A preview of the final Big 12 football standings


West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scrambles for a long run between Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) and Kansas linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. (47) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scrambles for a long run between Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) and Kansas linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. (47) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Time to fill out my ballot predicting the order of finish in the Big 12 football standings in advance of Big 12 Media Days (July 16 and 17 in Frisco, Texas):

1 - Oklahoma: Picking anyone else would require having a compelling reason to do so. The Sooners survived the retirement of coach Bob Stoops with a great 2017 season and there is no reason to believe they won’t do the same in the first season without Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Oakland A’s first-round draft choice Kyler Murray replaces Mayfield and is among the fastest players in college football.

2 - West Virginia: The Mountaineers have a lot of experience on both sides of the line of scrimmage and a superstar at the most important position. Quarterback Will Grier led West Virginia to a 7-3 record and the team went winless in the final three games without him.

3 - TCU: The Horned Frogs should be tough on defense, but they’re breaking in a new staring quarterback in Shawn Robinson, who will be protected by an offensive line that lost four starters.

4 - Kansas State: Cornerback D.J. Reed and receiver Byron Pringle left early for the NFL draft and depth took a hit with a number of transfers, but the Wildcats tend to be better on the field than on paper most years, so don’t overlook them. The offensive tackle tandem of Scott Frantz and Dalton Risner is as good as any in the nation and coach Bill Snyder will know how to make the most of the talented quarterback tandem of Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton.

5 - Texas: I suspect many are getting too excited too quickly about the Longhorns under second-year head coach Tom Herman. He’s upgrading recruiting. Rivals ranked Texas No. 3 in the Class of 2018, but in football it takes a few years for recruiting classes to make a major impact. Herman has two good quarterbacks from which to choose in junior Shane Buechele and sophomore Sam Ehlinger. But wouldn’t you rather have one great quarterback, as does West Virginia, than two good ones?

6 - Oklahoma State: Mason Rudolph and favorite target James Washington shredded Big 12 defenses for what seemed like decades. They’re both with the Pittsburgh Steelers now. Fifth-year senior Taylor Cornelius was the most impressive in the spring, but Hawaii transfer Dru Brown will push him for the starting job. The Cowboys could be vulnerable early in the season.

7 - Texas Tech: The Red Raiders return 10 of 11 starters on defense and the entire starting offensive line, so whichever of three competitors (a freshman, sophomore and junior) for the quarterback job wins it, he should be able to keep his uniform clean running Kliff Kingsbury’s version of the Air Raid.

8 - Iowa State: The surprise team of the Big 12 a year ago, the Cyclones will have to replace key talents on offense and defense and won’t have nearly as much experience on the field. They still will be a well-coached, disciplined team.

9 - Baylor: Matt Rhule had the wisdom to know that the Bears’ 2017 record (1-11) wasn’t going to determine the success of his tenure, so he played a bunch of freshman, got them valuable experience and stayed true to his plan of recruiting high school players from the state of Texas. It will be another year of slow progress, but he’s not about to rob the future simply to have a slightly better losing football team today. He has the discipline to avoid the quick-fix approach.

10 - Kansas: The defense loaded up on talented junior-college players and the secondary has a chance to be much, much better, but the gap the team had to close from being by far the worst team in the conference a year ago makes it tough to find any conference victories on the schedule. Baylor won in Lawrence, 38-9, and Texas Tech came away from its visit with a 65-19 rout. The Iowa State game is in Lawrence and the Cyclones aren't quite as talented as the team that slammed Kansas, 45-0, but that's a lot of points to make up in one year. Again, where is the conference win on the schedule? Maybe vs. Oklahoma State on Sept. 29?


John Fitzgerald 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It think it's important to remember that while Kansas does return 92% of it's production, as Tom points out this was production that easily finished last in the conference. Will some teams lose more players than Kansas? Yes, but they already had consistency in place. In order for Kansas to move up in the standings the coaching will have to be better than the other teams, not just the players. And I'm not saying the players are either.

Also, this isn't related to this article at all but I did a memorial blog on Todd Reesing. I liked it a lot and maybe it'll give Kansas fans some time to appreciate his time here. Anyway, here's the link if you want to check it out:

John Fitzgerald 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Nice! Yea I attached the youtube link in the blog of the full game against Missouri in 2008. Crazy game.

Titus Canby 8 months, 3 weeks ago

That Baylor game last year was the worst performance I've ever seen by a KU team. I sat through some thrashings in the mid 80, but those were from Oklahoma and Nebraska. But I still think - with a team full of juniors and seniors - we sneak in one surprise win in the conference this year like we did against Texas 2 years ago.

Steve Corder 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Until they win, in conference, talking and writing about closing the scoring gap is a total exercise in futility, with just a dash of insanity.

Jay Scott 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not a new concept to project and predict even before the actual games are played. No, really. Media outlets do it all the time. It's become a thing.

Are you about ready to move into the 21st century?

Mike Bennett 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Jay, don't be a smart ass. He's clearly talking about until KU wins, in conference. Everybody makes pre-season predictions. It's just predicting anything other than 0 Big XII wins is stupid right now because they haven't shone the ability to tie their shoes let alone block/tackle anybody.

Jay Scott 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry if the notion of having moronic public opinions mocked offends you Mike. Regular offender yourself?

Jay Scott 8 months, 3 weeks ago

1) Football losses will pile up, but at a slower rate than moronic comments.

2) The same Chicken Littles will spread most of the lunacy.

3) The new AD will change coaches.

4) Football will cease to be played at the college level within 20 years.

Sam Allen 8 months, 3 weeks ago

QB must have moves when dealing with a small OL

Brett McCabe 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with Tom pointing to the OSU game as a possible upset win. Seems like OSU sleepwalks in Larryville from time-to-time. Also, there seems to be some rumors swirling around about Gundy, and that could provide a distraction to their team. I don't think we win that game, but it is probably our best shot.

Our challenge with Baylor and Iowa State is that, for both teams, the arrow is pointing up. Campbell's squad may not win as many this year, but they have a foundation that is setting in, with the guidance of a proven winner as their coach. Baylor will take a significant step forward in year two - which is what programs should do.

If KU somehow goes 3-0 with the cakewalk non-con, we might actually get some people's attention in the conference which, ironically, hurts our chances of catching someone by surprise.

This schedule, though, just shows how bad we have been at building a football program. Nichols? Makes sense. Rutgers? Because Weis convinced someone he was going to score NJ recruits in Kansas? Idiotic. CMU? Only if our goal was to lose to every upper-midwest team in the country by 2020. Not a recruiting area, a dead-on possible loss. Just, simply, boneheaded.

However....even a blind squirrel....we caught a break. Two of the three teams are down and maybe we make some hay while the sun is shining. Or, more likely, Beaty sets the world record for most QB changes in a three-game period.

Whatever happens with this team this year, I'll certainly support those young men who are busting their rear ends to try and turn this thing around. They are at a severe disadvantage because they have the worst head coach in the conference and the worst head coach among all P5 teams, and many, many more.

My hope is that Meachem in year two gets things going offensively. That alone could dramatically change the trajectory of the season - even if the W's don't necessarily accumulate.

Richie Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

CMU is supposed to be really bad this year. I think I seen they are predicted to finish like 10th in the MAC. The non con is perfect for us to win some games. I really don't even think the big12 is going to be that good. I think we need to finish at least 4-8 and that still may be fire worthy.

Jay Scott 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Just when it seems impossible that Brett could be more hysterically clueless...there's this - "there seems to be some rumors swirling around about Gundy". Comically stupid. Three years of 10-3. Gundy is an elite coach. They're more likely to lose him to a Florida or UCLA than fire him.

Here's the most recent media comment by OK States AD. "He's really matured into a difference-maker as a coach," Two weeks ago.

Did you get fooled by the clickbait on ESPN where they suggested he could recruit better? That explains why you're always so lost. Reading the Fake News headlines....then spewing stupidity...

Grocery store cashier Brett? Stop reading the headlines on the tabloids.

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