Ranking stuff is fun. It really truly is. What is better than ranking one thing? How about a bunch of things? That is right; here we are going not going to just give you one list of 10, but a whole bushel of them. Sit back and enjoy!
Ranking the Big 12:
In a year with no clear-cut favorite, it is of no surprise that 6 teams received a first place vote. The ascension of Oklahoma State to the top of the media poll breaks a 6 year run for Oklahoma as being the preseason favorite.
1. Oklahoma State – They aren't perfect; in fact they have some big question marks on defense. But the return one of the best players in the Big 12 in wide receiver Josh Stewart, an experienced quarterback and enough pieces all across the field to give themselves a shot at the title.
2. TCU – The Frogs have the best defense in the Big 12, at least on paper. Their growing pains from two years ago are over. Their question marks are who will start at quarterback, the maligned but supremely talented former starter in Casey Pachall or the starter from last year Trevone Boykin. Their offense might be the most balanced in the Big 12 if the quarterback play is good.
3. Oklahoma – The Sooners have the talent on defense to take on any team, but last year was so bad, that they have to rebound quickly. The offense has some nice pieces but will new quarterback Blake Bell be able to run a passing offense?
4. Baylor – The best offense in the league with a lot of hopes dreams and wishes for a better defense. If the defense plays like it did against Kansas State and UCLA, the Bears could move up this list quickly and probably to the top of the list. If the defense doesn't take a step forward though, they could be passed by at least two teams behind them.
5. Texas – Some are predicting this is the year old Texas comes back and lays claim to the Big 12. Still not buying it. David Ash is still the QB. He might be better, but will that mean he is good or just more playable? The Longhorns also lost quite a bit of talent to a porous defense last year that everyone assumes will be significantly better.
6. Kansas State – Why not get picked 6th again? It worked out well for them last year when the Wildcats went onto win the Big 12. They lost a lot, but is there anyone else alive that still doubts the ability of Coach Snyder to take his and beat yours, and then take yours and beat his?
7. West Virginia – The NFL raided the Mountaineers pretty good, especially on offense. They lost their three best players (Tavon Austin, Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey) and still have some big question marks on defense.
8. Texas Tech – New coach, with the old system and offense. But do they have the horses on either side of the ball to make it work yet?
9. Iowa State – With a team built on seniors all graduated, another group of Cyclones comes in to grow and build together. This could be a rough year for Paul Rhodes in Ames, but if they can get through this year with Sam Richardson as their QB of the present and the future and more of an identity on offense, that will be a success.
10. Kansas – 21 games lost in a row in Big 12 play. Kansas is still a recruiting class or two away from being just bad, rather than terrible.
Top 10 Offensive Players:
This is a strange year for offensive talent in the Big 12. The league is very deep at the running back position and also on the offensive line, but there isn't a single Top 10 quarterback to be seen. There is also only one wide receiver (the other is on here mainly for returning ability), so expect more from the Big 12 rushing attacks this year.
1. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
2. Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State
3. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
4. John Hubert, RB, Kansas State
5. James Sims, RB, Kansas
6. Gabe Ikard , C, Oklahoma
7. Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas
8. Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
9. B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State
10.Tyler Lockett, WR/Ret, Kansas State
Top 10 Defensive Players:
The only thing could keep Fields off of this list is him getting in more trouble. Already suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season, Fields has to walk the straight path. This year is a good year for corners and defensive lineman in the Big 12.
1. Devonte Fields, DE, TCU
2. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
3. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
4. Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
5. Calvin Barnett, DT, Oklahoma State
6. Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas
7. Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State
8. Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas
9. Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor
10. Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State
Top 10 Transfers
This is a big year for transfers into the Big 12. Charles Sims is one of the best running backs to transfer in years, as the 1,000 yard rusher from Houston looks to improve an up and down rushing attack in Morgantown, while a pair of quarterbacks in the state of Kansas look to win jobs.
1. Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia from Houston
3. Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State from Iowa Western CC
4. Desmond Harrison, OL, Texas from Contra Costa College
7. Quincy Russell, DT, Oklahoma from Trinity Valley
8. Terell Brooks, DT, Baylor from Blinn College
9. Marquel Combs, DT, Kansas from Pierce College
Top 10 Out of Conference Games:
By far and away the biggest game for the Big 12 this year happens the first week of the season, with TCU facing off against LSU. With just 5 games against the other power conferences (3 vs. SEC, 1 vs. Big 10, 1 vs. ACC) the pickings were pretty slim at the end of the list.
1. TCU versus LSU
2. Oklahoma versus Notre Dame
3. Oklahoma State versus Mississippi State
4. Texas versus BYU
5. Iowa versus Iowa State
6. Texas versus Ole Miss
7. Kansas versus Louisiana Tech
8. West Virginia versus Maryland
9. TCU versus SMU
10. Baylor versus Louisiana Monroe