Before the BCS title game got started earlier this week, I asked you to weigh in with your thoughts on the Big 12's best hope to bring home a championship in 2013.
It's a long shot, admittedly, with the odds against a Big 12 team cracking the 2013 preseason top 10. Still, I heard you loud and clear in one of our most popular polls of the year.
The winner? Oklahoma State, with 27 percent of the vote. Texas came in second, with 24 percent. Oklahoma was third, with 22 percent, followed by Baylor and TCU with 14 and 13 percent of the vote, respectively.
I'm not all that surprised by the results, which don't seem very skewed by fan-base size, but whom would I pick?
Hear me out on this. It's about upside, not about where these teams are right now. Oklahoma State is the most solid team heading into next season, the team least likely to disappoint in my book. You have to have a lot of upside, though, to win a BCS title coming out of next season's Big 12, with its low expectations, and for me, the Big 12 team with the most potential is TCU. The Horned Frogs very possibly could have one of the top three offenses in the league, and the best defense. Of course, all of this is predicated upon Casey Pachall's return and subsequent success and playing like his old self, but the Frogs do what BCS title teams do.
They win the line of scrimmage. TCU can run the ball and can stretch the field with a consistent passing game (or it could when Pachall was there early in the season, anyway). TCU still hasn't navigated a Big 12 schedule with huge success, and could still have growing pains. A disappointing year with a lot of potential is really possible.
For me, though, TCU looks like the Big 12 team most capable of putting together a complete season and stringing together an unlikely run to a BCS title.
I'd probably go with Texas as my No. 2 for the same reasons, though I'm betting Pachall is likely better than David Ash next season, and the two teams' running games may be equal. You win games in this league with offense, but you win this league with a big offense and a really good defense. When you win this league, even if you don't play for a national title, you're probably going to be really, really close, as Kansas State and Oklahoma State showed us the past two seasons.
Oklahoma State would be my No. 3 on this list, with Oklahoma ahead of Baylor below those two.
How would you rank them?