In preparation for the 2007 College Football season, Drinking the Forty will look at every team in the Big XII, sizing up the conference for the 2007 season.
Entering his third season, Oklahoma State looks ready to contend in the Big XII. Returning most of their starters on offense and defense, Oklahoma State is extremely talented on offense, and hopes their defense is ready to elevate their game as well.
In 2006, the Cowboys had a high octane offense that averaged 35 points a game, that led them to a 7-6 record. It was their run defense that let them down during the year as opponents were able to rack up 146 yards a game. As always their biggest challenge comes from the Big XII South opponents Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. Oklahoma State will have to improve upon their 0-4 mark against those teams in 2006.
The Cowboys offense will once again led by the electric junior quarterback, Bobby Reid. After throwing for 2200 yards and 24 touchdowns, and running for 500 yards, Reid promises to be one of the most dangerous players in the Big XII. He is not alone as he returns 6'4" senior Adarius Bowman who led the team with 60 catches and 1181 yards. He also will have back junior tight end Brandon Pettigrew (24 rec/310 yards). With Reid's dual threat capabilities, Oklahoma State is able to establish their running game, where they return two of their three-headed running attack from a year ago. Senior Dantrell Savage (820 yds) and sophomore Keith Tolston (631 yds) should continue to build on their success from a year ago. This offense averaged over 400 yards a game last season and should do exactly the same this year. Behind Bobby Reid, this offense could be one of the best units in the country.
The defense is where Oklahoma State has been let down in the past. But with 9 returning starters, this defense looks to be much improved in 2007. The secondary returns all four starters from a year ago and are lead by seniors Martel Van Zant and Donovan Woods. Also, Sophomore Andre Sexton, the team leader in tackles from a year ago, will be back in the secondary. All three linebackers return led by senior Roderick Johnson (69 tackles, 2 sacks) and sophomore Patrick Lavigne (70 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 int). The real question mark on this defense will once again be on the defensive front. The defense last year gave up a 146 yards a game, allowing teams to pound the football and keep the high-octane offense off the field. They will need to be able to come up with big stops against their top opponents, something they could not do in 2006.
The Cowboys open their season with a true test at #13 Georgia. From there, they will face a challenge at Troy in their third game before entering Big XII play against Texas Tech. While Oklahoma State will be extremely dangerous, they won't be able to contend with a difficult schedule that puts them at #13 Georgia, Troy, #25 Texas A&M, #20 Nebraska, and #8 Oklahoma. However, this team will give everyone problems and should have a good chance to knock off #4 Texas when they come to down on November 3rd.