Friday, July 8, 2011
ESPN.com's Big 12 preseason ballot
By ESPN.com staff
This morning, I revealed my ballot for the All-Big 12 team. Finally, here's my preseason Big 12 ballot.
Now, this I do see as a prediction, not as a power ranking. I don't view the preseason ballot as a ranking of the teams now, but more a prediction of where they'll finish.
So, with that considered, here's how I placed them:
You can make a strong case for Alabama as the nation's No. 1, and I could see four other teams winning the Big 12, but entering the season, you can't make a case that any Big 12 team is better than Oklahoma. I think at season's end, that will still be true.
2. Texas A&M
The Aggies' offense is on par with OSU's but they'll ascend to No. 2 because of their defense. However, the trip to Norman will be too difficult for A&M to win the Big 12.
3. Oklahoma State
OSU falters against the top two teams in the Big 12, but still wins 10 games and earns a Cotton Bowl berth.
Missouri's a good team, but one with a first-year starter at quarterback ultimately isn't going to rule the Big 12. Has to be hard for Tigers fans not to wonder "What if Blaine Gabbert had stuck around?"
There's no way Baylor can finish higher than Texas, right? It hasn't done that since like, 2010. Defense is better, but not good enough to make sure the Bears are a real Big 12 contender in November.
Longhorns O still struggles, but Mack Brown gets back to the postseason.
7. Texas Tech
This feels way, way low for the Red Raiders, but a few bounces of the ball in tight games will decide this. I could see Tech climbing as high as fourth in the Big 12, but not falling any lower than 7th.
8. Kansas State
Arthur Brown is better than people think, and Bryce Brown won't be quite as good. Collin Klein? About what they expect. The new Big 12 makes Kansas State a victim and the Wildcats miss the postseason.
9. Iowa State
Iowa State's not there yet, but should be better next season with more experience at the skill positions.
Kansas isn't as dreadful as it was in 2010, but the Jayhawks will struggle to win more than three games in 2011, even though they're more competitive this time around.