The Big 12's Thorpe Award candidates

Colleague KC Joyner notes that the Big 12 has taken home nine of the past 26 Thorpe Awards for college football's best defensive back, but hasn't grabbed the award since Aaron Ross of Texas won all the way back in 2006. Could that change this year?

There's certainly one of the best crops of defensive backs in recent history for the Big 12, and some of the nation's best DBs will be patrolling the secondary this fall in a league known for passing offenses.

Joyner breaks down each candidate's chances at the award, and looks at their stats from 2011. For more on the Big 12's Thorpe chances, check out his piece.Insider

You'll see plenty of flavor from Texas and Oklahoma, who have a combined five of eight spots on the list. That's no surprise. Of those nine Thorpe Awards from the Big 12, five were won by Sooners or Longhorns.

The surprises on the list (to folks who didn't watch enough Big 12 football last year, anyway)? Two Oklahoma State defensive backs are in the top three. It's a debatable ranking, but they no doubt belong at least in the top five.

How would you rank the league's top defensive backs? It's a tough, stacked class this year. Should be tough on the league's quarterbacks.