DALLAS , Texas — Oklahoma State was unveiled as the media’s preseason pick to win the Big 12 Conference football title, though the top four teams were tightly bunched.
Oklahoma was picked second, with TCU third and Texas fourth. A whopping six teams—more than half the league—received first-place votes.
West Virginia, with its quarterback situation unsettled for the first time in three seasons and needing to repair a defense that was horrid in 2012, was picked eighth.
2013 Big 12 football media preseason poll:
Oklahoma State (15)
Kansas State (1)
While preseason pollsters wield all the accuracy of blindfolded dart-thrower after a dizzy bat race, they are a necessity because they set expectations and afford us a plausible excuse to talk football in July.
With that in mind, here are my top-to-bottom picks:
1. Texas: Loads of talent, albeit drastically underdeveloped talent. Mack Brown isn’t the senile idiot some haters make him out to be, and last year’s super-green team will grow into the league’s best.
2. TCU: Casey Pachall is stepping back into the QB’s role—or more accurately, 12-stepping back into the QB’s role—and the defense is regaining its nasty nature.
3. Oklahoma: If only the Sooners can get past pesky WVU in Week 2 …
4. Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy had a busy offseason, replacing amazing quarterbacks coach Todd Monken and reading all the thank-you emails from Butch Jones.
5. Texas Tech: The Tommy Tuberville bon-voyage party lasted about as long as a Red Raiders huddle. Enter West Texas legend-to-be Kliff Kingsbury, who brings back a zippy passing attack (but alas, no Johnny Manziel).
6. Baylor: The Holiday Bowl beatdown of UCLA fraudulently fueled offseason speculation the Bears could win the wide-open Big 12.
7. Kansas State: Losing Optimus Klein isn’t as bad as this year’s Minimus Defense—whereby the front seven must be rebuilt.
8. West Virginia: Even a Pinstripe Bowl bid might be reason to celebrate this season.
9. Kansas: The Weis Guys open the year aiming to end a 21-game Big 12 nightmare. When the losing streak ends—and it will at some point this season—let’s see the Jayhawks try to carry their coach off the field.
10. Iowa State: Can the best-coached team in the league finish last? It can this year.