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Monday, December 8, 2008
Big 12 rankings: Sooners aiming to reclaim national luster


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here's a look at my Big 12 power rankings, heading into the bowl games.

1. Oklahoma -- The most dominant offense in Big 12 history -- even if Bob Stoops kept his starters in too long to prove it against Missouri. The Sooners' defense is starting to grow some fangs, too. But they still have a lot of work before heading to huge BCS title game in reshaping their national image.

2. Texas -- Just missed playing in the BCS title game. Oh well, the airplane banners were fun the last few weeks or so. And it should give them a lot of inspiration heading into the Fiesta Bowl.

3. Texas Tech -- Their two best offensive weapons are banged up and their coach seems to be in limbo. Other than that, everything's coming up Cotton for the Red Raiders.

4. Oklahoma State -- Prepare for points and bucks. A lot of them on both sides. The Holiday Bowl not only will feature a battle between megabuck donors Phil Knight and T. Boone Pickens, but also should keep the scoreboard operators hopping in San Diego.

5. Missouri -- Tigers can still win 10 games this season. That was Chase Daniel's battle cry after the Oklahoma loss, but they need something to get back on track after their championship game blowout. Or else, it could be another bad trip to San Antonio.

6. Kansas -- The gritty Jayhawks shouldn't encounter many problems in the Insight Bowl against a Minnesota team that struggles running the ball collapsed with four straight losses down the stretch.

7. Nebraska -- Hey, I almost had a change of heart about the Cornhuskers. Bo Pelini's team can win me and even more converts by playing well on New Year's Day again. And it's even more promising for them considering they'll be facing a Clemson team whose defensive coordinator quit last week.

8. Colorado -- If any team could have used the extra bowl practice the next few weeks, it could have been the Buffaloes. But the time off will give them a chance to get healthy and ready for the spring.

9. Baylor -- It will be interesting this spring if Robert Griffin reconsiders his plans to run track in order to concentrate on football. Because he could turn into a monster if he dedicated himself simply to one sport -- or the other.

10. Kansas State -- Bill Snyder's staff is taking shape. Now the real work begins as he attempts to convince Josh Freeman to stay for one more year.

11. Texas A&M -- It will be a tough rebuilding job for Mike Sherman as the rest of the South Division might be competing at the highest level in history.

12. Iowa State -- Chizik's retooled staff will have much to work on over the winter. But the North Division should be competitive next season and experience should give them a chance.