Below is a run through of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine’s preseason power rankings of the Big 12 conference, as well as a brief overlook at each program.
Teams’ 2018 records are in parentheses.
1. Oklahoma (12-2, 8-1)
2. Texas (10-4, 7-2)
3. Iowa State (8-5, 6-3)
4. Baylor (7-6, 4-5)
5. TCU (7-6, 4-5)
6. Oklahoma State (7-6, 3-6)
7. West Virginia (8-4, 6-3)
8. Texas Tech (5-7, 3-6)
9. Kansas State (5-7, 3-6)
10. Kansas (3-9, 1-8)
Overview: Oklahoma has enjoyed the services of signal callers like 2018 NFL Rookie of the Year nominee Baker Mayfield and 2019 first overall NFL draft pick Kyler Murray in recent history.
The program’s string of effective signal callers looks poised to continue with former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts leading the offense.
Coupled with the leadership of Head Coach Lincoln Riley, who has amassed a 24-4 record at Oklahoma, and the Sooners feel poised for another exceptional campaign.
Texas came away with a 28-21 win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl earlier this year after clinching a berth in the 2018 Big 12 championship game (Oklahoma won, 39-27).
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger put together a great body of work for the Longhorns, completing nearly 65 percent of his passes for 3,292 yards and a 25-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio, running for 482 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns and setting the Big 12 record for consecutive pass attempts without an incompletion.
Iowa State suffered some notable attrition after last season, losing running back David Montgomery and wide receiver Hakeem Butler to the NFL.
On the flip side, the Cyclones return eight defensive starters (including six seniors), giving Head Coach Matt Campbell some roster consistency at least on that side of the ball.
Baylor potentially has its man under center in Charlie Brewer, who completed almost 62 percent of his passes for 3,019 yards and a 19-to-9 TD-to-INT ratio in 2018.
Of course, throwing to talented wideouts Chris Platt and Denzel Mims does not hurt either.
Defensively, Baylor gave up too many big plays a year ago.
The Bears must find a way to neutralize opponents’ home run plays.
TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson is an outlier among Power Five schools in Texas.
Excluding the Horned Frogs, the state’s other four Power Five programs have gone through 17 collective coaching changes since Patterson took over in 2000.
In that same time, Patterson’s Horned Frogs have had their fair share of success, coming out on top in big bowl games and conference championship games alike.
Combined with the team’s strong defensive play a year ago, and TCU’s 7-6 finish in 2018 feels strange.
Nonetheless, a stout defensive line featuring Corey Bethley, Terrell Cooper and Ross Blacklock as well as an equally staunch back end headlined by strong safety Innis Gaines, and the Horned Frogs can potentially get back in conference contention.
Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace had a monster season a year ago, accumulating 1,491 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 86 catches.
He should pair well with whoever lines up under center for the Cowboys, whether that ends up being Hawaii transfer Dru Brown or Spencer Sanders.
Defensively, the Cowboys’ picture looks less clear, as the unit was ranked No. 112 nationally by sports blogging network SB Nation.
West Virginia suffered major attrition, losing quarterback Will Grier as well as defenders David Long, Kenny Bigelow and Dravon Askew-Henry, a situation new Head Coach Neal Brown must find a way to resolve.
Texas Tech is under new leadership in Head Coach Matt Wells, who has already begun installing a new offensive look from the Raiders’ traditional Air Raid look.
At the same time, Texas Tech running backs averaged only 3.6 yards per carry last season.
Kansas State stands as yet another Big 12 program in transition.
The team hired former North Dakota State Coach Chris Klieman.
At the very least, Klieman brings a proven track record of success, having won four national titles in five years with the Bison.
The Kansas State Jayhawks have two conference wins since 2015.
Major changes are needed and will likely take a decent amount of time to bear fruit.