Colleague Mark Schlabach uncorked his post-spring top 25 on Friday, which included six Big 12 teams. Here's a look at how he slotted them.
8. West Virginia
10. South Carolina
11. Michigan State
17. Ohio State
18. Kansas State
22. Oklahoma State
23. Virginia Tech
25. Georgia Tech
A few thoughts:
It's crazy to me just how different OU feels this year from last year, and yet, it's only five spots lower in the preseason. Last year's band of Sooners was as loaded as any we've seen in a long time (Can I mention the 2009 team without getting punched?), but was obviously undone by a rough night against Texas Tech and injuries. This year's team doesn't feel like a juggernaut, but it's solid, and looking around at the teams below it, Oklahoma's right where it belongs. These Sooners aren't as scary as some, but they're fully capable of winning big in 2012.
I like where West Virginia's slotted. I had the Mountaineers at No. 11 on my pre-spring top 25, but I wanted to move them up a few spots after seeing them up close. No. 8 is about right. How the defense handles the Big 12 will decide how successful WVU is in Big 12 play. I've got zero questions about the offense, outside of wanting to see some more consistency in Year 2 under Dana Holgorsen.
TCU's right where it should be, too. There doesn't seem to be a lot of disagreement on the Frogs this offseason. I had them at No. 14. Our ESPN experts poll had them at an average of 14. There they are again on Schlabach's ballot.
Meanwhile, poor K-State. Folks are all over the map on these guys. Phil Steele had K-State well outside his top 25, and you could certainly talk me into that. You could also talk me into K-State as a top-10 team, too. I had it at No. 10 on my poll, but I'm not going to begrudge anyone for putting K-State at No. 18. That's probably about where it will land, maybe a little lower. I'm just higher on the SnyderCats than most.
Meanwhile, I'm sort of talking myself into Texas the more I see and read about the team. The defense legitimately will be terrifying. The numbers won't show it in the Big 12, but at season's end, I predict Texas will have a legit claim as the nation's best defense. Just absolutely loaded. The offense will be better, but how much better? Let me get a look at the new David Ash in action before I commit one way or the other on the Horns. For now, anything between 15-25 is reasonable. UT deserves a top-25 spot for sure, though.
My biggest beef is on Oklahoma State. The Cowboys lose Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper. Those are huge losses. There's no denying that. However, OSU brings back just about everyone else, outside of safety Markelle Martin, who was a big hitter, but left me wanting a whole lot in terms of his cover skills. He's a loss in leadership, but OSU can replace him on the field. I'm definitely higher on OSU than most. I'd put them inside the top 20 for sure, even with a true freshman at QB.