Will we even have Big 12 football? Who knows, but I choose to be optimistic. I don’t think that the Big 12 is going to really have a player in the National Championship conversation because I don’t think that Oklahoma is as strong as they’ve been in prior years. Let’s get to it.
- Tier 1: I think we’re in agreement that Oklahoma is the best team in the conference.I think they have some of the best offensive linemen in Creed Humphrey, Adrian Ealy, and Marquis Hayes. Kennedy Brooks is very talented at running back, and Charleston Rambo is a fantastic wide receiver. Defensively, I think that they have some work to do, but it is year two of Grinch and some continuity will help. I don’t think that they are as talented as they were last year and I think there’s some benefit to being older and quarterbacking. Spencer Rattler is talented and Lincoln Riley is one of the best quarterback coaches in the nation. Maybe the best with Kingsbury gone. I don’t think it is a given that OU finishes first, but they’ve been the dominant team for the last handful of years.
- Tier 2: Ever so close to Tier 1 is Tier 2. I could be talked into anyone of these teams finishing ahead of Oklahoma. They all have veteran quarterbacks and I think that’s a big deal. In terms of finish, I’m torn on teams 2, 3 and 4. I think that Texas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State are any one of these teams and they could finish anywhere in between and any one of them wouldn’t surprise me to be ahead of Oklahoma. Offensively, I really like Texas and although Ehlinger can annoy me, he’s exactly what Herman wants to do. Iowa State has maybe the best offensive-defensive punch with QB Brock Purdy and LB Mike Rose, but could also argue Texas’ QB Sam Ehlinger and S Caden Sterns. Oklahoma State is having an awakening off the field, but on the field, the offense is as good as Sanders will let them be. If he’s figured out some turnover issues, then he can leapfrog OU.
- Tier 3: I think the third tier is TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State, and West Virginia. That’s pretty much a toss-up for me. I don’t think that Baylor will be as good as they were last year, losing quite a bit on the defensive end of things and Rhule obviously proved to be a very talented. TCU has issues on the offensive side of the ball. Kansas State is good, but not great and faded late. West Virginia has some issues with transfers out of the program and maybe offensive issues. Texas Tech obviously had serious defensive issues despite having a 1st round pick and another drafted defensive tackle.
- Tier 4: Texas Tech lost to Kansas, but I don’t think they’ve made the jump to that third tier. There’s really no logical reason for me to write this because Texas Tech lost to Kansas, but I’m pretty comfortable with this.
- Offensive Player of the Year Candidates: OSU RB Chuba Hubbard, UT QB Sam Ehlinger, ISU QB Brock Purdy, and OSU WR Tylan Wallace. I’d maybe go with Hubbard because I could see Oklahoma State leaning on him quite a bit. Ehlinger and Purdy will put up really good numbers and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ehlinger has terrific numbers this year. If you had to pick an offensive MVP for Texas Tech, which way would you go? Ezukanma? Vahser? Bowman? Thompson? Anderson?
- Defensive Player of the Year Candidates: ISU’s LB Mike Rose, WVU DL Darius Stills, UT LB Josepph Ossai, KSU DL Wyatt Hubert, and TCU Garrett Wallow. I’m leaning towards Rose, but maybe that’s because I think the ISU defensive coordinator is so great. Wallow returns as the Big 12 leading tackler and tackles for loss. Same question for Texas Tech, I think I’d maybe go Riko Jeffers and Eli Howard as the clear leaders for me. Who you got?
- Best Triplets: 1) Oklahoma State – QB Spencer Sanders, RB Chuba Hubbard, and WR Tylan Wallace. 2) Iowa State – QB Brock Purdy, TE Charlie Kolar, and RB Breece Hall. If I were to pick this right now, I think I’d go with Bowman, Thompson, and Ezukanma.