There’s no disagreement at the top of the conference as every one of The Oklahoman’s college football writers pick Oklahoma to win the league and Baylor to finish second. Here’s the reasoning and the picks for the rest of the league in 2014.
OU Beat Writer
1. Oklahoma: Sooners are coming off a statement win in the Sugar Bowl with most of their defense returning and a favorable schedule.
2. Baylor: The Bears open a new stadium with a team good enough to win the league, especially on the offensive side.
3. Kansas State: With consistent quarterback play, the Wildcats could challenge for the conference title as well.
4. Texas: It isn’t likely to be smooth sailing for the Longhorns during Charlie Strong’s first season as coach, but watch out for Texas down the road.
5. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders aren’t deep enough to hang with the top of the league, but coach Kliff Kingsbury’s team figures to be exciting to watch.
6. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are here because of the number of starters they must replace, but OSU has enough talent to knock off the league’s big boys.
7. TCU: Defense might win championships but to hang in the Big 12, you have to have some offense and there isn’t much there for the Horned Frogs.
8. Iowa State: E.J. Bibbs is a playmaker at tight end, but will the Cyclones be able to get him the ball consistently?
9. West Virginia: The schedule is favorable for the Mountaineers. The team they’ll field, though, is not.
10. Kansas: The Jayhawks might get West Virginia for the second year in a row, but there aren’t many other teams in the league Kansas has a chance against.
OU Beat Writer
1. Oklahoma: Sooners get their toughest game of the year — Nov. 8 against Baylor — at home. OU wins its ninth Big 12 title and earns a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
2. Baylor: If the Bears faced OU in Waco, I’d probably flip these top two spots. Art Briles shows that last year’s Big 12 title was no fluke with another double-digit win season.
3. Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury’s second season sees marked improvement as the Red Raiders continue to climb the Big 12 standings.
4. Kansas State: Don’t be surprised if Bill Snyder’s squad finishes even higher than this when it’s all said and done.
5. Texas: The Charlie Strong era begins with a mediocre season.
6. TCU: Horned Frogs return a stout defense, but how will they score any points?
7. Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy’s staff will miss that extra day of practice with this inexperienced team.
8. Iowa State: The Cyclones’ offense improves with new coordinator Mark Mangino, but the team still struggles to get into the top half of the league.
9. West Virginia: Another disappointing season leaves Dana Holgorsen’s seat scalding.
10. Kansas: KU continues to wish it had never run Mangino off.
OSU Beat Writer
1. Oklahoma: The Sugar Bowl victory momentum rolls on, and the Sooners return what could be the league's top defense. If QB Trevor Knight lives up to the hype, OU could find itself in the College Football Playoff.
2. Baylor: The Bears are reloaded to give defenses nightmares in 2014 with three players selected to the media preseason all-conference offense: QB Bryce Petty, WR Antwan Goodley and RB Shock Linwood.
3. Texas: Expect a renewed energy in Austin this season as Charlie Strong looks to instill some consistency and discipline to a bevy of former top high school recruits.
4. Kansas State: No coach in the Big 12 garners the respect of Bill Snyder, and for good reason. Expect the Wildcats to go to the wire with the league's best all year long.
5. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys will likely be back to their old formula this season: Score a ton of points. Allow a ton of points. That's a tough way to try and win games.
6. Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury has brought an energy back Lubbock that's starting to make dividends in recruiting. But year two will likely have some speed bumps.
7. TCU: Gary Patterson's Rose Bowl victory seems like ages ago nowadays. Lots of questions on offense this season, but a solid defense should keep them in games.
8. Iowa State: The Cyclones open against FCS North Dakota State, which beat Kansas State in week one of last year. Don't be surprised if the Bison roll again.
9. West Virginia: Dana Holgorsen suddenly finds himself on the hot seat after a meteoric rise in the coaching world.
10. Kansas: Congratulations to the Jayhawks for winning a conference game last season. But it's not something I expect to happen again in 2014.
OSU Beat Writer
1. Oklahoma. Not all in on the national elite chatter, but the Big 12 is down – again – and the schedule sets up perfectly for the Sooners to emerge on top of the standings.
2. Baylor. Bears will score points, a lot of points. But heavy losses on defense make them shaky on that side. Still, OSU won the league with a similar makeup in 2011.
3. Kansas State. Don’t sleep on the ’Cats, who are the league’s most complete squad and more than capable of claiming the title. Trips to both Norman and Waco are the negative.
4. Oklahoma State. All eyes are on the defense, which is in a rebuild. But if J.W. Walsh can distribute to the many playmakers, the Pokes will be entertaining. And dangerous.
5. Texas. New coach. New attitude. Same old question: can David Ash get it done at quarterback? The Horns, ever the media darling, have even more proving to do.
6. TCU. The Horned Frogs are finally joining the spread craze offensively, with a complete shift in philosophy. If the transition is smooth, they could move way up.
7. West Virginia. OU, Baylor, TCU and K-State all must visit Morgantown. That could be good or bad for the Mountaineers.
8. Texas Tech. Streaky a year ago, to say the least, the Red Raiders failed miserably against the Big 12’s best. Amid major personnel changes, that isn’t likely to change.
9. Iowa State. Quenton Bundrage is a major talent at wideout, but the Cyclones face their annual questions at quarterback... and elsewhere.
10. Kansas. The Charlie Weis era isn’t going well at KU.
1. Oklahoma: Plays Baylor on Owen Field in psuedo conference championship game. Advantage: Sooners. Biggest question heading into the season — can Trevor Knight stay healthy?
2. Baylor: Bears will open new stadium and will have a great chance of bringing home a conference title. Bryce Petty could make a run at Baylor's second Heisman Trophy.
3. Kansas State: Don't sleep on the Wildcats. They have a favorable schedule, and if they can steal a one of their tough road games — OU or Baylor — they could jump into one of the top two spots.
4. Texas: Charlie Strong is facing the biggest problem that Mack Brown faced at the end of his tenure — he doesn't have an obvious starting quarterback. Still, the new coach will help the Horns get back in the mix in the league.
5. TCU: Gary Patterson knows how to coach great defense, and when you build around defense, you'll always have a chance to win games. But the Frogs continue to need to ramp up their offense to really compete in the Big 12.
6. Oklahoma State: Having a huge group of seniors was great last season. This season? It leaves the Cowboys with some gaping holes, especially on defense. There will be lots of pressure on an offense with a rebuilt line.
7. Texas Tech: The quarterback exodus from Lubbock is going to hit the Red Raiders. But don't be surprised to see them score a big upset somewhere along the way. That has become a Tech hallmark.
8. West Virginia: Tough sledding for Dana Holgorsen and Co. The Mountaineers lack a depth of talent, which makes life difficult in the Big 12.
9. Iowa State: Cyclones seem to have taken a step back in recent seasons. They're struggling to find win the Big 12, much less make it to a bowl game.
10. Kansas: The basketball opener is Nov. 14.
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners have a bunch of quality defenders returning, a Sugar Bowl hero at quarterback, a veteran offensive line and the cushiest schedule.
2. Baylor: The Bears have to rebuild their back seven on defense. But what an offense.
3. Kansas State: The Wildcats are 20-7 in the conference since the advent of the round-robin schedule. Only OU (21-6) is better.
4. Texas: The Charlie Strong era begins the way the Mack Brown era ended. Quarterback questions.
5. Oklahoma State: Can J.W. Walsh’s offense produce enough points to let the Cowboy defense grow?
6. Texas Tech: A troubling off-season has the Red Raiders ready for the games to begin.
7. TCU: The Horned Frogs have been a quarterback away from being really good the last two years.
8. West Virginia: Where are the real Mountaineers?
9. Iowa State: Cyclones have a two-game conference winning streak. Only OU (three) has a longer streak.
10. Kansas: Only four months to basketball season.