- David Ubben, College Football
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You're counting down the days, I'm sure. We're so close, and yet so far from the season's opening weekend. I can't wait for it, and I'm sure every player in the Big 12 can't either. So, despite being a bit far off, we'll take a look at each team's opener, inspired by our friends over at the Big Ten Blog.
We started this series at the top of the alphabet, and it's time for the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Week 1 Opponent: Louisiana at Lafayette
Coach: Mark Hudspeth, first year
2010 record: 3-9 (3-5, Sun Belt)
Returning starters: 11 (5 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist)
About the Ragin' Cajuns: Oklahoma State won an ugly Friday nighter in Lafayette last year, 54-28, but it took a big second-half effort to do it, highlighted by an unbelievable night for Justin Blackmon. He caught a jump ball in triple coverage in the second quarter for a 37-yard score, a moment that Brandon Weeden says was the moment he realized Blackmon could go up and get anything he threw him. Blackmon finished with 13 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys trailed 21-17 at the half before scoring 24 points in the third quarter to take over.
This year, the Ragin' Cajuns enter a new era under Mark Hudspeth, who won 44 games in his final four years at North Alabama before spending the past two years as receivers coach and passing game coordinator under Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.
Louisiana will feature a spread attack that may use two quarterbacks, Chris Masson and Blaine Gautier. Gautier is more of a runner (280 yards, 5 TD in 2010) vs. Masson, who is a more accomplished passer (1,842 yards, 11 TD in 2010).
Sophomore Aaron Spikes returns after leading the team in rushing with 339 yards on 103 carries as a freshman in 2010. Spikes also caught 23 passes for 398 yards and six scores, both second on the team, and better than any of the team's receivers.
The offense's big talent is tight end Ladarius Green, who led the team with 44 catches for 794 yards and seven scores. He was also a Mackey Award semifinalist and a first-team All-Sun Belt performer.
The defense needs lots of help after giving up 37 points a game last season, ranking 112th in the nation. That plays into the hands of a powerful Oklahoma State offense. Lafayette loses three of the defense's top six tacklers, all of whom had at least 39 tackles in 2010.
Random factoid: Louisiana was actually called the "Raging Cajuns" from 1963-1967, before dropping the second "g" and becoming the "Ragin' Cajuns." Much edgier, guys. The team nickname was the Bulldogs from 1921 until 1963.
Totally unscientific percentage chance Oklahoma State wins: 92 percent. The Ragin' Cajuns are in a state of transition, and facing an opener in Stillwater, no amount of rage will give them a win. An avalanche of uncharacteristic turnovers are the only way this is a single-digit game.
More Week 1 previews:
You're counting down the days, I'm sure. We're so close, and yet so far from the season's opening weekend. I can't wait for it, and I'm sure every player in the Big 12 can't either.