Every team has a lynch pin. Every coach has a player they know they can ill afford to lose. In football, most of the time, that player is the quarterback.
Do the 90's Dallas Cowboys still become a dynasty without Troy Aikman?
What about the most recent team to win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots, do they do what they've done without Tom Brady?
Even the Oklahoma State program has seen this recently... Replace Alex Cate with Brandon Weeden and, well, the rest is (forgettable) history.
But, exceptions do take place.
See the 1985 Bears, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70's or the recent Alabama Crimson Tide led by Nick Saban, all led by their defense.
I'll examine the defensive side of the ball later, let's check out who the Most Important Player on offense is for the 2015 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Considering the information above about quarterbacks, most will point to quarterback Mason Rudolph. However, with J.W. Walsh returning the Cowboys have a little wiggle room at the position this year. A pretty big luxury to have a veteran like Walsh as QB2.
The WR position is loaded with depth and could roll 10 deep without a big drop off. If a couple guys were to go down there would be someone waiting in the wings to pick up the slack.
You could absolutely argue that the offensive line is the most important position group. Until they got things together last season it was pretty ugly watching the Cowboys offense try to muster yards and points. They've added depth and should be much better this season. Zach Crabtree and Victor Salako at the tackle positions really stabilize this group, and could be MIP candidates.
The running back position is such an unknown going into this season. Rennie Childs, Taylor Mays and of course highly touted JUCO transfer Chris Carson will man the position. In my opinion this is the most pivotal position. If the production returns to the form of the Joe Randle's and Kendall Hunter's it could take the season from good to great. Last years 1,776 yards on the ground were the fewest gained in a single season during the Mike Gundy era.
My MIP: Chris Carson.
Childs is just not built to withstand the punishment of a full Big 12 season as the feature back. If Chris Carson lives up to his hype it will make life so much easier for Mason Rudolph. While I think Childs and Mays should contribute nicely and have some shining moments, it's Carson who has to be the workhorse. What's wild with this pick is he's really an unknown. His stats at Butler County Community College last season: 9 games played; 139 total rushes; 994 yards with 9 touchdowns. He'll likely have around 200 rushing attempts this season if he's the RB1. Can he stay healthy with that kind of work load?
Chris Carson is my pick, who do you think is the Cowboys Most Important Player (on offense) going into the 2015 season? Take the poll and let us know!
Coming soon: Most Important Player, Defensive Edition.