2008 CFN Oklahoma State Preview
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
Posted May 9, 2008

While everyone will be gushing over other Big 12 teams in this amazing year for the conference, don't sleep on Zac Robinson and Oklahoma State. With one of the nation's best O lines and just enough of a defense to get by, the Cowboys could screw things up for the big boys. Check out the CFN Oklahoma State Preview.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Preview 2008

By Pete Fiutak

- 2008 CFN Oklahoma State Preview | 2008 OSU Offense

- 2008 OSU Defense | 2008 OSU Depth Chart
- 2007 CFN OSU Preview | 2006 CFN OSU Preview 

If HBO was doing its terrific Hard Knocks series on a college football team, this would be the one with uber-booster T. Boone Pickens and head coach Mike Gundy each worthy of a reality series, but for all the interesting storylines and all the great personalities and all the good talent involved in the bizarre stew that is Oklahoma State football, things aren't quite mixing like they should.

Head coach: Mike Gundy
4th year: 18-19
Returning Lettermen: 34
Off. 15, Def. 16, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 28
Ten Best OSU Players
1. TE Brandon Pettigrew, Sr.
2. QB Zac Robinson, Jr.
3. S/LB Andre Sexton, Jr.
4. LB Patrick Lavine, Jr.
5. OT Russell Okung, Jr.
6. OT Brady Bond, Jr.
7. CB/KR Perrish Cox, Jr.
8. WR Dez Bryant, Soph.
9. P Matt Fodge, Sr.
10. DE Derek Burton, Jr.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 Wash. St (Seattle)
Sept. 6 Houston
Sept. 13 Missouri State
Sept. 20 OPEN DATE
Sept. 27 Troy
Oct. 4 Texas A&M
Oct. 11 at Missouri
Oct. 18 Baylor
Oct. 25 at Texas
Nov. 1 Iowa State
Nov. 8 at Texas Tech
Nov. 15 at Colorado
Nov. 29 Oklahoma

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 7-

Sept. 1 at Georgia L 35-14
Sept. 8 Florida Atlantic W 42-6
Sept. 14 at Troy L 41-23
Sept. 22 Texas Tech W 49-45
Sept. 29 Sam Houston St W 39-3
Oct. 6 at Texas A&M L 24-23
Oct. 13 at Nebraska W 45-14
Oct. 20
Kansas State W 41-39
Nov. 3 Texas L 38-35
Nov. 10 Kansas L 43-28
Nov. 17 at Baylor W 52-17
Nov. 24 at Oklahoma L 49-17
Insight Bowl
Dec. 31 Indiana W 49-33

The results aren't bad. The team will go bowling every year for the foreseeable future, and there will be a few upsets here and there to get everyone excited, but this is still Oklahoma State. For all the money Pickens likes to throw at his program and for all the promise and potential, it's going to be next to impossible to ever overtake Oklahoma or Texas and be the star of the Big 12 South.

Oh sure, there might be one year here and there when everything works out the right way and the Cowboys could be the class of the division, sort of like Texas Tech might be this year, but the program has spent so much energy on getting fixed that it still needs time to prove it can be consistent.

Make no mistake about it; OSU has talent. One of the more athletic teams in the Big 12, there are tremendous measurable guys on both sides of the ball. The offense is explosive, and the defense, for all its problems, can run with anyone. But in the end, Oklahoma State still has to get over the mindset that it's Oklahoma State, and that comes with winning. Once the floodgates opened up, was there any question Texas was going to pull off the comeback in the 38-35 win over the Cowboys?

The offense will be able to score on anyone with QB Zac Robinson working behind one of the nation's most productive lines. The defense will be the issue with potential big problems against the run and a secondary that needs to prove it can hold down the nasty array of Big 12 quarterbacks. But again, the athleticism is there to move and run with anyone in the country.

Now it's time for OSU to be consistently better. The infrastructure is there thanks to Pickens' dough and efforts, and while Gundy's all-timer of a rant on the Bobby Reid situation turned out to be a fat load of beans, the program has a buzz. If the wins start coming, Oklahoma State could quickly turn into a power. Pickens won't rest until that happens.

What to look for on offense: Robinson's passing totals. Robinson threw for fewer than 200 yards in five games last year. The Georgia game doesn't really count since Reid was the starter, but OSU lost to Troy, Texas A&M and Oklahoma when Robinson struggled, and he had to run for 109 yards to overcome an 11-of-25 passing day in a close shave against Kansas State. On the flip-side, the Cowboys went 6-2 when Robinson threw for over 200 yards.

What to look for on defense: Better play from the defensive front. There wasn't a steady enough pass rush throughout last year, and it showed as the secondary got picked to shreds with star Big 12 passers getting ten days to throw. There was a better push throughout the off-season, even without former starting ends Marque Fountain and Nathan Peterson, and the tackles, helped by JUCO transfer Swanson Miller, should be stiffer against the run.

This team will be much better if… the corners can start to lock down. Opposing passers did whatever they wanted to against the Big 12's worst pass defense. Forgetting about the 646 yards and five touchdowns Texas Tech's Graham Harrell put up, the only time top quarterbacks didn't put up big numbers was when the running game dominated, like the Oklahoma game when the Sooners ran for 307 yards. An improved pass rush should help, but the secondary has to be better and it has to come up with more big plays.

The Schedule:
The non-conference schedule isn't a total breeze, but it's not exactly challenging against Washington State (in Seattle), Houston, Missouri State and Troy. As if the South schedule isn't hard enough, the Texas and Texas Tech games are on the road. Getting Iowa State from the North will help the cause, but that's offset by a road trip to Missouri and a horribly-timed date at Colorado coming in mid-November after going to Lubbock to face the loaded Red Raiders. At least there's a week off before the Bedlam battle with Oklahoma.

Best Offensive Player: Junior QB Zac Robinson. Lost in the shuffle in a league with quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Todd Reesing, Colt McCoy and Graham Harrell, Robinson somewhat quietly put up a monster season. He got better as the year went on throwing just three interceptions over the final eight games with 15 touchdown passes over the span. He also shouldered more of the rushing workload over the second half of the season, which he'll likely have to do early on this year, too.

Best Defensive Player: Junior Star Andre Sexton. There are several promising OSU defensive players ready to break out, like LB Patrick Lavine, CB Jacob Lacey, and DE Derek Burton, but it's Sexton in the hybrid Star position who should have the biggest year. Already an excellent safety, he should be able to make more plays and be more disruptive closer to the line.

Key player to a successful season: Junior LB Orie Lemon. Mostly an outside linebacker so far, Lemon beefed up a bit and will get the first look in the middle where he'll have to play big against the run early on. He'll have to hold off Justin Gent to keep the job, but if he plays up to his potential, he could be a breakout star.

The season will be a success if ... the Cowboys win ten games. That might seem like a tall order for a team with so many issues, but the first half of the schedule is a relative breeze, and there are enough winnable home games to expect nothing less than an eight win campaign. If OSU is ready to take the next step, it has to pull off some upsets over teams like Missouri and ...

Key game: Oct. 25 at Texas. Talk about your hang-ups, Oklahoma State can't seem to get past the Longhorns, even with it seems like it has the game in the bag. Texas has won ten straight in the series, including last year's stunner when Jamaal Charles ran wild in the second half. Remember, the two teams weren't always in the same conference, so you have to go back to 1944 for the last time OSU won in Austin. If the Cowboys can win all their early home games, a win over Texas would likely mean an 8-1 start.

2007 Fun Stats: 
 - Penalties: Oklahoma State 94 for 866 yards – Opponents 84 for 642 yards
 - Second quarter scoring: Oklahoma State 152 – Opponents 111
 - Average yards per carry: Oklahoma State 5.3 – Opponents 4.2