It seems with every passing year that the offseason gets longer, but we finally made it. The Cowboys kick off on Thursday marking the start of the 2015-2016 season for the Big 12. The staff at CRFF ranks the Big 12 every week and this week there were no big surprises. Let's play some football.
The Horned Frogs enter this year as our Big 12 favorite. No surprise really as they return a lot of players and have a Heisman contender in quarterback Trevone Boykin. The Horned Frogs have a test right out of the gate as they travel to Minnesota Thursday night.
The Bears come in not far behind TCU as Big 12 frontrunners. They bring almost everyone back for a defense that could be the best in the league, one that is certainly loaded with NFL talent. With Baylor you can always expect high powered offense but a lot will hinge on Bryce Petty's replacement, Seth Russell. The Bears don't face any real competition until conference play.
3. Oklahoma State
The optimism around CRFF about this OSU season is high. The Cowboys bring back pretty much the whole team from last year with a year of experience under their belt. Mason Rudolph highlights a potentially explosive offense and Emmanuel Ogbah headlines a defense that could be the best in the Mike Gundy era.
Oklahoma is coming off a disappointing season and is primed to make a bounce back. The defense will need to show a lot of improvement over what we saw at the end of last season. The offense looks to be revitalized with Lincoln Riley at the helm and Baker Mayfield at QB. Plus it doesn't hurt that OU may have the best backfield in the nation. We'll learn a lot about this team after their week 2 showdown with Tennessee.
5. West Virginia
Dana Holgerson always puts quality
couch burners teams on the field that are good for one or two shocking victories a year. With a highly talked about and touted defense the Mountaineers will look to turn those shocking victories to expected ones to contend in the Big 12.
6. Kansas State
Bill Synder is a magician, there is no other way to describe him. With no decided quarterback the Wildcats will still probably cause some trouble for one of the teams in the upper half of the league. Constantly bringing in solid players and getting the best out of them, the Wildcats should be decent this year. They certainly could make a push to be in the top half of the league.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Texas at 7th is kind of shocking. With no true threat at QB, Texas will rely heavily on a VERY young defense. Texas has a lot of talent on it's roster, but not a lot of experience. The Longhorns are probably at least a year away from pushing for a Big 12 title. They have a very tough non-conference schedule that should gives us an outlook on Charlie Strong's team this year.
8. Texas Tech
The tortilla throwers don't come into this year with very high expectations as they are yet to name a starting quarterback. Kingsbury needs to show some improvement in this years team to gain some stability and get the program going in the right direction. One thing is for sure though, they are going to give someone who has to travel to Lubbock a run for their money and possibly steal an upset win.
9. Iowa State
I honestly don't really know where Paul Roads has this program going. They seem to have this spot reserved, just above Kansas but below everyone else. Iowa State is good for a big upset every couple of years, is this one of those years?
You almost feel bad for first year head coach Clint Bowen. This team has been stricken with injuries and the roster seems to get thinner by the day. You hope this team gets a win out of conference, because it does not look like it will get one in it.