Big 12 Preseason Media Poll
All Big 12 Preseason Team
The conference survived near total dissolution in the offseason, salvaging all of its membership except for Nebraska and Colorado which bolted for the Big Ten and PAC-12, respectively. But just as the 2011 season is about to begin, Texas A&M is looking for other options - most notably the SEC.
At least for this year, the Big 12 will operate as 10-team league which eliminates one of the country's more popular conference championship games. But the league made a smart move when it opted for a round-robin regular season schedule, meaning every school will play each of the other 9 schools. It's a move that contributed to the Big 12 members having the nation's top-ranked schedule strength.
The Congrove Computer Rankings forecast Oklahoma to go unbeaten and win the conference title, and then edge Alabama in the BCS Championship by 0.54 points to end the SEC's 5-year reign.
Another Big 12 member - Texas in 2005 - was the last non-SEC school to win the BCS title.
The computer takes Texas A&M (11-1, 8-1) as the 2nd-place team, edging out Missouri (10-2, 7-2).
The Sooners get both of those teams at home and are a 6.53-point favorite over the Tigers on September 24 and an 8.46-point pick over the Aggies on November 5.
Oklahoma's biggest hurdle may well be Bedlam in the season finale. The computer only picks the Sooners by 1.23 in that critical rivalry matchup which rotates to Stillwater this year. The Cowboys are projected to go 9-3 overall, 6-3 in the conference to take 4th.
Those four schools begin the season with no more than a 5.54 power point separation from each other.
The projected 5th-place finisher, Texas Tech (8-4, 5-4), trails every member of the top group by at least 8.11 points.
A trio of teams - Baylor, Kansas State and Texas - are tied for 6th at 6-8 points behind the Red Raiders. Last year, the Bears went bowling for the first time since 1994 while the Longhorns saw their 12-year bowl appearance streak come to a crashing halt after a 5-7 season. This is the first year since 1999 that the computer has picked Texas to lose more than 1 game.
Sitting at the back of the pack are Iowa State and Kansas. The Jayhawks were a major disappointment a year ago when they checked in with a 3-9 season in Turner Gill's first season as head coach. The computer says it gets worse this year with a 1-11 campaign on the horizon. Meanwhile, the Cyclones are picked to slide backwards from a 5-7 finish to last year to 2-10 this season.