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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Let's put a capper on the 2008 season. Here are my final rankings after the bowl games featuring Big 12 teams:
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|Colt McCoy and the Longhorns capped a 12-1 season with a win in the Fiesta Bowl.|
1. Texas -- Could the Longhorns have done better against Florida in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game? We'll never know, but the speculation will always be delicious.
2. Oklahoma -- Another BCS loss, another hit on Bob Stoops' once-formidable "big-game" reputation. And his offense could take a huge hit if Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham declare for the NFL draft.
3. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders' greatest season tarnished by late blowout loss at Oklahoma and the lack of in-game adjustments against Mississippi. But the memories of the Harrell-to-Crabtree era will be among the best in school history.
4. Oklahoma State -- I still think the Holiday Bowl would have turned out differently if Dez Bryant hadn't gotten hurt. But the lack of a running game ultimately doomed the Cowboys against Oregon.
5. Missouri -- Hard to say that another North title and a 10-win season should be classified as a disappointment. But the Tigers underachieved, considering their lofty preseason expectations.
6. Nebraska -- The Cornhuskers go into the offseason with as much momentum as any Big 12 team after a stirring Gator Bowl comeback. And the return of Ndamukong Suh sets them up nicely for 2009 -- if coach Bo Pelini can find a quarterback.
7. Kansas -- What a difference a schedule makes. This Jayhawk team likely wasn't that much worse than the 2007 squad, but just played harder opponents.
8. Colorado -- Dan Hawkins' bold 10-2 pronouncement for next season is interesting. Maybe he knows something about his son the quarterback that the rest of us don't.
9. Kansas State -- Losing Josh Freeman set back Bill Snyder's reclamation a little, although I still expect the Wildcats to challenge for a bowl trip next season. And the hiring of Andy Ludwig as his offensive coordinator was a master stroke.
10. Baylor -- Didn't miss a bowl trip by as much as their record indicated. But their road Big 12 conference schedule will be more difficult next season, even with another year of experience for Robert Griffin.
11. Texas A&M -- The Aggies finished without a victory over any South Division foe -- a lowlight that won't be easily swallowed by the program's fiercest loyalists. But Jerrod Johnson and the receivers at least provide a foundation to start rebuilding.
12. Iowa State -- Jamie Pollard's hiring of Paul Rhoads hasn't been as lauded as he was when Gene Chizik arrived two seasons ago. But Rhoads looks like he's there for the long haul -- which might be what the program ultimately needs.