- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The preseason college football magazines are back on newsstands, and they've reached a verdict on the Big 12.
TCU is the favorite to win the Big 12 in three out of of four annual preseason magazines and is ranked No. 2 nationally in each of those three. Defending co-champ Baylor also received a top-five ranking in three magazines.
A composite of the four magazines' conference rankings would put TCU at No. 1 followed in order by Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas. The mags sure have a lot of love for Trevone Boykin as a Heisman Trophy contender, too.
Here's what else we learned from skimming the summer prognostications:
Rankings: 1. TCU (2nd nationally), 2. Baylor (5th), 3. Oklahoma (18th), 4. Oklahoma State (28th), 5. Texas (33rd), 6. (tie) Kansas State and West Virginia, 8. Texas Tech, 9. Iowa State, 10. Kansas
All-Americans: Baylor DE Shawn Oakman, Oklahoma KR Alex Ross (first team); TCU QB Trevone Boykin, Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine, TCU WR Josh Doctson, Baylor WR Corey Coleman, Oklahoma LB Eric Striker, West Virginia S Karl Joseph (second team); Baylor OT Spencer Drango, Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma CB Zack Sanchez (third team); Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard, Texas Tech OT Le'Raven Clark, West Virginia K Josh Lambert (fourth team)
Playoff prediction: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 TCU, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 USC. Steele has the Buckeyes beating TCU in Glendale and Baylor against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
Heisman: Steele ranks Boykin as his No. 2 Heisman candidate behind USC's Cody Kessler. He's also riding with Kessler as his offensive player of the year and first-team All-American. That's a little bit of a gamble, eh? Perine is Steele's No. 9 candidate.
Position rankings: Steele's guide will forever be a cornucopia of lists, abbreviations and minutia. A few intriguing or even surprising choices in Steele's rankings of top individual units: Texas Tech is his No. 8 quarterbacks group, Baylor is his No. 2 WR group behind Oregon, Oklahoma has his No. 6 group of LBs, Texas has the strongest group of DBs in the Big 12 at No. 6 nationally and Kansas State (even without Tyler Lockett) is No. 3 in special teams.
Surprise: Steele has the Longhorns as his No. 7 most improved team in 2015, despite having one of the nation's 10 most difficult schedules in his rankings. Oklahoma is ranked No. 6 among his projected "surprise" teams.
Rankings: 1. TCU (2nd), 2. Baylor (5), 3. Oklahoma State (18), 4. Oklahoma (21), 5. Texas (34), 6. Kansas State (43), 7. West Virginia (36), 8. Texas Tech (47), 9. Iowa State (80), 10. Kansas (82)
All-Americans: Boykin, Drango, Oakman, Joseph (first team); Clark, Ogbah, Striker, Sanchez (second team)
Playoff prediction: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 TCU, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oregon
Heisman: Boykin is No. 1 because of TCU's "perfect marriage of offense and dual-threat athlete." Seth Russell listed as one of five top sleeper candidates.
Top coaches: Lindy's has five Big 12 coaches in the top 20 of their national rankings. Art Briles checks in at No. 3, Gary Patterson is No. 4, Bill Snyder is No. 8, Bob Stoops is 10th and Charlie Strong checks in at 20th.
Newcomer: Boykin as the Big 12's MVP and Shawn Oakman as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year were fairly obvious choices for the magazine's preseason honors. But Lindy's had a surprise selection for their newcomer of the year: Oklahoma State RB Todd Mays, the junor college transfer who could play a variety of roles.
Rankings: 1. Baylor (3rd), 2. TCU (5), 3. Oklahoma (17), 4. Oklahoma State (28), 5. Texas (33), 6. West Virginia (36), 7. Kansas State (44), 8. Texas Tech (48), 9. Iowa State (74), 10. Kansas (103)
Playoff prediction: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Auburn. So the Bears are slated to take on Alabama in this projection. Wouldn't that be fun? TCU, by the way, is slated for the Sugar Bowl against Georgia.
Heisman: Boykin is No. 2 behind Georgia sophomore RB Nick Chubb. Perine is No. 12 in their rankings.
QB battles: Athlon evaluated the top 14 quarterback competitions in the country and included Texas and Oklahoma. The mag projected Tyrone Swoopes and Baker Mayfield will emerge victorious in those battles.
Rankings: 1. TCU (2nd), 2. Baylor (7), 3. Oklahoma (20), 4. Texas, 5. Kansas State, 6. Oklahoma State, 7. West Virginia, 8. Texas Tech, 9. Iowa State, 10. Kansas
All-Americans: Baylor WR KD Cannon, Boykin, Drango, Ross (first team); Clark, Oakman, Striker, Joseph (second team)
Playoff prediction: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 TCU, No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Oregon. Sporting News is calling for TCU over Auburn and Ohio State over Oregon, then a Buckeye victory over the Horned Frogs. Baylor is slated for Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
Superlatives: In the Big 12's best-of categories, Sporting News named Drango the conference's top draft prospect. Oakman is conference's best overall athlete, Ogbah has best instincts and Shepard has the best hands. Kansas State's Glenn Gronkowski earned the finest honor of them all: Most likely to succeed off the field.
362dBrandon Chatmon, Max Olson and Jake Trotter