Colleague Phil Steele tabbed five teams he thinks are on the rise this season, and two hail from Big 12 country.
Oklahoma State went just 8-5 this year, but Steele says the Cowboys are one of his teams on the rise. He likes their schedule, which features home games against fellow Big 12 favorites Oklahoma and TCU. He all but guarantees at least a nine-win season in Stillwater next year.
I'd agree completely, and if you saw my early 2013 power rankings earlier this week, you'd know that. Losing Joseph Randle is a big, but still manageable blow. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cowboys were the favorites to begin the season officially next year.
His second Big 12 team on the rise is the team I had No. 2 on my early 2013 power rankings, ahead of power programs Oklahoma and Texas. It's TCU, another team that I really believe could become a national power over the course of the next decade, as long as Gary Patterson stays and TCU continues to see its recruiting results skyrocket.
Steele says TCU's defense should be among the nation's best, and I agree. Like him, I see potential in TCU because of what it was able to do this season despite facing more adversity than any team in the Big 12. It really wasn't close.
Facing LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State next year away from Fort Worth will be a tough task and could make it hard for TCU to blow up on the national scene, but hey, the Horned Frogs went 7-6 this year and didn't win a single Big 12 game at home, so who knows?