Thanks to everybody for your participation in our two-day poll festival. Here are the results, plus a few thoughts from yours truly.
These aren't scientific, of course, but can give us a decent indication of readers' thoughts.
Which is the biggest must-see game in the Big 12?
Oklahoma vs. Texas: 38 percent
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State: 33 percent
Comment: I was pretty surprised at this one. Personally, I leaned toward Bedlam or Texas A&M-OSU, but I never thought Red River would take the No. 1 spot. Perhaps the corny dogs, funnel cakes and fried Snickers had even more draw than I thought.
Red River consistently has one of, if not the best, atmospheres in the Big 12 from year to year. That's in part because of the 50/50 division of the crowd, but also because of the yearly stakes associated with the game. This year, those stakes might not be quite as high, but it would seem the fans have spoken.
Who is the Big 12's most disappointing team?
Texas: 43 percent
Texas A&M: 19 percent
Comment: I don't play the "hater" card often, if at all, but this poll reeks of the general, conference-wide disdain toward Texas that's only intensified since the realignment saga of last summer. It's hard to see Texas being any more disappointing than it was last season, and the expectations for this season's team are certainly a bit lower. Perhaps we define "disappointing" in different ways, but as someone who pegged the Longhorns to win 7-8 games next season, I'd be surprised if they disappointed beyond that.
Which team will be the biggest surprise?
Kansas State: 23 percent
Baylor: 22 percent
Texas Tech: 21 percent
Texas: 18 percent
Missouri: 17 percent
Comment: This was by far the closest poll, but I could see all five of these teams being factors late in the Big 12 race next season. The expectations are so low for Kansas State this season and the ceiling so high, they've been my pick for this poll since the offseason began. Baylor's defense has to be better, but the Bears are finally deep enough to make a run, it's just a matter of doing it.
Is Texas Tech ahead of schedule and good enough on offense to combine with a growing defense to exceed expecations? Plenty of you seem to think so.
Texas' potential is pretty obvious. Missouri's been written off after losing a quarterback, but the Tigers are good enough that James Franklin doesn't have to be transcendent -- he just has to be good -- for Missouri to have a real chance at winning the Big 12. Plenty of possible Cinderellas are lurking below the three contenders, and fans seem to have some confidence in all of them.
Who will win the Big 12?
Oklahoma: 61 percent
Texas/Oklahoma State: 12 percent
Comment: No questions here. I'm a little surprised to see Texas get more votes than A&M (even if it was just a few more), but clearly, the fans are buying in to what is some very well-deserved hype for Oklahoma, which has shown the ability over and over again to get the job done. Few stats in this league are more impressive to me than Oklahoma's "seven Big 12 titles with six quarterbacks." Landry Jones seems likely to make it eight with six after this season.
Which Big 12 coach needs to win the most?
Mack Brown, Texas: 42 percent
Turner Gill, Kansas: 23 percent
Comment: I stand by what I said earlier this spring: Mack Brown could win four games this season and the choice to return would still be his. When you've done what Brown has done (national title, nine consecutive 10-win seasons), you deserve a pretty long leash.
So "winning" in this case isn't so much about job preservation for Brown as much as it's about legacy preservation. Another season like last year and I do think Brown's tenure at Texas could begin to take on a whole new color -- and not a welcome one.
For Gill, the only way I see him not returning in 2012 is if his team is significantly worse this season than it was last season. And if you watched Kansas last season, that seems near impossible. I still think it'll be at least another year before KU gets back in a bowl game, but Gill signed a nice recruiting class in February and if the Jayhawks can find a quarterback some time soon, they'll make a nice jump.