

Why they won't: Even with the high praise, Petty doesn't have the game experience Florence received while stepping in for an injured Griffin in 2009. And this is a defense that ranked 119th out of 120 teams against the pass last season.

Kansas State

Who's gone: QB Collin Klein, LB Arthur Brown, DE Meshak Williams, CB Nigel Malone, WR Chris Harper

Who's back: S Ty Zimmerman, RB John Hubert, WR Tyler Lockett

Why they'll win the Big 12: It's hard to bet against coaching wizard Bill Snyder, no matter the circumstances. Don't forget the Wildcats were picked to finish sixth in the preseason Big 12 poll last season and became a national title contender in November.

Why they won't: The Wildcats simply lose too much talent in Klein, a Heisman finalist, and Brown, their defensive leader.

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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