clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 BIG 12 POWER RANKINGS: It's Oklahoma, TCU, and everybody else

New, comments

Until we all figure out what in the world to make of Baylor this season, at least. The second tier is full of wild cards, actually.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of each conference run-through, I take a look at how I perceive the conference's balance of power heading into the season. This is in no way based on schedules, so they are not predictions. This is just how I would rank the teams after writing thousands of words about each of them.

When I finished all of the Group of Five conferences, I compiled a full mid-major power rankings list. Now we're into the power conferences; here are the ACC, the Big Ten, and the Pac-12.

Each team's name below links to its full preview. (Note: Because of the delayed Baylor preview, roster information is as it was two months ago, when all of the other previews were released. They will be updated in the coming days.)

Tier 1

1. Oklahoma
2. TCU

These power rankings are based on my opinions and not on any specific data, but I'm actually ceding to the data on this one.

I very nearly talked myself into TCU being No. 1 here. Between the transfers and the guys returning from injury, I think TCU's quarterback, receiving corps, and defense are all in better shape than they should be, considering who the Horned Frogs lost.

But in the end, the fact that OU is projected 27 spots higher in S&P+ than TCU fended those urges off. I veer from the numbers quite a bit in these rankings, but not that much. (I do think TCU has massive top-15 potential, though.)

Tier 2

3. Oklahoma State
4. Baylor
5. Texas
6. West Virginia

For perhaps obvious reasons, I had no idea what to do with Baylor. In a vacuum, I would have ranked the Bears third and considered them for the top tier.

But between the roster attrition of the last two months and the sheer oddity of playing under a different head coach under these circumstances, I bumped them down one spot. If their starting 22 stays mostly healthy, they could still end up in the 2-3 range. But if there's a run of injuries like what TCU faced last year, BU will be playing a ton of redshirt freshmen and could slip more toward 5-6.

Tier 3

7. Texas Tech
8. Kansas State
9. Iowa State

Any of these could end up in Tier 2 (even ISU), and I assume one will. But they are starting a step behind the others, I believe.

Tier 4

10. Kansas

Sorry.

Confused? Check out the advanced-stats glossary here.

Team 2015 Record (Conf.) 2015 S&P+ Rk Proj. 2016 S&P+ Rk Proj. 2016 Wins (Conf.) 5-Yr Rec. Rk Ret. Experience (Off. / Def.)
OU 11-2 (8-1) 4 4 9.6 (7.1) 16 69% (72% / 66%)
TCU 11-2 (7-2) 26 31 7.1 (5.0) 35 48% (29% / 68%)
OSU 10-3 (7-2) 33 23 7.9 (5.4) 38 74% (79% / 69%)
BU 10-3 (6-3) 14 13 9.0 (6.1) 30 69% (71% / 66%)
Texas 5-7 (4-5) 72 34 6.7 (4.8) 11 80% (79% / 81%)
WVU 8-5 (4-5) 24 33 6.9 (4.8) 50 62% (86% / 38%)
Texas Tech 7-6 (4-5) 62 43 6.4 (4.2) 42 74% (76% / 72%)
KSU 6-7 (3-6) 84 67 5.2 (3.3) 61 70% (77% / 62%)
ISU 3-9 (2-7) 70 71 5.1 (3.3) 65 68% (65% / 71%)
KU 0-12 (0-9) 127 112 2.6 (1.0) 71 83% (81% / 85%)