Updated: Jul 7
As hard as it is to believe, we are right around 60 days to the start of the college football season. And as such, in the lead-up to SEC Media Days in late July, we felt like it was a good time to go and give you quick, league-by-league unofficial power rankings.
These are hardly official, as there is still some portal activity going on - and as we all know, a random scandal can pop up at any time (just ask Arizona State last summer). Still, now feels like a good time to reset everything that happened last year, and everything you need to know going into next year.
Last week, we did our mid-summer SEC Power Rankings - which I know everyone will agree with completely.
Now, it's time to turn our attention to the Big 12. In the final season of its current iteration (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF join next year), let's look at this league.
And be warned: Of the three conferences, this one is the most tight at the top for sure.
Also, odds to win the league are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook:
1. Oklahoma (+170): Oklahoma underwent massive changes this past off-season, starting with Lincoln Riley’s shocking exit to USC, but the Sooners hired Brent Venables to replace Riley, and Venables has a long history in Norman going back to their last National Championship win. Another big issue facing the Sooners is that there was a lot of roster turnover, leaving the Sooners with just nine total starters for the 2022 season. Jeff Lebby is the new offensive coordinator and is coaching his former quarterback from UCF, Dillon Gabriel. The wide receiving corps needs more depth, but Marvin Mims will be the go-to for Gabriel and one of the best receivers in the country. The running back stable is unproven but should be fine as well. The offensive line also needs to find some consistency too after not being as dominant last year. The defense will see some immediate improvement, but is lacking depth overall, and might need some time for Venables to fully get the talent he needs on that side of the ball. Oklahoma doesn’t have a very challenging non-conference schedule with a game at Nebraska being the biggest. They also have road games against Iowa State and West Virginia in conference. They play Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State at home and then their usual game in Dallas against Texas as well. I like the Sooners to win around 11 games, and not miss a beat under Brent Venables.
2. Baylor (+600): The reigning Big 12 champions come into this season with a lot more stability than some other teams. Dave Aranda’s team should be back to around where they were last year because of that alone. Defense was the Bears calling card last year, and while they lost a few players, the defensive line should be among the best in the country, and lead by Siaki Ika at nose tackle. The linebacking corps should be more than fine too, with it being led by Dillon Doyle. The secondary needs depth and will be the biggest question mark on the defense. Blake Shapen has taken the quarterback reigns from Gerry Bohannon, and the Bears should be fine there thanks to his apparent impressive showing in the spring. The Bears lost depth at receiver, so they need players to step up. The running back room needs to be restocked as well, but it should be fine. The offensive line should be among the best in all of college football which helps a ton. The Bears get BYU in the non-conference on the road and then get Oklahoma and Texas on the road in conference. They also get Oklahoma State and Kansas State at home. I like the Bears to win around 10 games this year, and Dave Aranda continues to establish himself as one of the best coaches in the country.
3. Oklahoma State (+550): The Cowboys had a great year last year, and were led by a dominant defense, and an offense that was efficient. Derek Mason comes in at defensive coordinator and inherits a defensive line that should be one of the best in the entire country. It’ll be led by Brock Martin and Collin Oliver. The linebacking corps should be fine but is just unproven. The biggest question mark is in the secondary. On offense, Spencer Sanders comes back to be the quarterback, after being named All-Big 12 First Team last year. Sanders needs to cut down on the interceptions for him and the offense to take the next step. The Cowboys have question marks at running back and wide receiver, but those needs should be addressed. They also have replaced two starters on their line as well. In the non-conference, Arizona State visits Stillwater, as well as Texas in the conference. The Cowboys also must travel to Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma in conference too. I think Oklahoma State wins around nine games and continues their success from last year as well.
4. Texas (+290): Last season was a huge disappointment in Steve Sarkisian’s first year as the head coach of the Longhorns, but Texas improved the roster in a big way, and should rebound this year. The defense was the biggest issue last year in Austin and while there are only four starters coming back, another year under defensive coordinator, Pete Kwiatkowski’s scheme should help. The keys to improvement lie with getting more pressure on the quarterback and then also getting more turnovers as well. On offense, Quinn Ewers should be the starter at quarterback, and he carries a lot of hype with him. The line will be a question mark and will be very unproven. The wide receivers are very talented and will be a big strength. The biggest strength of the team is having Bijan Robinson at running back. Robinson will be a lightning rod for Texas and will be a Heisman favorite as well. The schedule is manageable for Texas, but it starts off with a bang with the Longhorns getting Alabama at home in the non-conference, Oklahoma in Dallas and Baylor at home in conference. They also get Oklahoma State and Kansas State on the road in conference as well. I think the Longhorns win around eight games and should silence some critics of Coach Sarkisian.
5. Kansas State (+1600): The Wildcats are many people’s potential sleeper pick in the Big 12 and with good reason. On offense, the star will be Deuce Vaughn, he’s an all-purpose running back that will be a focus for every defense in the Big 12. Adrian Martinez comes into Manhattan as the new starting quarterback after transferring from Nebraska. To maximize his ability, Martinez will need to cut back on his turnovers, but offensive coordinator, Collin Klein should work well with him. The wide receivers will be fine, but still unproven. The line is also a big question mark for Chris Kleiman’s team, with the only area of consistency being Cooper Beebe. The defense has five starters coming back from a defense that was very good last season. The biggest question mark on defense is the secondary, which needs to be restocked with depth. The Wildcats get Missouri at home in the non-conference, and then Oklahoma State and Texas at home in conference. They also get Oklahoma and Baylor at home in conference too. I think Kansas State wins around seven games but has room to surprise and potentially win more.
6. Iowa State (+1600): The Cyclones disappointed a bit last year, but they still finished with a winning record. Matt Campbell has his work cut out for him this year, with only a total of eight starters coming back. Hunter Dekkers replaces Brock Purdy as the quarterback and Jirehl Brock replaces Breece Hall as the running back as well. The new backfield combination remains a question just because they replace two very productive players. The offensive line should be fortified well enough with three starters back as well, and the receivers should also be fine with Xavier Hutchinson leading the pack. There are questions all over the place with the defense, especially after the unit was very impressive last year. The line should be fine with Will McDonald leading the way. The linebacker should also be fine, but still unproven. The secondary will be the biggest question mark, that defensive coordinator, Jon Heacock. The Cyclones play Iowa for the Cy-Hawk trophy in Iowa City in the non-conference and then Texas and Oklahoma State on the road in conference. They also play Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma at home in conference too. I think the Cyclones are still primed for a winning season even after losing the production they did, and I think they win around seven games.
West Virginia (+3500): The 2022 season seems to be a make-or-break year for Head Coach, Neal Brown. The defense has been a stalwart for the Mountaineers recently, but this year the unit only has three starters returning. Dante Stills will be a huge advantage on the line for the Mountaineers. The linebackers and the secondary have the most inexperience, but the talent should still be there for defensive coordinator, Jordan Lesley. The offense also seems primed to take a big step forward. Georgia transfer, JT Daniels arrives to take the quarterback reigns for the Mountaineers while also having most of the offensive line returning to help Daniels stay upright. The running backs should be fine, and the wide receiving corps should be solid as well. The Mountaineers also have a new offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell, who should also help jumpstart the offense and has previous experience working with JT Daniels too. The Mountaineers have a tough schedule overall. In the non-conference, they get Pitt and Virginia Tech on the road, and then in conference they get Texas and Oklahoma State on the road in conference. They also have Baylor, Oklahoma, and Kansas State at home in conference too. I think the Mountaineers win around seven games still despite the hard schedule, and finish behind Iowa State due to the tiebreaker.
TCU (+1600): The Horned Frogs will have a new coach for the first time since 2000, with Gary Patterson stepping away. Sonny Dykes comes in from SMU and is very familiar with Texas overall. Max Duggan and Chandler Morris are competing for the quarterback job, and I’d expect Duggan to hang on to the reigns. The offensive line should be solid up front and should be a good foundation for whoever starts at quarterback. Even with the loss of Zachary Evans, the running back position should be fine, and the skill talent at wide receiver should be solid as well. Last year the defense struggled a lot, so the unit has a lot of question marks. The new defensive coordinator, John Gillespie, does have talent to work with on the defense, and seven starters come back for the unit as well. The line, linebackers, and secondary all have solid talent to build off, but the questions remain due to last year. The schedule is fine overall, with the Horned Frogs facing Colorado and SMU on the road in the non-conference, while also playing Texas and Baylor on the road in conference too. They also play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State at home in conference. I think the Horned Frogs win around six games and get back to a bowl game.
Texas Tech (+4500): Joey McGuire comes in to rebuild the Red Raiders from Baylor. New offensive coordinator, Zach Kittley, has a decision to make at quarterback, but Tyler Shough seems to be the front runner for now. The offensive line and wide receivers both need help after having some departures. The line only has two starters returning, so it needs different players to step up. The receiving corps is also losing a lot of production, so that might be the biggest question mark. The running back room is the biggest strength of the offense with SaRodorick Thompson and Tahj Brooks. Tim DeRuyter comes in to help a defense as the new defensive coordinator. The unit returns seven starters but needs improvement across the board. The line should be ok, but there are a lot of holes to fill at linebacker and in the secondary. The Red Raiders have a difficult schedule and get Houston in the non-conference at home, and then also get Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma at home in conference. They also have NC State on the road in the non-conference, and then Kansas State and Oklahoma State on the road in conference. I think Texas Tech wins around five games and just misses the cut for a bowl game.
Kansas (+30000): The Jayhawks might finally be on the right track under Lance Leipold, but the rebuilding project is still there. The program returns 16 starters overall and could take another step forward from there. Jalon Daniels coms back to quarterback the offense, and the running backs are solid with Devin Neal and Ky Thomas. The offensive line is a question mark and so is the wide receiving corps. They both need players to step up. The defense needs to continue major improvement after being last in the conference last year. The linebackers are a bit of a question mark, but the defensive line and the secondary should improve with talent additions that were needed. The Jayhawks have a tough schedule with Houston on the road in the non-conference and then they have Oklahoma, Baylor, and Kansas State on the road in conference. They also have Duke at home in the non-conference, and then Oklahoma State and Texas at home in the conference. I think the Jayhawks win around four games, and show continued improvement for a program that needs it.
To read our mid-summer SEC preview click here
And for full Big 12 odds via DraftKings, click here
Follow Jake Faigus on Twitter - @Jake_Faigus
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN).
*21+ (18+ WY). AZ/CO/IL/IN/IA/MI/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Min $5 deposit. Min $5 wager. Eligibility restrictions apply.
See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.