Strength of new Big 12 on display in poll

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
1:00
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Time will tell how much tougher the Big 12 got with the additions of TCU and West Virginia.

For 2012, though, the difference is clear.

The Big 12 added the nation's No. 11 (Mountaineers) and No. 17 teams (TCU), according to the most recent USA Today coaches' poll.

Missouri? The Tigers are nowhere to be found on the poll, receiving just three votes. Texas A&M received 28 to finish outside the Top 25, too.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 had six teams in the Top 25 poll to begin the season, setting the stage for what should be a brutal run in 2012.

The SEC took up half the spots in the top 10 and edged the Big 12 out with seven teams in the top 25, but the Big 12 was second with its total of six.

As for where those teams will begin 2012? Oklahoma is about right at No. 4, the Big 12's only top-10 team. The SEC had five teams in the top 10, including the top two teams, LSU and Alabama.

West Virginia seems a touch low at 11, but the Mountaineers have plenty to prove. They'll have plenty of chances to climb in the Big 12, where Top 25 opponents will be on the schedule just about every other week, as opposed to the Big East, where they were a rarity. West Virginia's played just eight teams in the Top 25 since 2008.

K-State? Feel free to cry disrespect once again. You've got every right to do so. The Wildcats are two spots behind Oklahoma State, despite bringing back the core of last year's 10-win team. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, will have to adjust to life without two of the Big 12's best players, Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.

Disrespect? Absolutely.

Texas checked in at No. 15, which is a couple of spots higher than I expected, but not really what I'd describe as "too high." When you've got one of the nation's saltiest defenses, that's going to earn respect. The running game will be solid, too, but Texas is no doubt a top 5-10 team if David Ash proves to be among the top half of the Big 12's quarterbacks.

That's a big ask. We'll see if he does it.

Here's the full poll for the Big 12:

4. Oklahoma
11. West Virginia
15. Texas
17. TCU
19. Oklahoma State
21. Kansas State


Others receiving votes:
31. Baylor (23 votes)
47. Texas Tech (one vote)

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