Offensively, the Cowboys boast the goods, seemingly regardless of who's at quarterback. And remember, they were one play (one blown call?) away from toppling Texas and joining the top of the Big 12 standings.
The defense has been a disappointment so far, yet still features the talent that projected the unit as a team strength entering the season.
“There's no concern,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said last week. “We feel really good about our players. As a coaching staff, we can only ask them to give us what they have. When they do, sometimes the scoreboard's not the real indicator of what the players did for us. We want to win them all, but we're certainly proud of their effort and we're encouraged with where we are right now.”
Encouraged, but not satisfied. Not by a long shot.
The Big 12 shapes up as a wild ride that could take a toll on any and every team. A two-loss champion is possible, if not probable.
That's the good news for OSU.
And the bad news, too, with parity creating toss-ups across the conference most Saturdays.
The Pokes can still climb back into conference contention. But this three-week stretch offers opportunity to find some traction and momentum.
After this, OSU plays three of its final five games on the road — at No. 6 Kansas State, No. 13 Oklahoma and Baylor. And one of the home dates is against No. 5 West Virginia.
So winning the next three weekends becomes critical, or the contention conversation will quickly shift toward chatter that hasn't as much as created a care since something like 2007.
Simply becoming bowl eligible.