PREVIEW: Big 12 Football rankings for the next season

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Coach Chris Klieman leads his team out onto the field before the game against Oklahoma State at Boone Pickens Stadium on Sept. 29, 2019. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

Although a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the upcoming college football season, I’ve taken the time to think about how I think things will play out — if anything happens at all.

1. Oklahoma Sooners

The University of Oklahoma has a football program filled with rich tradition, and has been a dominant force in the Big 12 conference in the last five years with five straight conference championships. They have also had three straight College Football Playoff appearances.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler will most likely take lead of the offense. Rattler was the number one rated quarterback in the class of 2019.

Year in and year out, every position is stacked and this year is no different. In my opinion, the wide receiving core will be lead by junior Charleston Rambo. Last season, Rambo had just under 750 yards receiving with five touchdowns. Sophomore receivers Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease will also be key pieces. The two combined for just over 400 yards and three touchdowns a season ago.

The Sooners defense will definitely need a little help, but with its high-powered offense I think they will be just fine.

Rating: A

2. Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State

Texas

The Longhorns are led by a gunslinging quarterback, senior Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger is had a great season in 2019, completing just over 65 percent of his passes, throwing for over 3,500 yards and scoring 32 touchdowns.

With a repeat year, the senior could make a play for a Heisman Trophy.

Head coach Tom Herman has a strong group of running backs, who also served as fill-in receivers last season. Junior running back Keaontay Ingram recorded 1,095 all-purpose yards with 10 touchdowns, and sophomore Roschon Johnson added 807 all-purpose yards with eight touchdowns.

Ehlinger along with Ingram and Johnson will be well protected by a solid offensive line, led by junior left tackle Samuel Cosmi.

Rating: A-

Oklahoma State

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will score a lot of points — period. Starting sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders had a stellar freshman season, and will look to do this same this season. After acquiring over 2,000 passing yards during his freshman year, I think he will develop into a real good player despite throwing 11 interceptions.

Most importantly, the Cowboys return junior running back Chuba Hubbard and senior wide receiver Tyler Wallace.

Rating: A-

Iowa State

The Cyclones finished .500 a season ago, but the record doesn’t reflect the talent that was on the team. The production was still there — they averaged 32.2 points per game. They just had a hard time closing — losing five games by 10 points or fewer.

Now that the offense has more experience with junior quarterback Brock Purdy and sophomore running back Breece Hall, the Cyclones should be able to stay more competitive this season. With a breakout year, Iowa State could find themselves in the conversation for a conference championship. It would be their first Big 12 Championship ever.

Rating: B+

5. Baylor Bears

The Bears shocked many people in 2019, playing against the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game. They should be a good team again this year, however, they lost their former head coach Matt Rhule to the NFL. Rhule left the program in good hands, and the Bears will hope to finish in the upper half of the conference. Baylor will definitely play competitively for a spot in the Top 25.

Top returners include senior quarterback Charlie Brewer and senior running back Trestan Ebner.

Rating: B

6. Kansas State

K-State is picked to finish seventh in the conference, but is used to being the underdog in the preseason polls. Head coach Chris Klieman had a solid first season as he led the Wildcats through an 8-5 season. K-State showed their potential after upsetting Oklahoma during their Homecoming game.

They experienced a few errors like all teams, losing a disappointing game to West Virginia at home, and the season finale to Navy in the Liberty Bowl.

Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson is primed for a strong senior season, alongside him is sophomore wide receiver Joshua Youngblood, who received All-American honors in 2019. The defense is definitely the big question mark, but the Wildcats will finish in the top five of the conference if they can pull off a few big wins.

Rating: B

7. TCU

The Horned Frogs will be hoping to return to a bowl game after not being in one since 2018. Sophomore dual-threat quarterback Max Duggan who had a promising freshman season will look to be the man in Fort Worth. Duggan threw for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, but the Frogs will need more offensive support to be in the win column.

Most of the defense is returning, so they should be at least decent. The Horned Frogs will most likely finish in the bottom half of the conference.

Rating: C+

8. West Virginia

If West Virginia wants to make a bowl this season, they will need more offensive production after averaging only 19.6 points per game in 2019. They will be led by junior quarterback Jarrett Doege, who showed great potential near the end of the season and should be better this season with a full offseason of training.

If the Mountaineers can win more close-scored games they could find themselves with a bowl game this season.

Rating: C

9. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders are known for a high-powered offense, and that doesn’t change this year. It is led by sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman, alongside a duo of running backs in sophomores Ta’Zhawn Henry and SaRodorick Thompson. This trio makes for an effective offense and a solid offensive line. On top of the running back duo, the Red Raiders also have two powered receivers with sophomore Erik Ezukanma and senior T.J. Vasher.

The defense needs help. They allowed 7.2 yards per plays, and after losing several defensive playmakers it won’t be an easy fix.

Rating: C

10. Kansas

This will be the Jayhawks second season under head coach Les Miles. Kansas has made several improvements, including signing four-star freshman wide receiver Keon Coleman.

Junior running back Pooka Williams is the highlight of the team. He is a top playmaker in the Big 12, and he will continue to be the player opponents look out for on the Jayhawks’ roster. Kansas is in desperate need of a quarterback, and that will be a big struggle for the Jayhawks this year. Some improvement can be made for the program, but expect Kansas to finish last, once again.

Rating: D+

Adam Meyer is a Collegian writer and a senior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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