1. Texas: In a battle within a conference that has no dominant teams (that would be the Big 12), it's always a safe bet to go with the outfit that has the best defense and the best running game (that should be Texas). Quarterback David Ash won't awe anybody, but with a year's experience under his belt, should be better than adequate.
2. Oklahoma: As long as the receivers stay healthy the Sooners will be very difficult to stop on offense. The linebackers will do well on defense as will the secondary, but the defensive line is a major question mark. If Oklahoma cannot generate a pass rush, the offense will have to outscore some people.
3. Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy's program has gotten to the "reload" level. And what that means is that there will never be a huge drop off. Look for Bill Young's defense to be superb, and it will need to be given that OSU will start a freshman quarterback and will have a few questions on the offensive line and at receiver.
4. Kansas State: I underestimated Bill Snyder last year. Never again. Despite all the press that Geno Smith and Landry Jones get, Collin Klein is probably the Big 12's best quarterback and could be the league's Offensive MVP. KSU's running game will be sound, and its pass defense improved.
5. TCU: The Frogs will actually look a bit like Kansas State, sporting a big, strong quarterback and a solid defense. Still, some cracks have formed in Gary Patterson's program, and moving to the Big 12 may cause them to widen just a bit.
6. West Virginia: The Mountaineers will prove to be the most overrated team in the Big 12. Yes, the passing game will be spectacular, but outside of Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, there's precious little upon which to hang a coonskin cap. Big 12 play will be a rude awakening.
7. Texas Tech: Until proven otherwise, the Red Raiders are suspect. The offense should again be one of the Big 12's best, but the defense must climb mountains just to get to respectable.
8. Baylor: Baylor's defense was just about as bad as Tech's in 2011, and without Robert Griffin, Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway carrying the load on offense, Art Briles' program could return to earth with a resounding thud. But the Bears do have confidence coming off a monumental season, and that is no small thing.
9. Iowa State: The Big 12 is stacked with tremendous linebackers, and in Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, Iowa State has two of the very best. Unfortunately, that's the bulk of the talent. Jeremy Reeves is a nice talent at cornerback, too, but on offense the Cyclones will be severely underpowered.