STILLWATER — Coming off a year in which the Cowboys had the best team in the Big 12. Picked to finish in the middle of the conference. A quarterback landscape that includes a hotshot freshman and J.W. Walsh. One side of the ball facing major issues.
This OSU football season sure looks like the 2012 OSU football season.
These Cowboys are wiped out on defense, returning just four starters, and are picked fifth in the Big 12. The 2012 Cowboys were wiped out of offensive star power. No Brandon Weeden. No Justin Blackmon. No Josh Cooper. They were picked fourth in the Big 12.
“We have some young guys that are going to have to step up and play this year,” said cornerback Kevin Peterson. “We lose guys every year; it’s just unfortunate that we lost a lot of guys this year. We have to rebuild and get our guys rolling and able to play fast.”
In 2012, the Cowboys were bushwhacked 59-38 at Arizona, then entered an injury-induced quarterback carousel. But OSU stayed in Big 12 title contention until Thanksgiving Saturday, when they fell to the Sooners in overtime at Owen Field. OSU finished a respectable 8-5.
A similar finish in 2014 would be solid for a program that seems to have reached the status of elite football every other year, sandwiched around a catch-your-breath season.
“You can go back to early in my career when I was just starting up as a head coach,” Mike Gundy said. “I don't remember the exact year since they all kind of run together, but with the turnover between last year and this year, we're pretty much back to base one. That's where we are as a football team in a number of areas.”
The Cowboys were inexperienced in spots in 2012. And it showed, at times. It will show in 2014. But the Cowboys aren’t doomed to a rebuilding season. They showed that in 2012, when they were fourth-down stops against Texas and OU from going 10-3.
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