(Big 12) The Cowboys play on an artificial field (Synthetic Turf) at Boone Pickens Stadium (seats 60,218)
- Mike Gundy is in his 7th year as head coach. Their stadium is named Boone Pickens Stadium because of the donations from Billionaire
financier T. Boone Pickens who has donated $400 million to his alma mater.
- This team had an incredible 11-2 finish (which is a school record for wins in a season) last year despite the fact that they had a total of 8 starters return. This year they are in much better shape, especially on offense. In fact their biggest loss isn’t a player, but rather their coordinator.
- New offensive coordinator Todd Moniken ( most recently a wide receivers coach in the NFL) intends to keep the system in place that Dana Holgorsen implemented last year. Holgorsen is off to West Virginia as their head coach, but in his single season as OC at Oklahoma State he took the offense to another level. This team has been pretty consistently good at offense lately, but after it took a dip in 2009, it shot up to 520 yards of total offense last year, which was the 3rd best in the nation.
- Oklahoma State lost its all-time passing leader in Zac Robinson
last year and yet their passing game almost doubled from the previous year. In his first year as the starting quarterback Brandon Weeden passed for 4,277 yards with 34 touchdowns (just 13 interceptions) and an incredible 67% completion rate. Weeden is 27 years old and spent 5 years pitching in the minor league and easily adjusted to being a starter in a new system.
- This year the offensive returns all five starters on the offensive line as well as their top receiver, Justin Blackmon who had an incredible 1782 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. Those types of numbers would make him
worthy of the first pick overall in a fantasy football draft. And the only loss the offense takes is at running back. But other than their top rusher from 2010 (Kendall Hunter), all of their ground productivity must be credited to the lineman anyway. And that experienced line will make sure there are plenty of holes for their backs to run through.
- New/old defensive coordinator Bill Young returned last year for his third stint at Oklahoma State (his last time in Stillwater was in 1978) and actually helped the defense improve unlike previous coordinator Tim Beckman (head coach at Toledo) who spent two years here without any improvement.
- On defense they are much less experienced this year in the front seven (just one defensive lineman and one linebacker). And even though they have 7 of their top 8 back in the secondary, the play of the front seven can have an effect on their ability to make plays, which they are really going to need to do in 2011 to make up for the fact that they had one of the worst passing defenses in the nation last year.
- It should be fun to watch this team to see their prolific offense and look for improvements on defense. Their biggest challenges will be at Texas A&M on September 24 and at home vs Oklahoma on December 3. With no conference championship in the Big 12 this year, consider those games two rounds of the Big 12 playoff.