ESPN Insider's "20 teams that can win it all" series is previewing each of the top 20 teams in Brian Fremeau's five-year program metric, with the help of ESPN's Stats & Information group (for a full explanation and links to all of the previews as they are published, click here). This is the entry for Oklahoma State.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys were extremely close, closer than any other program, to playing for last season's national championship. If not for a second-half slip-up at Iowa State, it likely would have been the Cowboys against LSU for the title -- and Alabama, the eventual champ, would have been shut out.
What now, though, that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, the revered pass-and-catch tandem, is gone? Is there any shot the Cowboys could retool on the fly to surprise the revamped Big 12 in 2012? The odds seem low, but the Pokes' recent consistency and efficiency under Mike Gundy makes them a candidate to be in the Big 12 and BCS title picture this season.
Why the Cowboys can win it all
Their freshman QB has already exceeded expectations
Gundy and coordinator Todd Monken said all spring that they were not afraid to name a freshman the starting quarterback. Still, some jaws were left agape when they did just that, thrusting Wes Lunt into the position Weeden vacated -- before Lunt had even officially graduated from high school. Let it wash over you that Oklahoma State's starting quarterback was born in October of 1993.