Monday, August 1, 2011
A bird's-eye view of each Big 12 position
By David Ubben
We wrapped up our team position rankings a little over a week ago, and we've already started ranking the top 10 players at each position, but based on my rankings, it's time to take a look at what you can expect from your team this year.
The team is followed by its cumulative position ranking, which is simply an average of all the position rankings.
1. Oklahoma -- 2.13
The Sooners came out on top in four of the eight positions, the most of any team in the Big 12. That's not a surprise for the likely preseason No. 1.
2. Oklahoma State -- 2.88
The Cowboys topped two position groups, but have a clear weakness at defensive line. Considering the team's biggest strength may be offensive line, fall camp should be good for the group, especially its pair of inexperienced defensive tackles on the line's interior.
3. Texas A&M -- 3.13
Impressive showing for Texas A&M, which finished in the top five of every single position group, but topped only the running backs. Oklahoma was the only other school to finish in the top five at every position. I was a little surprised that when it all added up, the Aggies finished behind Oklahoma State. I picked Texas A&M second in the Big 12. The Aggies ought to get some extra points for how much better their running backs are than any other team's in the Big 12.
4. Missouri -- 4.25
Missouri lacks a lot of big-time star power, but if you can win the line of scrimmage -- and the Tigers should be able to on both sides of the ball this year -- you're going to see success.
5. Texas -- 5.63
Texas' imbalance in favor of the defensive side of the ball is obvious, outside of some inexperience at corner. The Longhorns are green at every position on offense, which has to improve fast for Texas to be any kind of factor in the Big 12 race. This flipped vs. my preseason poll, as well. I had Baylor No. 5 and Texas No. 6, followed by Texas Tech. The order is obviously different here.
6. Texas Tech -- 6.25
Texas Tech has a lot more balance, but not many elite talents and like I've said several times, its youth may provide for a quiet run at the Big 12 title in 2012.
7. Baylor -- 6.75
Like I've said for a while, Baylor really is an inverse of Texas in a lot of ways, with their talent heavily stacked on offense, rather than defense. Phil Bennett's work is cut out for him. Baylor, like Texas, has the athletes to improve throughout 2011, but it won't be easy for either team.
8. Iowa State -- 7.88
Iowa State got a nice boost with it's big strength at linebacker, but I think Kansas State is the better team overall, by a decent margin. Not how it added up, though.
9. Kansas State -- 8.00
Heck of a lot of No. 8s for the Wildcats, who I do think have a lot of upside, but ultimately, a team I see missing the postseason with a five-win season. It's a little comical that the math ended up being so "octally-inclined." I'm unsure if that's a word (pretty sure it's not), but you can deal with it.
10. Kansas -- 8.13
Kansas' total position rankings are better than it might have seemed when you consider the 2010 season, but the biggest strengths are definitely running back and linebacker for the Jayhawks, where they have considerable depth. Kansas will be a run-first team and recently made the switch to a 3-4 defense. Both good decisions.