The Big 12 will probably be a middling conference this season. The Longhorns and the Sooners give this conference credibility, but it just seems to be on the outside looking in this season. My gut feeling is that win or lose this is Mack Brown’s last in Austin.
Oklahoma State – the Cowboys. Wow did I really just type this? As crazy as it sounds OSU is the class of the Big XII this season. The Cowboys have a solid offense. The defense will need to step up if OSU is going to win the conference. The bar is set high and the schedule is favorable.
Texas – the Longhorns have installed Major Applewhite as the OC, and they have gone back to the spread offense. They will feature an up tempo style that should put points up. I think that college football is so much ‘what have you done for me lately’ and that this is it for Mack Brown. If they win he can go out a winner, if they lose they can always say he was losing his touch – after all he did recruit the last two Heisman Winners – as defensive backs.
Oklahoma – the Sooners absolutely demolished the Longhorns last season. That will not be forgotten by the ‘horns. I think that OU has some question marks that have to be answered soon. A new starting quarterback is a big concern. But there is this in the 14 years that Bob Stoops has been in Norman, the Sooners have been to a bowl every season including 8 BCS bowls.
TCU – the Horned Frogs had a lot of injuries and distractions to overcome last season, their first in the Big 12. Coach Gary Patterson should have the right players in place to make some noise this season. There is reason to be optimistic in Ft Worth over this team. They play solid defense, but they open at LSU which is always a hard venue to play in.
Kansas State – the Wildcats lost a lot of talent from last years Championship Team. Bill Snyder always seems to pull a rabbit out of a hat. He gets the most out of the talent he has. The Wildcats have sufficient talent to contend in the Big 12, but most likely it is not in the cards to return to a BCS bowl.
Baylor – the Bears have one of the best coaches in college football in Art Briles. They have talent, but not enough to seriously contend with Texas, OSU and OU. The offense will more than likely be just fine, but the defense will need to step up or show up even. See last seasons defensive ‘struggle’ with West Virginia 70-63
Texas Tech – the Red Raiders will be rebuilding. New coach Kliff Kingsbury will bring excitement to the the fans in Lubbock. He may not have the talent to run his offense right now, but since he is a former player at Tech, he will be given a long leash to get things back on track out in the plains. This team has a chance to become a juggernaut – just not yet.
West Virginia – the Mountaineers had a solid welcome to the league last year, unfortunately this season they are replacing a lot of lost talent that is now in the NFL. Not only are a lot of players new, so is a lot of the coaching staff. It will be a long season in Morgantown, but WVU has the ability to recruit well and could be back in contention soon.
Iowa State – the Cyclones have made a bowl game 3 of the last 4 seasons. If a bowl game is in the cards this season, the Cyclones will have to have everything perfectly fall into place. There is little room for error to get to six wins, and in this league a bowl game is about the best Iowa State can hope for.
Kansas – the Jayhawks were 1-11 last season under Charlie Weis, it probably will not get much better this season either. One thing from last season leaps off the page – no Kansas WR caught a touchdown pass last year. Probably best to get ready for basketball.
OSU wins the conference outright by record.