21 for 2021 college football preseason topics: How do the Power Five conferences – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC – rank?
Fighting about conference superiority is always a big thing.
It’s going to get ugly fast with Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC in the near future, but until then there’s still a wee bit of a debate – at least when it comes to the midsections.
Here’s our look at the state of the Power Five conferences – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC – appear to be going into the 2021 college football season..
College Football Conference Rankings Power Five: 21 For 2021 Preview Topics, No. 4
5. Big 12
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Try to separate the business with the competitive sports aspect of what’s going on. The harsh reality for the Big 12 is 1) Texas and Oklahoma mean everything to the TV revenue, ratings, and general interest, 2) Oklahoma is better than everyone else and 3) Texas hasn’t won a Big 12 title since 2009.
Give the other eight their due this year. They might not bring the eyeballs or the national attention, but they’ve got enough experience to make this – almost certain – final ride a bit of a blast.
Kansas will at least be well coached.
Lance Leipold comes over from Buffalo with the task of rebooting the program, and it’s going to take awhile. That’s the free space game for the foreseeable future, Oklahoma is the star, Iowa State is loaded, and then there’s an interesting mix of teams that could and should beat each other up on a weekly basis.
2021 Big 12 Team Previews
Baylor | Kansas | Kansas St | Iowa St
Oklahoma | Oklahoma St | TCU
Texas | Texas Tech | West Virginia
2021 CFN All-Big 12 Team
2021 Big 12 Top 30 Players
Predicting Every Big 12 Game
CFN Big 12 Preseason Rankings
Of course the attention is on Texas with the big move coming up, especially with new head coach Steve Sarkisian looking to install his high-powered offense to a team that wasn’t all that bad last season. Defensive consistency has been the bigger issue.
Oklahoma State might have been a bit overrated going into last year, but now it’s a underloved – the pieces are there to get to the Big 12 Championship with a few good breaks.
TCU (Max Duggan), Kansas State (Skylar Thompson) and Texas Tech (Tyler Shough) all have quarterbacks who can rise up and take out anyone else in the league on the right day.
Those three teams might be a half-step behind the Sooners, Cyclones, Longhorns and Cowboys, but as far as conference midsections go, this isn’t a bad situation.
West Virginia has the defense and potential to get up into the league’s top five with the right offensive improvements, and Baylor will be far, far better in Year Two under Dave Aranda thanks to a much stronger offense.
And then there’s Iowa State.
The Cyclones have the experience, the coaching, and the talent to be every bit as good as the breakthrough 2020 version, but now the expectations are there to at least get to the Big 12 Championship again. The 2021 team is good enough to exceed them.
But, as always, the problem is bulk. The Big 12 might be solid-to-great 1-7ish or so, but if one team other than Kansas has a down year, and one other team disappoints, that’s 30% of the conference that’s mediocre-to-bad.