Before I release the first Big 12 power ranking of the year, I want you to know what to expect, so bear with me for a few moments. Or just skip to the rankings if you’d like.
We use polls, rankings and ratings as way to measure talent and reward performance. They make sense of a world where we’re unable to keep track of 100+ teams playing across the country every week.
There’s the AP Top 25, a traditional polling of curiously confident sportswriters. Then there’s the Coaches Poll, a marketing arm of USA Today and something called Amway. The coaches don’t vote, and the poll doesn’t matter. And finally, there’s the various computer rankings. You know them all, right? They’re the models that sound more like their creator’s favorite Dungeons and Dragons character than a tool to rank football teams: Donches Inference, Burdorf, Catherwood, Mangels, and Dwiggins, to name a few. Those are real by the way.
But all of the polls and ratings, they all pale in comparison to the power ranking. No ranking gives such absolute authority to its creator, such infinite space for the hottest of takes to burn their brightest. The power ranking is not an objective measurement using intricate data. The power ranking is Clay Travis, where logic and reason are shunned in favor of bluster and bullshit. So if you find that my rankings don’t match your perception, #dbap and make your own, snowflake.
Big 12 Preseason Power Rankings
1. Oklahoma: Oklahoma has won 10 of the last 17 Big 12 crowns, so picking the Sooners as the conference’s best team is not exactly a stretch. Baker Mayfield will once again be a Heisman candidate, and the OU band will once again force us into Boomer Sooner submission.
2. Texas: There are plenty of reasons to believe new head coach Tom Herman will lead a quick turnaround in Austin. But this chart is perhaps the most convincing. TEXAS. IS. BACK.
Went to take a leak in Moncrief and this was hanging above the toilet. Tom Herman's attention to detail is real pic.twitter.com/FoAMbkf56K— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) April 11, 2017
3. Oklahoma State: I’m always skeptical of relying on big-play receivers to carry your offense, but after the Cyclones’ debacle in Stillwater last season, I’m a full believer in James Washington. Unless the big-J Journalists at Pardon My Take are to be believed, the Cowboys are poised for one of their best seasons in school history.
4. Kansas State: Will someone please return Ron Prince to the Kansas State sideline?
5. West Virginia: The Mountaineers seem to have some momentum after a 10-win season in 2016. I literally know nothing about their roster other than the QB transfer from Florida, so middle of the pack seems about right.
6. TCU: So about Kenny Hill. It’s not happening, guys. But the Horned Frogs do have some talent on the defensive side of the ball in Travin Howard and Nick Orr.
7. Iowa State: I’m doing it. With the world at 0-0, this is the time to safely insert my bias. Jacob Park and the Cyclones are making a push for the middle tier.
8. Baylor: Offseason drama like we’ve rarely seen. New coach. New offense. That’s way too many red flags. The Bears are headed back to their rightful place in the conference cellar.
9: Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury is on the hottest of seats in Lubbock, and he lost a first-round draft pick at quarterback. But the new guy does have some sweet tats.
10. Kansas: Did you know the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year plays for the Jayhawks? His name is Dorance Armstrong. Seriously, look it up.