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2011 Big 12 Spring Preview - Early Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 10, 2011


2011 Big 12 Spring Preview - Early Rankings For All The Big 12 Teams

2011 Spring Preview   

Early Rankings - Big 12


Click for each team's spring preview
Baylor | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri
Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech
 
2011 Big 12 Spring Preview
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Preview 
- 2011 Big 12 Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Buzz   
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Big 12 Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 Big 12 Positions To Watch  
- Big 12 Spring Rankings 

1. Oklahoma
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 4
2010 Ranking: 12-2
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 5
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2009 Final Ranking: 35
2008 Final Ranking: 2 
 
Can Oklahoma play up to its talent and potential and not be all Oklahoma and braincramp? The offense should be devastating with QB Landry Jones a legitimate Heisman candidate thanks to the return of WR Ryan Broyles and a veteran line to provide the protection. RB Roy Finch will ease the loss of DeMarco Murray, while young targets Kenny Stills and Trey Franks about to blow up with everyone paying attention to Broyles. The defense loses end Jeremy Beal, but eight starters are back with the front seven certain to be a killer. Throw in the return of PK/P Tress Way, and the Sooners could become everyone's preseason No. 1.

2 Oklahoma State    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 8
2010 Record: 11-2
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 52
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2009 Final Ranking: 34
2008 Final Ranking: 30

Will the loss of offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to West Virginia mean the end of the offensive fun? Hardly. The stunning decision of WR Justin Blackmon to return for another year, and old-man QB Brandon Weeden also back, the passing game should be explode. Don't overlook an offensive line that gets all five starters back to keep Weeden upright and to pave the way for RBs Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith, who need to pick up the slack for the loss of Kendall Hunter. The defense loses three starters on the line, but that side of the ball is along for the ride.

3. Missouri
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 14
2010 Record: 10-3
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 27
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2009 Final Ranking: 46
2008 Final Ranking: 16

If Blaine Gabbert had decided to return for one more year, rather than go off to make tens of millions of dollars, the Tigers might be a preseason top five team with an argument to be made for No. 1. Even without Gabbert, nine starters are back led by an offensive line that should be dominant. T.J. Moe and TE Michael Egnew should make life easier for new quarterback, James Franklin, who might be the key to the Big 12 season. DE Aldon Smith is gone, but six starters are back on a good defense, while Grant Ressel might be the best kicker in America.

4. Texas A&M    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 19
2010 Record: 9-4
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 26
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2008 Final Ranking: 99

Was the second half of last year the real A&M, or was the Cotton Bowl a better indicator? It doesn't really matter coming into this season with nine starters back on offense including QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Cyrus Gray, and receivers Jeff Fuller and Uzoma Nwachukwu. Four starters are back from a young, YOUNG line should be far stronger. The defense loses Butkus winner Von Miller, but eight starters are back including everyone returning to the secondary.

5. Texas
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 65
2010 Record: 5-7
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 10
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2009 Final Ranking: 4
2008 Final Ranking: 3

Let's just assume 2010 was a strange aberration. It's Texas; there's way, WAY too much talent to be so bad again. Despite the loss of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, ends Sam Acho and Eddie Jones, and star corner Aaron Williams, the D should be great with eight starters returning. The loaded recruiting class of last year needs to pay off, but the defense should be fine. All eyes are on the offense and QB Garrett Gilbert. Can he actually play? Can the line run block and is there a tailback who can carry the O? Really ... Texas can't that bad again, can it?

6. Texas Tech   
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 38
2010 Record: 8-5
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 32
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2009 Final Ranking: 42
2008 Final Ranking: 9

And the quarterback will be .. ? Taylor Potts is gone, as is Steven Sheffield, but seven starters are back including all five starters up front and receivers Tramain Swindall and Alex Torres. Is Seth Doege ready, or will Michael Brewer, Scotty Young, or Jacob Karam run the show? It'll be the position watch of the Big 12 spring. The defense that was such a disaster gets seven starters back, but a defensive coordinator and a new philosophy need to emerge.

7. Baylor   
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 58
2010 Record: 7-6
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 66
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2009 Final Ranking: 85 
2008 Final Ranking: 92

2010 wasn't a fluke, and now the offense should go from great to ballistic with nine starters returning including QB Robert Griffin. RB Jay Finley and LT Danny Watkins need to be replaced, but everyone else is back. The defense is still going to be a problem, and the back seven needs work, but the Bears aren't going to beat anyone on D. Expect plenty of wild and crazy shootouts.

8. Kansas State
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 60
2010 Record: 7-6
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 65
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2009 Final Ranking: 72
2008 Final Ranking: 83

Will Kansas State got full-bore running game? Daniel Thomas is gone, but running quarterback Collin Klein will try to make things happen with his great ability in the open field. Three starters are gone from the line, all in the interior, but the tackles should be solid. The defense gets seven starters back and should be outstanding in the secondary. The safety tandem of Tysyn Hartman and Ty Zimmerman should be among the best in the Big 12.

9. Iowa State    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 74
2010 Record: 5-7
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 63
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2009 Final Ranking: 67
2008 Final Ranking: 110

The Cyclones have the unenviable task of trying to improve in the new Big 12 without its main weapons. Gone are QB Austen Arnaud and RB Alexander Robinson, and two good starters, Alex Alvarez and Ben Lamaak, are gone from the front five. The defense needs to carry things for a while with seven starters coming back.

10. Kansas    
2010 CFN Final Ranking: 108
2010 Record: 3-9
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 58
CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2009 Final Ranking: 74
2008 Final Ranking: 39

Can Turner Gill actually coach? He has the veterans to try to make things better with ten regular starters (depending on the formation) back on offense, but the first step will be to establish the quarterback situation hoping that Jordan Webb can be the main man. the defense gets just about everyone back on the front line and in the secondary, but it has to come up with some key replacements at linebacker.

Click for each team's spring preview
Baylor | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri
Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech
 
2011 Big 12 Spring Preview
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Preview 
- 2011 Big 12 Schedules & Game-By-Game Picks
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Buzz   
- 2011 Big 12 Spring Attitudes 
- 2011 Big 12 Big Spring Questions  
- 2011 Big 12 Positions To Watch  
- Big 12 Spring Rankings