Spring football at Oklahoma State has been nothing but interesting.
The Cowboys have a quarterback battle that might or might not be over. They have a new offensive coordinator who is new to big-time football. They have a new defensive coordinator who has been charged with increasing the aggressiveness.
All of those storylines will be on display Saturday during the OSU spring game.
But as interesting as this spring has been, this summer is going to have its own intrigue. That's because the Cowboys are entering a phase of unprecedented expectations.
This team is going to be favored to win the Big 12.
Never before has an OSU team been given such preseason praise. Never before have the Cowboys entered a season with such high hopes.
Sure, the 2011 team had everyone buzzing. Brandon Weeden was throwing passes, and Justin Blackmon was catching them. That made for a pretty rosy outlook for the Cowboys.
But they weren't picked to win the Big 12.
They weren't even picked to finish second.
In the media poll, Oklahoma received 41 first-place votes and 428 points while Texas A&M received one first-place vote and 362 points, narrowly beating out OSU. The Cowboys got 360 points and one first-place vote in finishing third.
No way the Cowboys fall that low when the preseason poll is released in a few months.
It starts with the offense. Even though Todd Monken is gone and Mike Yurcich is here, no one expects any fall off. A system has been established, and the Cowboys are still going to score and score a bunch.
Doesn't matter who the quarterback is either.
Which is a good thing, since there seems to be some confusion about that subject.
Mike Gundy said earlier this spring that Clint “Chelf is our starter. ... I don't necessarily feel like there's a battle out there to start in the first game.” But then this week he said, “We haven't necessarily said anything about the first game of the season.”
Did you follow all that?
But I'm fairly certain it doesn't matter who trots out with the first teamers against Mississippi State. Chelf. Wes Lunt. J.W. Walsh. We've learned that regardless of who plays, the offense keeps right on going.
While the offense is sure to continue piling up points, the defense is sure to be better. Glenn Spencer takes over for Bill Young, and he's got a promising bunch to build around. Calvin Barnett. James Castleman. Daytawion Lowe. Justin Gilbert.
Combine the potential that OSU has on defense and the production that it has on offense, and the Cowboys are favorites to win the league.
Much of that is because of the Cowboys, but you can't ignore the fact that part of it is because of the competition.
OU and Texas are no longer the undisputed powerhouses of the league. Kansas State will have to replace Collin Klein. West Virginia will be replacing Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.
On and on the list goes.
TCU is the only other team besides OSU that deserves consideration for the league's top spot. The Horned Frogs have a stout defense and have welcomed back former starting quarterback Casey Pachall. He left the team last fall to seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, but this spring, he locked in a battle with returning starter Trevone Boykin.
Whoever gets the starting nod, TCU should have a good squad.
But better than OSU?
I don't see it.
The Cowboys have a great chance to win their second Big 12 title in three seasons. The roll call of programs that have done that is short. Oklahoma. Texas. Nebraska.
Win the Big 12 in the fall, and OSU would join an extremely elite group.
Add that to the list of reasons this offseason carries great expectations for the Cowboys. It will be a summer like no other for this program.
Things are about to get really interesting at OSU.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.