http://newsok.com/2011-and-2017-cowboys-football-teams-have-similar-looks/article/5548892 A tall drink of quarterback with a big arm. A big-time receiver. A veteran offensive line. Some promising defenders. Picked high in Big 12 football but still behind the hated Sooners. 2017 in Stillwater? Yes. But also 2011. OSU football's greatest season, the Big 12 title team that beat Andrew Luck and Stanford in a rousing Fiesta Bowl, came six years ago, and in the offseason, those Cowboys quite closely mirror what we see from the 2017 Cowboys. Brandon Weeden then, Mason Rudolph now. Justin Blackmon leading a receiving corps of Josh Cooper, Tracy Moore, Isaiah Anderson and Josh Stewart then; James Washington leading a receiver corps of Marcel Ateman, Jalen McClesky, Chris Lacy and Tyron Johnson now. Levy Adcock, Lane Taylor and Grant Garner blocking then; Zach Crabtree, Brad Lundblade and Marcus Keyes now. Markelle Martin, Jamie Blatnick and Justin Gilbert defending then; Chad Whitener, Tre Flowers and Jordan Brailford defending now. “There are a lot of similarities,” coach Mike Gundy said. “I hope it turns out that way.” How it turned out was a 12-1 season, a No. 3 finish in all the polls and the conference championship, marred only by an overtime loss at Iowa State. Those 2011 Cowboys, coming off an 11-2 season in which they routed Arizona in the Alamo Bowl, were picked third in the Big 12, narrowly behind Texas A&M but well behind OU and was ranked ninth in the preseason AP poll. The 2017 Cowboys, coming off an 11-2 season in which they routed Colorado in the Alamo Bowl, figure to be ranked second in the Big 12, behind OU, and somewhere between seventh and 11th in the preseason polls. “I think there's a lot of truth to some carry-over,” Gundy said. “History tells you there are times when teams play very well in a bowl and then don't start the season well, and then there are times where they finish strong and do start the season well. For us, my personal opinion is there is carry-over.” Especially when an NFL prospect is taking the snaps from center. Weeden was all-Big 12 in 2010 and eventually was taken in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Rudolph has been really good for two straight seasons and is projected as a possible first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. “Brandon was 26 or 27 years old, so he had that maturity from an age standpoint,” Gundy said. “Mason has a lot of reps, good demeanor, and personality, all of those things. He's been great. One thing you always worry with players of that stature is if they can stay committed to the game at the level they are now instead of bypassing that mentally to the level they think they're going to be at next year. He's done really well with that.” The schedule offers one small difference in 2011 and 2017. Quality of opponent is similar — Tulsa in both years, coming off 10-win seasons, plus Arizona ('11) and Pitt ('17) — but the Pittsburgh game is on Heinz Field's riverbanks. That could be dicey. However, the Big 12 doesn't seem quite as imposing as it did in 2011, either in teams or quarterbacks, when Texas A&M had Ryan Tannehill, Baylor had Robert Griffin III, Kansas State had Collin Klein, OU had Landry Jones and Texas Tech had Seth Doege. In September, the 2011 Cowboys won 30-29 at A&M in the S-E-C Ya game, and the season was ignited. “Once we got into the latter part of September and early part of October when we started playing conference games, and we were blowing people's doors off, I thought, 'we are pretty good,'” Gundy said. “Then you get into cruise control, don't mess it up, don't get in their way, don't overcoach them, let them play. “When you're playing teams in the league that know you like we all know each other in this league and you're winning by three and four touchdowns, pretty easily, then I thought we were pretty good.” Who knows if the 2017 Cowboys can repeat that 2011 season? But the similarities are striking.