College Football 2014: Big 12 Preseason Power Rankings
Big 12 Power Rankings
2014 College Football Preview
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Here are how the Big 12 college football power rankings shape up as we get ready for the 2014 season.
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1. Oklahoma Sooners – The Oklahoma Sooners are one of my picks for the college football playoffs. The Sooners are a balanced football team with one of the better defenses in the country and an offense that has oodles of potential. The Sooners are capable of winning those physical, grind out games with their defense, and they can also win games by putting up 35 points per contest. The Sooners are the team to beat in the Big 12 this season.
2. Baylor Bears – As long as quarterback Bryce Petty stays healthy, the Baylor Bears remain a strong competitor in the Big 12. Baylor has the explosiveness and the athletes but lacks the depth that Oklahoma has. However, with a favorable schedule and an offense that can put up 50 points if needed, Baylor is once again that team that nobody should overlook.
3. Texas Longhorns – Texas returns 13 starters, which includes an experienced quarterback, depth at running back and seven starters on defense. If Charlie Strong was able to get great production out of mediocre talent at Louisville, he should have no problem being effective right away at Texas. Yes, Texas has let me down over the years as well, but there’s no denying that the Longhorns are still one of the most talented teams on paper. Don’t be surprised if the Longhorns make an honest run for the Big 12 title this season.
4. Kansas State Wildcats – Kansas State has become that team that people doubt every year and somehow manages to remain relevant. I think now is a good time to just admit Daniel Snyder is a hell of a coach and will continue to find ways to make sure the Wildcats remain in the conversation. With Jake Waters returning at quarterback and much of the offensive line intact, Kansas State has enough in place to make things interesting. Stop sleeping on those Wildcats.
5. TCU Horned Frogs – Even without Devonte Fields, the TCU Horned Frogs have one of the top defenses in the country. In a conference that is so offensive minded, an elite defense can be the x-factor and lead to a ton of success. Sam Carter and Chucky Hunter will continue to lead this team. The issue for the Horned Frogs is on the offensive end, as they must find some guys who can points on the board. If that happens, TCU is a team that could make an improbable run for the Big 12 title.
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders – Texas Tech returns eight offensive starters from an offense that finished second in the country in passing yards. With another season under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, Davis Webb and company should help keep the Red Raiders a scoring machine. It’s the defense that Texas Tech has to worry about, as it was 88th in the country in points allowed last season and lost some of its leadership. Texas Tech has a chance for a solid season if it can become a little more balanced.
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys – Oklahoma State returns only nine starters from last season and has pretty much zero leadership. I know Mike Gundy’s a great coach and he’ll have this team competing better than most expected, but not even he will be able to answer all the question marks on this roster. The Cowboys are still going to push for a bowl game but don’t expect anything too crazy.
8. Iowa State Cyclones – Iowa State has 16 starters returning, including its entire offensive line and majority of its playmakers. Needless to say, the Cyclones should be a lot better at putting points on the board this season. Iowa State fans have a reason to be optimistic about what this season holds and has to believe there’s a chance the program returns to a bowl game. I’m still on the fence, but there’s clearly potential with this Cyclones roster.
9. West Virginia Mountaineers – West Virginia is still going through the transition stages of switching to a major conference, which would explain the four-win season last year. The Mountaineers do return 14 starters, which should help a defense that was 100th in points allowed and an offense that was 80th in points scored. Still, this is one of those wait and see situations, as West Virginia has to prove it can once again hang with the big boys.
10. Kansas Jayhawks – If this was basketball this ranking would be completely different. Since it’s football, the Jayhawks are once again at the bottom of the totem pole. Kansas hasn’t reached a bowl game since 2008 and has won no more than three games in each of the last four seasons. None of that is likely to change this season.