Friday, May 6, 2011
Big 12 post-spring Power Rankings
By David Ubben
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners will gladly carry the burden of national title favorite into the season. With an experienced offensive line returning, along with All-America receiver Ryan Broyles and quarterback Landry Jones, Oklahoma's offense will be one of the nation's best.
2. Oklahoma State: The best season in school history still ended without a Big 12 title. Playmaking quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon are among the nine starters back on offense hoping to build off an 11-win campaign in 2010.
3. Texas A&M: The Wrecking Crew loses its leader in Von Miller, but Ryan Tannehill was one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country at the end of the season and he keeps game-breaking receiver Jeff Fuller. We'll find out in the fall whether the Aggies have truly turned a corner under Mike Sherman.
4. Missouri: For the first time perhaps ever under Gary Pinkel, Missouri's strongest unit could be its defense, specifically a talented, deep defensive line. Experienced running backs and receivers should help whoever wins the fall competition to replace Blaine Gabbert.
5. Baylor: If the Bears are going to be any better than seven wins in 2011, they'll have to do it with defense. Charged with making it happen? New coordinator Phil Bennett. Multitalented quarterback Robert Griffin III returns with one of the Big 12's deepest receiving corps.
6. Texas Tech: There are lots of new faces on offense for the Red Raiders, who lost a pair of quarterbacks, their starting running back and top two receivers. Last season's struggles for a young secondary should pay off this time around.
7. Texas: The Longhorns have to find offensive weapons fast and can't lay all the responsibility on freshman running back Malcolm Brown. The defense is stout, despite an inexperienced secondary, while a three-man quarterback competition should dominate fall camp.
8. Kansas State: The Wildcats have a quarterback competition of their own, but the focus from fans this fall will be on impact transfers Bryce and Arthur Brown. The K-State defense will have to improve under coordinator Chris Cosh to make a bowl game for second consecutive year.
9. Iowa State: This team is getting better, but the schedule isn't getting any easier. The Cyclones will be breaking in a new quarterback and will have to spring a few upsets to qualify for a bowl.
10. Kansas: The Jayhawks looked to upgrade their speed this spring. Linebacker Huldon Tharp will help the defense, but whether KU will be competitive in 2011 remains to be seen. Eight of the nine losses in 2010 were by double digits and five were by more than 20 points.