Big 12 Power Rankings: Little Separation At the Top

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Dec 1, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy watches his team prepare to face the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Cowboys 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Last Season: 8-5 (5-4)

Key Player Person: Glenn Spencer

Key Word: Turnovers


Oklahoma State is the favorite to win it all in the Big 12 this season, and they may find themselves in the national title game if the computers allow it.

The Cowboys have a tremendous offense that should continue to hum along even with the dual quarterback approach Mike Gundy plans to take this season. Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh are each good enough to be the full-time starter, but Gundy plans to use them each on a matchup basis.

Both proved last year they can win games and move the ball efficiently. Walsh nearly set a major college football level record for pass efficiency for a freshman. The quarterback situation in Stillwater is fine no matter who is under center.

What the Cowboys need is for their defense to produce more turnovers. Bill Young led the defense to a number ranking in the Big 12 for fewest yards per play last season, but the defense couldn’t produce enough big plays, and allowed a ton of points in critical games. As a result, Young was fired and Glenn Spencer was promoted to defensive coordinator.

Spencer will rely on a very talented interior defensive line to wreak havoc in the backfield and for senior Justin Gilbert to have a bounce-back season at cornerback to be the backbone of the Cowboys defense. The rest of OSU’s starting secondary is young but talented. Having stability from Gilbert and the defensive line will be key for Oklahoma State if they want to produce more turnovers.