It’s here! Football is back, baby, and we are here to tell you which teams are better than yours - unless your Oklahoma. We won’t burden you with the “how’s” or “why’s” of our ranking system, because we don’t have any rational explanation for how we do things. It’s arbitrary, just like every other publication’s ranking system, and that’s how we like it.
We’ll update each week based on less arbitrary inputs like wins and losses, opponents and score, until the season is concluded. At that point, we’ll just use the conference standings because everyone will have played everyone else and there really isn’t a better indicator of someone’s position relative to another’s than the actual results of play.
#3 Oklahoma Sooners – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
It’s no secret Oklahoma is the conference’s best team and they will carry the conference flag into battle Week 1 when they travel to Houston to give the Cougars a taste of what potentially awaits them on the other side of membership should all parties agree to include yet another Texas school into the partnership.
If Oklahoma gets through their conference opener with TCU unscathed, they could find themselves easily in the driver’s seat for another College Football Playoff berth.
Next Three - @Houston, La-Monroe, Ohio State
#13 TCU Horned Frogs – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Four of TCU’s first five games in 2016 are being played in Ft Worth. The fifth has them travelling 52 minutes east on Interstate 30 to face cross-town rival, SMU, in Week 4. Hardly a running of the gauntlet, the Horned Frogs should be primed and ready to go when Oklahoma comes to town on October 1st for an early season showdown clearly intended to set up a championship re-match as the Big 12 re-introduces the game for the first time since it went to a Round-Robin format.
Next Three – South Dakota State, Arkansas, Iowa State
#21 Oklahoma State Cowboys – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Oklahoma State is not challenging itself early this season, with the exception of mediocre Pittsburgh as its last tune-up game. In fact, with all due respect to Baylor and Texas, whom the Cowboys face as September fades into October, it could be argued the final two weeks of the 2016 calendar will be the most challenging for a team that could possibly be making a run to the top.
Next Three – Southeastern Louisiana, Central Michigan, Pittsburgh
#23 Baylor Bears – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Never a school to challenge itself in September, Baylor’s early season scheduling policy will likely help this year’s team more than ever as the Bears look to establish a new identity in the wake of this summer’s scandals. There is still plenty of talent in Waco to be dangerous. Will their coach know where to find it remains the question.
Next Three – Northwestern State, SMU, @Rice
Texas Longhorns – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Notre Dame and California will have a lot to say about the future of Charlie Strong’s career in Austin. Win those two and the third year head coach should be able to breathe a little better heading into the team’s annual showdown in Dallas. Lose one and you best win the Red River Rivalry. Lose them both and he can spend his time at the fair exploring the fried foods with the rest of his fired staff.
Next Three – Notre Dame, UTEP, @California
West Virginia Mountaineers – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
One of the conference’s newest members will play host to the team whose exit allowed for their entry two weeks before treating Big 12 hopeful, BYU, to some back country hospitality.
If NormanUnderwood’s experience is still the scene today, I can only imagine BYU fans in attendance questioning their school’s place in this fun-loving league.
Next Three – Missouri, Youngstown State, BYU
Texas Tech Red Raiders – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Nobody (and by that, I mostly mean me) cares about Texas Tech, so move along.
Next Three – Stephen F. Austin, @Arizona State, Louisiana Tech
Iowa State Cyclones – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Iowa State has arguably the toughest opening month in the conference, having two tough road games against ranked opponents in the season’s first three weeks. Northern Iowa and San Jose State will be must win games, and preferably easy wins, if the Cyclones hope to carry any optimism into the tail end of the season when they face slightly lessor competition.
Next Three – UNI, @Iowa, @TCU
Kansas State Wildcats – Record, 0-0 (0-0)
Admittedly, it is foolish to put the Wizard so low as his soul feeds itself on pessimistic pre-season polls, re-fueling the centurion in his eternal quest for college football immortality. But I am predicting this will be Snyder’s last ride in Manhattan because it has to be, right?
Please, let it be so.
Next Three – @Stanford, FAU, Missouri State
Kansas Jayhawks – Record 0-0 (0-0)
I think Kansas wins a game this year.
One of these games.
It’s Rhode Island.
Next Three - Rhode Island, Ohio, @Memphis