At the end of each conference run-through (here's the whole Big 12), I look at how I perceive the conference's balance of power heading into 2015. This is in no way based on schedules. These are not predictions. They're just how I would rank the teams after writing thousands of words about each.
The Big 12 has had a rather silly offseason, going through an existential crisis because of a single Playoff snub. But while it debates the merits of a conference title game and a move from 10 to 12 teams, its actual teams should be interesting this fall.
One has to admit TCU's schedule sets up nicely for a Big 12 run. The Horned Frogs are breaking in new defensive pieces and are set up to be better in November than September, but their two biggest Big 12 games don't come until late-November, when they travel to Norman, then welcome Baylor to Fort Worth.
Maybe this ends up helping TCU's title chances, but these rankings aren't intended to project or worry about schedules; they're just supposed to rank teams. And I have more faith in Baylor than in anybody else in this league.
4. Oklahoma State
6. Kansas State
7. West Virginia
The race for conference champion will suck up all the oxygen, and justifiably so, but this tier fascinates me. Three of these four have been both excellent and subpar over the last three to four years, and OSU, which had been the steadiest of ships between 2008 and 2013, fell off the map for half of 2014.
I have absolutely no idea what to expect from any of these teams, though it wouldn't surprise me if one of the two teams with great schedules (OSU, KSU) stayed in the conference race into November.
The Tech offense should make this a Tier 2 team. The Tech defense should make this a Tier 4 team. Tier 3 sounds about right.
Still a couple of steps behind the rest of the league.
Confused? Check out the advanced-stats glossary here.
|Team||2014 Record (Conf.)||2014 F/+ Rk||5-Yr F/+ Rk||2-Yr Rec. Rk||5-Yr Rec. Rk||2014 TO Luck/Gm||Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.)
||2014 2nd-order wins|
|Baylor||11-2 (8-1)||10||20||32||39||+2.4||17 (8, 9)||10.6 (+0.4)|
|TCU||12-1 (8-1)||6||17||49||38||+6.3||14 (9, 5)||11.4 (+0.6)|
|Oklahoma||8-5 (5-4)||19||6||16||12||-4.6||13 (7, 6)||8.6 (-0.6)|
|OSU||7-6 (4-5)||75||12||33||32||-4.1||15 (7, 8)||6.6 (+0.4)|
|Texas||6-7 (5-4)||53||37||15||9||+0.4||12 (7, 5)||6.9 (-0.9)|
|KSU||9-4 (7-2)||26||21||58||60||+1.5||11 (6, 5)||8.3 (+0.7)|
|WVU||7-6 (5-4)||40||43||38||47||-2.8||14 (6, 8)||6.0 (+1.0)|
|Texas Tech||4-8 (2-7)||82||59||47||41||-3.7||18 (9, 9)||4.8 (-0.8)|
|ISU||0-9 (2-10)||92||73||67||66||+2.0||13 (6, 7)||2.3 (-0.3)|
|Kansas||1-8 (3-9)||99||117||69||67||+1.2||6 (3, 3)||4.0 (-1.0)|