It’s go time! Week Zero brought us just enough college football action to wet our appetites but we actually get to see the Big 12 in action in Week 1. We should see enough this week to either validate or vilify our initial power rankings. If you followed our preseason position rankings then you’re well aware of how we were all over the place when it came to ranking the individual programs. Understandably we’re in the same place when it comes to ranking the programs from first to worst as we start the season.
2022 Heartland Sports Big 12 Power Rankings
|4. Oklahoma State||19|
|5. Kansas State||18|
|7. West Virginia||13|
|8. Iowa State||10|
|10. Texas Tech||5|
1. Oklahoma | Totally going with the homer pick here. But, in all seriousness the culture in Norman seems to be changing. The talent of course is always there. With Coach Venables leading the “new look Sooners”, it’s no surprise they are one of the favorites to win the Big 12.
2. Baylor | The Bears I’m sure will be mostly everyone else’s number one. It’s hard to argue against the defending Big 12 Champs. But, I’ve got them behind Oklahoma due to the amount of talent gone offensively. Blake Shapen will be taking over at quarterback and they will need to fill some spots at the running back and wide receiver positions as well.
3. Oklahoma State | Never sleep on Oklahoma State! Just when you think they’ll have a down year they wind up being a dark horse in the conference. The defense of the Cowboys is what made them so good a year ago. This yearnthey’ll have to rely on Spencer Sanders and the offense to pick up more of the slack.
9. Texas Tech | The Red Raiders have a lot to prove in 2022. Coming off of a 7-6 season and a first year head coach in Joey McGuire, things could get interesting down in Lubbock.
10. Kansas | I’ve thought for a couple of years now that things were going to turn around for Kansas. Obviously that didn’t happen. Will this be the year? Probably not. But, they could be good for a win at home against Texas.
1. Baylor | I’m a firm believer that the reigning Big 12 Champion should enter the season at the top of the conference rankings, which is usually pretty easy to do since it’s typically Oklahoma, but this year was a little more difficult. The Bears lost a lot in the offseason, and while I think they will still be in the mix, they’re going to struggle to repeat as conference champs.
2. Oklahoma | The Sooners are always near the top of the conference, and this season is no difference. I don’t care about all of the changes in Norman; Oklahoma is still who they always are, and while this will technically be a rebuilding season of sorts, the Sooners will almost certainly be playing for a Big 12 title once again.
3. Oklahoma State | The Cowboys were a bit of a dark horse last season, and it was in large part because of their defense. Despite losing a number of their leaders on that side of the ball, I still think the defense is going to be their better half, and with Spencer Sanders back for a final season, the offense should be slightly improved as well.
6. Kansas State
7. West Virginia
8. Iowa State
9. Texas Tech | Life is hard in Lubbock, and it’s likely going to take more than one more season to turn the football program around. The Red Raiders have finished in the bottom 3 of the Big 12 for the last 6 seasons, and this year will be no different.
10. Kansas | The Jayhawks have finished last in the Big 12 for the last 7 seasons and 10 of the last 11. They have a slim chance to break their streak, though, as they have one of their more experienced squads in quite some time.
1. Oklahoma | I’m feeling better and better about this pick as the season approaches. I get that the Sooners lost 14 starters from the 2021 squad but they have a favorable schedule, a quarterback with All-American potential and a defensive mastermind at the helm.
2. Texas | Maybe we really will get a return to the “Glory Days” when the Sooners and Longhorns ran the conference. Texas has the best running back in the Big 12, going into the season, and a very talented receiving corps. Quarterback and offensive line play are going to be key to success though and those both have question marks surrounding them.
3. TCU | The Horned Frogs are officially my sleeper team for 2022. If you’re looking for an under the radar group that could make a surprise appearance in Arlington for the conference championship then look no further than the fellas from Ft. Worth. With two solid options at quarterback, new head coach Sonny Dykes has options. Kendre Miller has averaged 7.4 yards per carry during his career and with the departure of Zach Evans he should be in line to get the bulk of the work this fall. A swap to a 3-3-5 defensive scheme should bring some new life into the Horned Frogs on that side of the ball.
4. Kansas State
5. Kansas (Yes! You read that correctly)
6. West Virginia
8. Oklahoma State
9. Iowa State | It’s rebuilding time in Ames and Matt Campbell has been there before. He’s got the pieces in place to reload but it’ll probably take some time to develop.
10. Texas Tech | Kansas can’t be at the bottom of the pack forever and at some point someone has to replace them. The Red Raiders are my top choice to replace the Jayhawks as the conference doormats in 2022. It’s my opinion that Tech made an error when they forced out Matt Wells in the midst of a winning campaign. Suddenly all the momentum that had been built is halted and once again the program finds itself starting over.
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