Fill in the blanks...
________ has much of its nucleus from 2011 intact. The defense, the strength of which is a veteran linebacking corps, could be the most effective that the __________ have fielded in recent years. Though the exciting ___________ and ______________ are gone, the offense features an experienced line...as well as playmakers in running backs ___________ and ____________.
Could be Oklahoma State, right?
Well, according to Sports Illustrated's CFB Top 25 Preview, this is Oregon.
The Ducks get a nod at #4 in SI's CFB preseason rankings. Oklahoma State doesn't even make the top 25.
Oregon lost its starting QB and RB. Who are these playmaking RB's SI speaks of?
Sports Illustrated is not alone in this quizzical dismissal of the talent remaining in Stillwater. ESPN's Big 12 blogger, Dave Ubben, surmised that OU, Texas, and WVU were more talented than the Cowboys. At least he voted OSU #16 in his preseason national rankings. Never mind the Cowboys didn't land one player on Ubben's top 10 receivers in the Big 12 list. (Texas Tech had 3....)
Did everyone left over from last year's Big 12 champion, #3 in the nation, Fiesta Bowl Champion team leave?
For me at least, this is the ultimate in disrespect for the program that has lived for over half a century in the shadow of the Sooners.
Ok, OSU lost the best QB in school history. He has been replaced with a true freshman that was picked 2nd (with 4 to 1 odds) in a list of breakout freshman of the year in CFB. (would have posted the link to the video, but it was taken down)
The Cowboys also lost the best WR in school history, and arguably one of the best all time in CFB. A trio of veteran, proven WR's step into that void, with LOADS of young talent battling for playing time. Never mind a RB tandem that rivals any in the country.
And we won't discuss the fact that the #1 scoring defense in the Big 12 (and according to FEI, #3 in the country) is returning the bulk of its starters, or that the offensive line year in and year out is as good as any in the country AND has returning starters of its own.
Must not be anyone who remembers OSU reloading after 2009...or maybe the requirement is reloading 3 or 4 times?
I guess, in the end, it's ok. As Cowboy fans, I think we still like flying under the radar. It's definitely a lot more fun sneaking up on our opponents than having a target on our back. Gives the players something to prove.
Just once, though, I would like for OSU to be recognized for being a place where top talent resides on an annual basis, even if we don't know who they are.