10) Kansas Jayhawks 3-9 (1-8)
Expect another long season for Kansas. Outside of running back James Sims, the Jayhawks don’t really have a whole lot. Quarterback Jordan Webb didn’t show much promise last season and that could be a huge problem, especially in this conference. Don’t expect this team to do much.
9) Iowa State Cyclones 4-8 (2-7)
With the Cyclones losing quarterback Austen Arnuad and running back Alexander Robinson to graduation, they instantly lost 80% of their total offense from last season. It’s going to be tough trying to replace both of those impact players right away.
8) Kansas State Wildcats 4-8 (2-7)
The Brown brothers look to make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball, but the Wildcats are lacking other playmakers to be successful in the Big 12 this season.
7) Baylor Bears 6-6 (3-6)
The offense looks to be electrifying with Robert Griffin at the helm, but the biggest concern with the Bears will be their defense. Regardless, the Baylor still hasn’t proven that they are ready to take a big step forward.
6) Texas Longhorns 7-5 (4-5)
There are a lot of question marks in Austin, especially with the offense. Garrett Gilbert still hasn’t shown why he was the Gatorade player of the year in high school. Also with a new offense and defensive coordinator, look for the growing pains to continue.
5) Texas Tech Red Raiders 8-4 (5-4)
Even though the Red Raiders lost key pieces of their offense, expect the Air Raid to start right where it left off. New signal caller Seth Doege is expecting big things during his tenure in Lubbock and I believe him. The defense will be the biggest issue for Tech since they are still very young and are learning a new scheme under first year defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow.
4) Oklahoma State Cowboys 9-3 (6-3)
Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon both exploded onto the scene last season and are both returning for an encore. The only thing holding back the Cowboys are their defense. Their defense wasn’t too good last season, and is only returning 5 starters back defensively. With trips to Texas A&M, Texas, Tech, and Mizzou, it is going to be awfully tough to repeat that season from a year ago.
3) Missouri Tigers 9-3 (6-3)
Even with the departure of Aldon Smith, the Tigers bring back one of the better group of pass rushers in the conference. Mizzou led the Big 12 in sacks and scoring defense last season, and are looking to continue on that path. The question mark will be James Franklin replacing Blaine Gabberts’ shoes. With the Tigers bringing back all three running backs and leading receivers, Franklin should be in good hands.
2) Texas A&M Aggies 9-3 (7-2)
The Aggies return a high-powered offense behind Ryan Tannehill, Jeff Fuller, and Cyrus Gray, but they are going to have to improve vastly on the defensive side of the ball. First year defensive coordinator Tim Dereyter made some huge strides last season but will have to replace the production of Von Miller. The fact that the Aggies have a respectable defense and not a great one, makes it hard for me to see them running away with the conference title.
1) Oklahoma Sooners 12-0 (9-0)
A no brainer here. The Sooners return a bunch of players including Heisman hopeful Landry Jones, who quietly had a great season last year, and the explosive wideout Ryan Broyles. Oklahoma is the best team from top to bottom within the conference and should be able to turn the tables with their favorable schedule
Big 12 Superlatives:
Offensive MVP: Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor
Defensive MVP: Brad Madison, DE, Mizzou
Special Teams MVP: Eric Stephens, RB, Texas Tech
Newcomer of the season: Malcolm Brown, Texas