Oklahoma has won five straight Big 12 championships. Until the Sooners are dethroned, they’re a lock to sit atop the preseason power rankings. The biggest question mark for the Sooners is redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler. Although with how accurate recruiting rankings are these days, there is little doubt the top quarterback of his class will flourish in head coach Lincoln Riley’s system.
If not now, when? That’s the big question for the Longhorns as they enter 2020. The quest for relevance continues, and this season seems to be the best shot yet for the Longhorns to recapture the Big 12. Senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger has the experience and toughness to lead the Longhorns. With a reworked coaching staff under Tom Herman and recruiting depth stacking up, both sides of the ball should be improved this season.
3. Oklahoma State
After a headline-filled offseason resulting in some locker room tension between the players and Mike Gundy, the 16-year head coach is simply ready to play ball. Redshirt junior running back Chuba Hubbard, an early Heisman candidate, is back for another season after holding off on pursuing his eventual NFL career. Sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders has a year of development under his belt and a strong receiving core around him. This offense, like always, is prepared to fly.
4. Iowa State
If you watched College GameDay last Saturday, you would’ve seen Chris Fallica name Iowa State as his long shot to make the College Football Playoff this year. While I may not be quite so bullish on the Cyclones, I believe in junior quarterback Brock Purdy. Keep an eye out for the Cyclones.
It’s no question the loss of former head coach Matt Rhule is a big one. However, this is a team that made the Big 12 championship game last year and still has the pieces to be successful. If senior quarterback Charlie Brewer can stay healthy behind an offensive line that returns a pair of starters, it could be another good year for the Bears.
With the Horned Frogs’ annual Iron Skillet matchup against SMU being postponed due to COVID-19, we won’t get the chance to gauge TCU’s talent in Week 1. Could quarterback Max Duggan take a step forward in his sophomore campaign? Sure. Could he also throw a ton of picks? Also sure. We’ll see what happens.
7. Kansas State
Kansas State did a lot of things well last year. They controlled the clock and limited turnovers. One thing they couldn’t do enough of was score. Kansas State is still a work in progress under head coach Chris Klieman, but there is a solid framework from which to improve upon.
8. West Virginia
Like Kansas State, the Mountaineers are rebuilding. They looked decent toward the end of last season, particularly on defense, but they need further improvement for anyone to be excited about the Mountaineers. The running game is poor, and the offensive line is still a question mark.
9. Texas Tech
Name a relevant football player from Texas Tech over the past few years other than Patrick Mahomes. I had trouble thinking of any. It could be another rough year for the Red Raiders on the gridiron this fall. Keep your hopes on the hardwood for now, Raider fans.
Seeing head coach Les Miles take on the rebuild of perennial Big 12 bottom-feeder Kansas has been nothing short of entertaining. I was tempted to raise them up a spot on the rankings, but just couldn’t do it. Junior running back Pooka Williams Jr. is a great player with a great name, but don’t expect Kansas to win much this year.