Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer 457d

Big 12 stock watch: West Virginia on the rise

It has been more than four months since the last college football game of the season was played in Tampa, Florida, and plenty has happened since then. Through signing day, offseason roster changes, injuries and some spring practice development, most teams look a bit different as college campuses start to clear out for the summer.

With that in mind, it’s time to take stock in how the last third of the calendar has changed the Big 12. Which of them will be a worthwhile investment heading in 2017?

Baylor: Sell. Baylor just doesn't boast the same firepower it has in previous seasons. The one-two punch at running back with Terence Williams and JaMychal Hasty should be formidable. But after that, the offense poses more questions than answers. Considering the change in schemes, this figures to be, at best, a season of transition for the Bears.

Iowa State: Hold. At the very least, the Cyclones should be exciting in Matt Campbell's second season. But will they have enough to get back to bowl eligibility? In his first season as the full-time starter, QB Jacob Park will have a big say in that. Led by Allen Lazard, he'll have plenty of weapons to work with.

Kansas: Buy. This is, by far, the most talent that Kansas has enjoyed since David Beaty took over three years ago. The receiving corps is especially enticing, as Steven Sims Jr., LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Alabama transfer Daylon Charlot should give the Jayhawks their best receiving group since the Mark Mangino era.

Kansas State: Hold. Jesse Ertz's offseason surgery to his throwing shoulder is a little concerning. K-State's dual-threat QB was one of the Big 12's most improved players last year. If he continues to improve, the Wildcats will be primed to be a dark horse Big 12 title contender. But only if that shoulder recovers.

Oklahoma: Buy. No returning QB in college football has more career wins than Baker Mayfield's 27. And while Mayfield's top three weapons are gone from last season, OU quietly just might have the best offensive line in the country this season. Couple that with a defense that should be improved off last year's rocky campaign and the Sooners have the look of a bona fide contender.

Oklahoma State: Buy. The Cowboys have solidified their two biggest weaknesses this offseason -- cornerback and offensive tackle -- by landing grad transfers Adrian Baker and Aaron Cochran. QB Mason Rudolph and his receiving corps are the real deal. If the Cowboys can get off the field defensively, they will be a load.

TCU: Sell. TCU's success is going to be contingent on Kenny Hill bouncing back from an uneven first season in Fort Worth. And this spring, Hill did little to alleviate that concern, completing just 3 of 9 passes for 15 yards and two interceptions. Receiver KaVontae Turpin's spring absence was also alarming.

Texas: Hold. Sure, QB Shane Buechele was great in Texas' spring game. And sure, Collin Johnson looks like a No. 1 wideout. And sure, that defense has talent. And sure, Tom Herman has been successful at every previous stop. But after getting burned with the preseason hype last year, we're taking a wait-and-see approach with the Longhorns.

Texas Tech: Sell. The Red Raiders have lost three receivers this offseason, including leading pass-catcher Jonathan Giles to transfer. Texas Tech is now down to 11 signees from its 2015 recruiting class, with just 16 remaining from the 46 combined signed in 2014-15. A retention rate of 35 percent over that span is the worst in the conference.

West Virginia: Buy. So much for having rust. In his West Virginia public unveiling, Florida QB transfer Will Grier completed 12 of 18 passes for 202 yards, displaying the arm strength that made him a sensation in Gainesville. Grier still needs to be cleared by the NCAA. But coach Dana Holgorsen has been confident that will happen. If it does, West Virginia will be one to watch.

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