Game. Week. Enough said, right? It’s time to put all the craziness of this past college football offseason in our collective rearview mirrors and get on with the games. On that note, I roll out another season of the The Thirsty Beagle Big 12 (Lack of) Power Poll. Maybe this year they’ll finally include my rankings in the final BCS standings? If the somewhat-cloaked-in-mystery Harris Poll is used, why not me? Some bookkeeping before I get started: I’d like to thank Colorado and Nebraska for high-tailing it out of the conference and leaving me with two less teams to rank. Who wants more work? Not me. Now if Texas A&M will get out of Dodge, things will be even easier. On to the rankings:
1. Kansas (3-9 last year): You know how they say the bigger they are the harder they fall? Serves you right for hiring Mark Mangino as coach (Oooooh snap!). Seriously though, Kansas has fallen on hard times following the Orange Bowl trip a few years ago. I think the Jayhawks will show excellent (lack of) power this year, too.
2. Texas A&M(9-4 last year): Yes, A&M has more talent than this spot indicates. But really, I’m just sick of hearing the name R. Bowen Loftin. I’m sick of the idea that this guy is orchestrating the possible break-up of the Big 12. Moving on.
3. Iowa State (5-7 last year): However far you can fall from 5-7, I think Iowa State is poised for a fall this year. Browsing over the Cyclones schedule, I could see them losing nine or 10 games this year.
4. Texas (5-7 last year): Most people are slotting the Longhorns somewhere in or near the top 25 this preseason, which I think is crazy. This is a team that lost to Iowa State AND Baylor in the same season. AT HOME! You can’t tell me the players will all the sudden be a million times better this year. And don’t make any mistakes: Texas’ problem last year was the players were not very good. Coaching and attitude changes only cover up so much.
5. Baylor(7-6 last year): I’m not drinking the Baylor Kool-aid. Further, I’m really not drinking the Robert Griffin III Kool-aid. How in the name of everything holy did Rivals pick him as the Big 12 preseason first-team quarterback?! I just re-watched the OSU-Baylor game from last year and Griffin was terrible passing the ball. And that was against one of the worst pass defenses in the conference. And the apparent dynamic dual-threat QB could barely escape the grasps of OSU’s lumbering defensive tackles. Give me a break.
6. Kansas State (7-6 last year): Can Kansas State continue its improbable run of success against Texas this year? Maybe, if Texas sucks at football again. Which is possible.
7. Texas Tech (8-5 last year): Tech looks to me like the wild card team of the 2011 Big 12 season. They could go 4-8 or 8-4 and I wouldn’t be surprised.
8. Missouri (10-3 last year): Missouri posted perhaps the quietest 10-win season of all time last year. If not for an inexplicable loss to a Texas Tech team that went 3-5 in Big 12 play, the Tigers could have found their way into the Big 12 title game. Don’t sleep on this team this year.
9. Okahoma State(11-2 last year): There’s a lot I love about this team. The offense should average 40-plus a game. The defensive backfield and linebackers corps has more speed than probably ever. The kicker’s nailing 62-yarders in practice with his teammates barking wildly at him from three feet away. The defensive line is even shaping up better than expected. But…
10. Oklahoma (12-2 last year): …OSU has to actually reach the peak before they can claim to have climbed a mountain. And that means beating OU, which should also average 40-plus a game and bring speed on defense. Will OU trip up at Florida State? Will the shake-up at linebacker come back to bite them? Let’s tee this sucker up and find out!