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.
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