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Should Texas A&M be the Big 12 favorite?

4/5/2011

Oklahoma enters the season as the consensus favorite to win the Big 12, but colleague KC Joyner says Texas A&M has the edge to win the conference and, perhaps, the national title.

Joyner gives an in-depth analysis of four reasons why Texas A&M should get consideration as a Big 12 title contender, rather than Oklahoma. You'll need ESPN Insider to read the full article, and I'd suggest you do it, but here's an outline of what Joyner sees.

1. The quarterbacks.

  • Ryan Tannehill put up a quarterback rating similar to what Landry Jones had, but Tannehill's numbers came against three ranked teams and two other games were on the road. Tannehill, who switched from receiver to full-time quarterback, also limited his mistakes late in the season that suggested major progress.

2. Proven skill position playmakers

3. Returning starters

  • Texas A&M has 19 t0 Oklahoma's 17. Joyner concedes that replacing Von Miller is a tough task, but notes that Oklahoma lost three of its top five tacklers, and only six players from Texas A&M's entire two-deep are gone.

4. Favorable schedule

  • Texas A&M only plays four true road games, and three come against teams who combined to go 9-15 in Big 12 play last year. Joyner doesn't note that the fourth is at Oklahoma, who has lost just one Big 12 game in Norman under Bob Stoops, which could make owning a tiebreaker a tough task.

  • Oklahoma has five road games, including two against top 10-15 teams in Florida State and rival Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M, like Oklahoma, has one of the league's best home-field advantages.

So, what do you think? A good case for Texas A&M to get some more serious consideration as a favorite in the Big 12?