We just wrapped up my series assessing the Big 12 contenders entering the season, and here's how I ranked the Big 12's teams in order of the odds teams have to win the conference title:
2. Texas A&M
But did I get it wrong? Those are the only five teams I think have a realistic chance of winning the Big 12, but there are five other teams in the Big 12 with full schedules lined up for 2011, too.
Which is the most likely to surprise and come from nowhere to win the Big 12? Oklahoma State came pretty close last year after being picked fifth in the Big 12 South. Is there another sleeping giant?
Kansas State must replace three offensive linemen and running back Daniel Thomas, but Collin Klein looks likely to take over at quarterback full time after getting substantial experience in 2010. David Garrett and Arthur Brown could see their profiles rise in a big way over the next year, as could running back Bryce Brown. But can they carry the 'Cats to a title?
Texas Tech lost its top two receivers, two senior quarterbacks with starting experience and running back Baron Batch, but returns all five offensive linemen and a defense full of young talents who got playing time much earlier than they probably expected or were ready for. Will that pay off in 2011 and make them Big 12 champions?
Baylor was one of the Big 12's best stories in 2010, cracking the top 25 for the first time in almost two decades, and making it to a bowl game for the first time since 1994. The core of the team returns, including quarterback Robert Griffin III, but is the defense deep enough and organized enough under new coordinator Phil Bennett to help the Bears climb to the top of the league?
Iowa State missed a bowl last year, but has one of the league's best groups of linebackers. Can the offensive skill position talent improve, and the Cyclones find a quarterback in time to sneak up on the rest of the Big 12 and be the league's big surprise?
Kansas struggled to a 3-9 season last year, including five losses by more than 20 points. Kansas should be improved this year, and looks like it has some clarity at quarterback with Jordan Webb. Will the Jayhawks improve enough to be college football's ultimate Cinderella?