In what might be the craziest of college football seasons, how good are all of the teams? Here are the CFN Big 12 Preseason Rankings of every team.
This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to end up. This is only based on how good we think the Big 12 teams are going into whatever the 2020 season is going to be.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
Be Excited About … Les Miles has some skill guys to work around. Pooka Williams is one of the Big 12’s best running backs, the receiving corps should be the best the program has had in a while, and there’s still Les Miles – give him more time.
Be Concerned About … the quarterback who can get everyone the ball. Thomas MacVittie and Miles Kendrick might be fine, but the real concern is on the other side with a defense that was the second-worst in the nation at taking the ball away and 122nd overall.
The Season Will Be Successful If … the Jayhawks win four games. It might be a sad goal, but the bar isn’t set all that high for a program that hasn’t won more than three games since 2009.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Be Excited About … the passing game that should have Alan Bowman back at quarterback for a longer period of time – at least that’s the hope. Injured too often so far in his short career, he’s back along with a great receiving corps to make the passing game rock.
Be Concerned About … the offensive line that was just okay throughout last year still isn’t going be anything amazing. There’s experience in the secondary, but the pass defense that finished 128th in the nation needs more out of the veteran corners.
The Season Will Be Successful If … it goes bowling. Injuries played a big role in last season’s 4-8 clunker, but the program has missed out on a bowl game in three of the last four years. That’s not okay.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
Be Excited About … the defensive line should be a killer. Dante and Darius Stills are killers up front, and there’s enough to like in the secondary – especially at safety – to give the Mountaineers one of the better defenses they’ve had in a long, long time.
Be Concerned About … an offense that didn’t work until it was way too late. The running game was non-existent, there weren’t enough big plays down the field, and the rebuilding year in Neal Brown’s first season turned out to be just that.
The Season Will Be Successful If … the O works. Brown is too good a head coach to have another clunker of a season, but this is West Virginia. It’s not supposed to be scoring just 247 points in a season – the lowest output since 2001. Set the bar at a bowl game and go from there.
7. Baylor Bears
Be Excited About … an offense with a whole lot of really, really good parts back. QB Charlie Brewer leads an attack that was third in the Big 12 last season and should be almost as good again. However …
Be Concerned About … a defense that loses almost everyone. That’s not quite fair – there are a whole lot of good parts to start with, and new head coach Dave Aranda is a star defensive mind who comes in from all the fun LSU just had, but there’s a lot of lost personnel.
The Season Will Be Successful If … it looks like the transition from Matt Rhule to Aranda is seamless. Baylor won’t play for the Big 12 title again – the defensive back seven will take a step back – but going to a bowl has to be a given.
6. Kansas State Wildcats
Be Excited About … Kansas State being Kansas State. The defense will once again be good, the special teams are among the best in the nation, and it seems like Chris Klieman is the perfect fit to take over Bill Snyder’s program. Think of 2019 Kansas State, only better.
Be Concerned About … the lines that are fine, but are hardly filled with all-stars. There have to be more plays in the backfield, and a pass rush would be nice here and there. There’s work to do on the offensive front.
The Season Will Be Successful If … there’s a sneaky-close run to get into the Big 12 Championship. There’s too much missing to get there, but three of the five losses last season were by four points or fewer. Klieman doesn’t have the program that far away from big things.