How did all of the Big 12 teams do this recruiting season? Here are the rankings after National Signing Day, along with the stars, and three other things that matter.
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5. Big 2, Little 8 … More Than Ever
Oklahoma and Texas having the top two recruiting classes in the Big 12 is hardly new. But now, the gap is widening as the arms race has blown up big.
It’s been a long, long, long time since any other Big 12 team has been able to touch these two when it comes to bringing in the talent. Nebraska was in the hunt back when it was in the league in the mid-2000s, and Texas A&M had a class or two before it bolted for the SEC.
But after what Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley were able to do for the second straight recruiting season – at least for these two programs – just made it even more of an uphill battle for the other eight.
It’s not like these two are stuck in the same division to give someone else a reasonable shot.
Of course, Texas having talent hasn’t guaranteed much over the last several seasons, and Oklahoma State, TCU, and West Virginia have had their fun without having the five-star guys. But the stockpiling that’s going on is impressive.
ESPN had Oklahoma fourth overall, and Texas fifth. TCU was the third-highest Big 12 team at 32, and Baylor was the only other team ranked in the top 40.
According to Rivals, Texas signed 15 four-star prospects and Oklahoma 12. The other eight schools in the conference combined to sign 16. Those other eight bulk up on the three-star talents, but overall, there’s a ten-mile wide chasm between the level of project the top two came up with, and what the TCUs and Oklahoma States were able to land.
No other Power Five conference had as big a game between the top teams and everyone else.
So what does the rest of the league do? It keeps on bombing away with difference-making offenses. It keeps on getting into shootouts, or it has a defense and ground game like Iowa State’s to keep games close.
Scheme matters in the Big 12, but if this year’s recruiting season is any indication, that might go only so far if it turns out to be Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 Championship on an annual basis.