Despite not meeting expectations in recent seasons, the Longhorns find themselves among the highest-ranked Big 12 teams. No team in college football is returning more than the 19 starters Texas brings back, including a stout backfield and quarterback David Ash. The Longhorns will be favored in most games this season, and Las Vegas is giving them 11-2 odds to win the Big 12. “The Eyes of Texas” may be upon us once more.
2. Oklahoma State
According to the Big 12 media preseason poll, the Cowboys will win the Big 12. But with question marks at the quarterback position and a new defensive coordinator, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys overcoming the obstacles that will prevent them from winning the conference.
The Frogs have a good returning cast, but a starting quarterback position has yet to be named, although a seemingly contrite Casey Pachall, who de-enrolled and complete a drug rehab program last year, is the favorite to win the job. If their young core can gel around a deserving quarterback, the Frogs will have a great shot at winning a Big 12 title and could compete for a national title.
As long as Bob Stoups is holding the reigns, Oklahoma will be in the hunt for a Big 12 title. Whether Blake Bell, aka “Belldozer”, can give the Sooners the passing attack that will take them over the hump remains to be seen, but expect them to be at the very top of the title hunt.
Bryce Petty has been receiving high praise after waiting years for his chance at the starting quarterback position. And running back Lache Seastrunk, who the media picked as the Big 12 offensive preseason player of the year, believes he can win the Heisman. Whether the potential will meet the on-field product has yet to be seen.
6. Texas Tech
Newly hired Kliff Kingsbury is 33 years young, and this year he will be making his coaching debut. The Red Raiders will feature a new system, and a new quarterback, so expectation won’t be too high in 2013. Per usual though, look out for Texas Tech to have an upset on some Big12 opponent as they usually seem to do.
7. Iowa State
Head coach Paul Rhodes has had a couple of productive seasons at Iowa State. But with a younger team, it seems as if the Cyclones have a ways to go before proving they are legitimate Big 12 championship contenders. Don’t put it past them to spoil someone else’s season though.
8. West Virginia
The Mountaineers are known for fielding potent offenses, but with Geno Smith departing for the NFL, things aren’t looking as optimistic. Paired with a spotty defense, the Mountaineers will be at the bottom of the pack hoping to play spoiler for the rest of the conference.
9. Kansas State
A legitimate replacement for Collin Klein has yet to be found, and after a promising last few seasons, the Wildcats are now on the outside looking in. Look for Kansas State to begin their rebuilding process this year once their quarterback situation is resolved.
The most exciting thing for Kansas sports is happening on the basketball court with future NBA product and potential No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins. The Jayhawks aren’t traditionally known as a football school, and expectations in Lawrence are even lower coming into this season after going 1-11 last year.