Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy hasn't had to explain to his team how difficult its season opener will be.
Instead, he showed players film of Mississippi State and let them "make those decisions on their own."
The 13th-ranked Cowboys open the season on Saturday against the Bulldogs in Houston at Reliant Stadium.
The game represents a big step up in competition for both teams compared to last year's openers. The Cowboys crushed Savannah State 84-0 in 2012 while Mississippi State beat Jackson State 56-9.
The Cowboys' high-tempo offense should be quite a challenge for Mississippi State, which has three new starters in the secondary.
Oklahoma State will likely use two quarterbacks -- senior Clint Chelf and sophomore J.W. Walsh -- in the opener.