While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. It’s Mailbag Friday, I’m posted up in The Players Championship media center and we have some takes we need to address. Let’s get straight to the #content.Is this 2017 Cowboy football team better than the 2011 team? Why? What are your thoughts on OSU and OU leaving for the SEC if it happens..? -Casey BlazeThat’s a lot of questions so we’ll take them one by one.First, this team is not better than the 2011 team in my opinion (as an outsider looking in) as things stand right now. That 2011 team was iconic in terms of Oklahoma State sports. This team could still lose to Pittsburgh in one of the first three games.This offense is great and probably has as high of a (or a higher) ceiling, but I trusted that 2011 team more than I trust this one right now. There’s not anything I can point to statistically to explain why that’s the case right now but it is. I trusted that defense more. I trusted Weeden more. I trusted Joe Randle as much or more than any RB in OSU history. I don’t necessarily feel that about OSU in 2017.Lastly, I’m in on a different conference, I suppose, but I’m not out on the Big 12. It gets swept under the rug for reasons that I understand, but the Big 12 is making a lot of money per team right now. Like a lot. I grew up on the Big 8/Big 12, and I would hate to see it completely disappear. Although the fact that Colorado, Texas A&M, Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado have already ejected mean that dream is already at least partially dead.Whatever the future looks like, I want OSU (and OU) to be with other quality programs that will thrive for decades after Gundy’s mullet and he goes bald. If that’s the SEC, fine. If it’s more likely to happen in the Pac-12, also fine. I’m just tired of the year after year of instability and insurrection takes.Who emerges on Mike Boynton’s first year squad as the leader of this team and will they still be playing basketball come mid-March? -Jon JesterIt has to be Jeffrey Carroll to me. I think you saw it a little bit last year, but with Jawun Evans and Phil Forte moving on, he’s the only senior who’s had significant success in Stillwater under Boynton. That should (and does) matter.What is the ceiling for the defense? Will the rely on turnovers like the 2011 team or will they be able to stop teams without turnovers? -Billy LockeI’m confused by the defense right now, to be honest with you. It feels inexperienced and under-manned, and yet Mike Gundy doesn’t seem at all concerned with it. I don’t know if he’s using his mullet as blinders to the reality of the situation or if A.J. Green and Madre Harper are the second coming of Champ Bailey and Darrelle Revis, but my sense is that this year’s defense will actually have the talent to stop teams.That 2011 team was not super talented, and it played at the very top of its ceiling. That meant barely stopping Big 12 offenses and creating a lot of turnovers. I mean, one of the best turnover margins in recent college football history.This year’s defense has a much higher ceiling, but I’m not sure it will reach the same percentage of its talent level as that ’11 team did. So that begs the question of whether getting 99 percent out of 2011’s talent level will be greater than getting 85 or 90 percent out of 2017’s talent level. That’s not a knock on work ethic as much as it is a hedge against immaturity and inexperience.Turnovers will help mitigate that, but the hope is that by mideseason this defense will have found its legs a little bit and start pumping out 20-point performances. If that’s the case, OSU will house teams coming down the stretch in November and December.Is there another player in the country that you would trade mason Rudolph for? -Kade GottschalkNo.Which happens first: Gundy cutting the mullet or Brad Underwood being on a basketball intro video? [email protected] Pickens pumping Baker Mayfield for the Heisman on Twitter and Instagram will happen before either of those two things happens.