2011 Oklahoma State Cowboys College Football Preview

Oklahoma State Cowboys 
2010 record:  11-2 overall, 6-2 conference
2010 Bowl Game:  36-10 win over Arizona in Alamo Bowl
2010 ATS:  10-3 
2010 O/U:  8-5
Returning starters:  12 total (7 on offense, 5 on defense)

Expectations are sky-high in Stillwater with the return of major offensive weapons

Over the month of August, our team of writers will be previewing the top teams heading into an exciting 2011 campaign.  The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are also preparing and have season-long packages readily available for clients.  Let’s take a look at a program that tallied a school-record 11 wins last year in Stillwater.

Offense

Few units in America will be more exciting that head coach Mike Gundy’s offensive side of the football.  Oklahoma State led the Big 12 Conference by scoring 44.2 points a game, which was also good enough to finish third nationally.

Four inexperienced offensive linemen, a new go-to receiver and a 27-year-old quarterback were all able to make things work.  The biggest weapon was Biletnikoff Award-winner Justin Blackmon at receiver.

Brandon Weeden was voted as the All-Big 12 first-team quarterback last year and is a grandpa in age on campus due to chasing a dream to play professional baseball out of high school.  His set a bunch of school records, including passing yards (4,277) and touchdown passes (34) for a season.

Blackmon leads a receiving core that has four starters returning with 305 career receptions.  Opposing defenses will have nightmares preparing for the talent that the Cowboys possess at this position.

Kendall Hunter has departed the backfield and sophomore Joseph Randle is expected to be the main threat on the ground.  The program has proudly had a 1,000-yard rusher for four straight years and hopes Randle or Jeremy Smith is able to keep the streak alive.

It’s important to mention that last year’s offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is now at West Virginia and a lot of pressure will fall on first-year play caller Todd Monken.

Defense

Defensive coordinator Bill Young can definitely afford to continue taking risks on this side of the ball due to an explosive offense.  It paid off in a big way last year, as the unit led the Big 12 with 34 takeaways.  The figure helped the school finish 11th nationally in turnover margin (+12).

The biggest questions heading into the season is replacing two All-Big 12 selections, which includes the departure of All-Big 12 selection Orie Lemon at middle linebacker.

The secondary doesn’t have as many questions marks as the front seven, but will have to plug a huge hole that cornerback Andrew McGee left.  Sophomore Justin Gilbert is expected to fill the vacancy.

A talented duo at safety will highlight the defense, as senior Markelle Martin and junior Johnny Thomas are big-time playmakers.

Special Teams

Junior Quinn Sharp is expected to handle both kicking and punting duties for the 2011 campaign, after being named a first-team All-Big 12 selection in averaging 46.2 yards a punt last year.

The return game is highlighted by Josh Cooper, who averaged 9.9 yards on 16 punt returns.

Against the Spread

Oklahoma State has proven to be a money-making home favorite, posting a 12-5 ATS mark the past three years.  Don’t miss out on this angle by checking the college football lines page each week.

Bet On

Lining up against Baylor is seemingly a walk in the park for this program and will try to cover a seventh-straight meeting at Boone Pickens Stadium this year.

Fade Away

Facing in-state rival Oklahoma has been a losing proposition for bettors backing the squad, as they’ve failed to beat the spread in six consecutive meetings.

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