Big 12 football: Taking a closer look at each team

OSU was ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 preseason media poll, with OU at No. 2. Here's a closer look at each Big 12 team, ranked in order of Thursday's poll results.
by Jason Kersey Published: July 18, 2013

Analysis: Senior Casey Pachall returns from his off-the-field issues and immediately becomes one of the Big 12's top quarterbacks. The Horned Frogs' defense, led by sophomore DE Devonte Fields and senior CB Jason Verrett, is the best in the conference.

4. TEXAS

Last year's record: 9-4 (5-4 Big 12)

Returning starters: 19 (10 offense, 9 defense)

Analysis: Is Texas “back?” Lots of folks believe experience and talent will elevate the Longhorns back into the national-title picture, but much of that will depend on inconsistent quarterback David Ash and that elusive Red River Rivalry game Oct. 12.

5. BAYLOR

Last year's record: 8-5 (4-5 Big 12)

Returning starters: 12 (5 offense, 7 defense)

Analysis: Junior Bryce Petty takes over at quarterback after back-to-back prolific seasons from Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence. The Bears get Oklahoma and TCU at home, but must travel to OSU and TCU.

6. KANSAS STATE

Last year's record: 11-2 (8-1 Big 12)

Returning starters: 10 (8 offense, 2 defense)

Analysis: The Wildcats lose most of last year's strong defense, most notably star LB Arthur Brown. Even more troubling, though, is replacing Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein at quarterback. KSU is always a threat, though, with Bill Snyder as its head coach.

7. TEXAS TECH

Last year's record: 8-5 (4-5 Big 12)

Returning starters: 13 (5 offense, 8 defense)

Analysis: Kliff Kingsbury takes over at his alma mater after mentoring Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel throughout his Heisman Trophy season in 2012. The Red Raiders host TCU, OSU, Kansas State and Baylor, and face OU and Texas on the road.

8. WEST VIRGINIA

Last year's record: 7-6 (4-5 Big 12)

Returning starters: 10 (3 offense, 7 defense)

Analysis: The Mountaineers' inaugural Big 12 season was an incredible disappointment, and 2013 could be even uglier without offensive superstars Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Geno Smith.

9. IOWA STATE

Last year's record: 6-7 (3-6 Big 12)

Returning starters: 9 (5 offense, 4 defense)

Analysis: ISU loses All-Big 12 linebackers AJ Klein and Jake Knott, plus its three leading receivers from 2012. The Cyclones could find themselves in danger of replacing hapless Kansas in the Big 12 cellar.

10. KANSAS

Last year's record: 1-11 (0-9 Big 12)

Returning starters: 9 (5 offense, 4 defense)

Analysis: Senior RB James Sims is among the more talent ball carriers in the conference. BYU transfer Jake Heaps takes over at quarterback, with former OU wideout Justin McCay possibly assuming a leading role on the offense. Charlie Weis should see some improvement in his second season at KU, but the Jayhawks will still struggle to compete consistently.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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