Thursday, July 18, 2013
Thoughts on the Big 12 preseason poll
By David Ubben
You can see the full Big 12 preseason poll here, but here are a few thoughts on what will surely be a major topic of conversation at next week's media days in Dallas.
- The biggest surprise is Texas, which very well could start the season higher in the polls than any team in the Big 12, being picked fourth in the Big 12. That said, I wouldn't be too fired up about that. The bottom line is, the gap between being picked first and fourth in the Big 12 was 28 points, and the gap between those teams will be similar in the national polls. You can make a case for Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, TCU or Texas in any order, but I wouldn't expect more than seven or eight spots to separate those four teams in the national polls. I wouldn't categorize Texas being picked fourth as disrespect -- these teams are really, really close.
- Crunch the math this way: The gap between the fourth and fifth teams in the poll is almost twice as big (55 points) as the gap between No. 1 and No. 4 (28 points).
- K-State fans will have their annual outrage heard. Being picked sixth last year was silly and I wrote as much. I picked them to finish in a tie for second. Sixth this season makes sense, but look at it this way, Wildcats fans: That still may leave you in the top 25. It almost certainly will after you coast through a laughable nonconference slate. And hey, the Cats got a first-place vote. Bill Snyder joked that he'd pick his team 99th at last year's media days. I'm looking forward to what he has to say this year.
- Two big firsts this year: This is the first time that more than half of the conference has received votes to win the league. (The Big 12 had divisions before 2011 so it's a small sample size.) It's also the first time Baylor has received votes to win the league. It got two.
- Oklahoma at No. 2 feels really high to me, and mostly based on reputation. I have big questions about Oklahoma's youth on defense. The Sooners have been picked to win the league in each of the past two seasons.
- Chalk up West Virginia's drop in the poll to an NFL talent drain and an uninspired Big 12 debut. The Mountaineers were picked to finish second last year, but a five-game losing streak erased the memory of a 5-0 start and a top-10 ranking. With a struggling defense and without Geno Smith, Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey coming back from a 7-6 team, don't be surprised at the Mountaineers' spot.
- Tomorrow morning, I'll release the ballot I turned into the league.