Big 12 football: Preseason rankings

The Oklahoman's staff writers share their preseason Big 12 rankings.
by Gina Mizell Published: July 22, 2013

The Oklahoman's staff writers share their preseason Big 12 rankings.

RYAN ABER

1. Oklahoma State: The schedule lines up perfectly, the Cowboys' offense is going to be potent regardless of who is at quarterback and OSU's defense figures to be better. All of this adds up to a Big 12 title.

2. Oklahoma: There are plenty of questions for the Sooners, especially on defense, but Blake Bell is going to be all right at quarterback and OU still finishes near the top of the conference. Can the defense stop anyone, though?

3. TCU: The defense, led by sophomore Devonte Fields, is good enough to vault the Horned Frogs near the top of the Big 12. But with Fields suspended for two for offseason issues and quarterback Casey Pachall back after missing nearly all of last season for substance-abuse treatment, things could go either way for TCU.

4. Kansas State: Underestimate Bill Snyder at your own risk. Sure, the Wildcats replace quarterback Collin Klein but they have enough talent returning to finish in the upper-half of a league without dominant teams this season.

5. Baylor: With yet another potent quarterback coming down the line and the best running back in the league, Lache Seastrunk, the Bears don't show any signs of reverting to the bottom-dwellers they were before Art Briles came to Waco.

6. Texas: Picking Texas to win the league is kind of like picking someone other than Jenks or Union to win the 6A high school title. Sure, Texas will win eventually, but after being deceived for so many years thinking the Longhorns were back to contend for conference or even national titles, let's take a more wait-and-see approach.

7. Iowa State: Paul Rhodes has done a solid job keeping the Cyclones competitive. They don't have the talent to compete to finish near the top of the conference but in any one week have the potential to knock off anyone in the conference.

8. West Virginia: Everything seemed to line up well for the Mountaineers coming into last season. The offense did fine but the defense was gashed by anybody not named Kansas. Now, though, West Virginia doesn't have an offense potent enough to hang with teams through shoot-outs.

9. Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury seems to be building something in West Texas. He's recruiting well and brought aboard a boatload of alums on his staff. It'll take time for Tech to climb back to where they were just a few years ago, though.

10. Kansas: Charlie Weis looks to be much more Turner Gill than Mark Mangino as the Jayhawks still can't find footing in the post-Mangino years.

JOHN HELSLEY

1. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys will be great – again – on offense, with so many weapons, including some you've never heard of. And while the defense has some proving to do, it looks to be much improved.

2. TCU: There's potential for a quarterback controversy, with Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin both owning starting experience and winning experience. Either can do the job, however, and the defense figures to be the league's best.

3. Texas: Mack Brown is shifting offensive gears again, suggesting desperation in Austin. And all the hype about the return of the Longhorns could prove to be empty promises yet again. Still, the defense is solid and there should be enough offensive talent to make a move up.

4. Oklahoma: Blake Bell could be good, really good, but it's doubtful he'll be as good as Landry Jones in his starting debut. Regardless, the offense will be perform. But will a defense with major limitations among the front seven?

5. Baylor: Art Briles has done a superb job of building a legitimate program in Waco. Already showing that he could carry on after losing a superstar in RG3, look for him to reload yet again.

6. Kansas State: The Wildcats lost their best players on both sides of the ball and will be pressed to contend again. And yet, who wants to doubt Bill Snyder. It's not advisable.

7. Texas Tech: It's a new day in Lubbock, with Kliff Kingsbury replacing the mis-fitted Tommy Tuberville. And while there's temptation to doubt that the Red Raiders will take immediate flight, there's also a buzz around the program.

8. Iowa State: The Cyclones continue to search to prove that they're good for more than the annual upset. And the program is in much better shape. Still, there are limitations that just can't be ignored.

9. West Virginia: Last season's major disappointment, followed by major personnel losses, could make for a season that puts Dana Holgorsen on the hot seat, if he's not there already.

10. Kansas: Tough job. Charlie Weis picked Lawrence to attempt a career rebuild? Winning but one game would be an improvement, yet it won't come easy.

JASON KERSEY

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners have a new quarterback, a razor-thin defensive line and three new assistant coaches. Most years, that would be a recipe for a third- or fourth-place finish, but in 2013's wide-open Big 12, the Sooners have as good a shot as anyone.

2. TCU: The Horned Frogs feature the conference's best defense and a talented quarterback — whether it's Casey Pachall or Trevone Boykin — making them a strong contender for Big 12 supremacy.


by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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