Kansas State might run the Big 12 table. Texas could, too. And Geno Smith's touchdown passes are burning up the telegraph machines from West Virginia to out here on the frontier, so maybe the Mountaineers will dominate their new league.
But I don't think so.
After one round of games, the Big 12 football race seems ridiculously wide open. Just about anything could happen and in some cases already has.
K-State won in Norman. Baylor scored nine touchdowns and lost. OSU, playing with its backup quarterback, took Texas to the wire and nearly staged another Music City Miracle.
Here's how crazy Big 12 football has been. After just five games, we've already had two teams reverse 2011 losses of 41 points (KSU-OU) and 34 points (Texas Tech-Iowa State).
Those five games included no blowouts. TCU's 20-6 victory over Kansas was the most one-sided verdict. Every other game went to the final two minutes or the final play.
The league's parity is good news for the Sooners and Cowboys, who stumbled in their league openers. The league's parity is bad news for the conference's Big Bowl hopes. A Big 12 squad is not likely to be in Miami Gardens come January, playing an SEC behemoth for the national championship.
In some ways, Big 12 football 2012 shapes up as NFL-style competition. Week to week, game to game, you never know what you'll get. Win two out of three and you're happy. Or ought to be.
Like this coming Saturday. Kansas at Kansas State will be a Wildcat romp. But OU at Tech? West Virginia at Texas? Iowa State at TCU? Nobody has even a good guess at what to expect.
This is a natural result of the nine-game conference format. Three times in the last 10 years, OU won Big 12 titles after a 6-2 conference record. In 2010, five Big 12 teams were 6-2 — OU, OSU, Texas A&M, Missouri and Nebraska.
Three of those schools have left the league, but they took hapless Colorado with them, and the additions of West Virginia and TCU have fortified the Big 12. And the conference has been made even tougher with the ninth conference game.
It now seems perfectly reasonable to think 7-2 will win the conference; 6-3 could do it.
“It's always been very hard to play the eight we did and the championship game,” Bob Stoops said of the previous Big 12 format. “It's been hard. But I agree now, when you add two really good football teams that are nationally ranked high and playing well, and you gotta play nine games, it's tough.”
Think of it like a golf major. The back nine holes on Sunday. You're going to make birdies and you're going to make bogeys. Just try to maximize the former and minimize the latter. There's one easy hole on the course (Kansas), there are birdie opportunities (too early to tell exactly who) and there are holes that will kick your butt.
Such a conference doesn't make for a pristine champion, but it does make for one wild ride of a season.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.