Spring practice is fast approaching in College Football. Being that we are excited for the sport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we have decided on a way-too-early power rankings for the Big 12 in 2021. There is a lot of talent from top-to-bottom, and if Oklahoma should stumble, it will be anyone’s crown for the taking.
Here are VOM‘s way-too-early Big 12 power rankings for 2021:
Ah, yes – the Jayhawks. After an 0-9 season in 2020, it is hard to imagine this team getting any better under Les Miles. The former national champion hasn’t been able to fix this program, and at this point it doesn’t seem like anybody will. With Pookah Williams and Andrew Parchment gone, it is hard to name even one solid player on the offense. This team might have one conference win in them for 2021, but that’s it. Gloomy days are still on the horizon in Lawrence.
9. Texas Tech
Honestly, look for the Red Raiders to fall off of a cliff in 2021. Matt Wells is proving his hiring was a mistake, and the quarterback position has been a carousel ever since Pat Mahomes’s departure. If Kansas were to knock off a Big 12 foe this season, it would be against the Red Raiders in Lawrence. Texas Tech is officially a basketball school.
The Bears should be better, but maybe only one or two more wins better. With the departure of Charlie Brewer, Baylor will be without their lifeline on offense from the last few seasons. Defensively, with Dave Aranda at the helm, this team should be fine. Things are getting rebuilt in Waco, but this program is still one or two seasons away from even competing.
Everyone from 3 to 7 is pretty much interchangeable, but I am going with the Horned Frogs at 7. Until this program can show some offensive efficiency, I think they will hover around the .500 to mediocre mark. Max Duggan simply isn’t the answer. If Oklahoma transfer Chandler Morris is available for the season, I would expect him to push Duggan for playing time. The defense will be fine under Gary Patterson, but how far can that unit take the team? It is going to be an interesting fall in Fort Worth.
6. Kansas State
This is the one team in the Big 12 that I am unsure about the most. Sure, they have been able to knock off the Sooners the last two seasons, but second half collapses have doomed the Wildcats. Back will be quarterback Skylar Thompson and running back Deuce Vaughn, but I am not sure they are enough to make a difference. However, what I do like is Chris Klieman. If he has proven anything, it’s that he can coach with the best of them. If not for him, the Wildcats would have likely been lower on this list.
5. West Virginia
As much as I wanted to put the Mountaineers higher, I will just have to settle with dead in the middle for the time being. West Virginia will be one of the most experienced teams in the league in 2021, but offensively, the team still has questions that need to be answered. While many may be pointing to Jarret Doege with their concerns, we will put our worries towards the receivers. Doege can’t catch the ball for them, too. If they clean up their play and limit the drops, this West Virginia team could be the surprise of the conference. Expect Jordan Lesley and ShaDon Brown to have the defense ready to rumble for the top spot in the conference statistically once again.
Horns will always go down, but unfortunately, the Longhorns always have talent. Though there will be a new man in charge with Steve Sarkisian, Texas should still be fun to watch in 2021. Bijan Robinson will be the workhorse of the offense, and could quickly elevate himself to being recognized as one of the best running backs in the nation, much less the conference. There will be no Big 12 title this season with Sam Ehlinger gone, but this year should be a step in the right direction.
3. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys will have to replace a lot of production on offense, but Mike Gundy has proven that he is always ready to reload. Spencer Sanders should have a lot of momentum going into the offseason coming off a solid effort against Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl. Should he continue to improve his game, Oklahoma State will not miss a beat with the departures of Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace.
That’s right, we do not think the Sooners are the best team in the conference going into 2021. With that being said, they should be right back in the title game at the end of the season. Spencer Rattler really heated up down the stretch for the Sooners, and will likely be in Heisman contention this fall. Defensively, the Sooners will continue to improve under Alex Grinch. Lincoln Riley has himself another solid squad in Norman.
- Iowa State
The Cyclones have themselves a damn good football team. Not just good, DAMN good. This team is ready to take that next step under Matt Campbell, and they proved so in 2020. With Brock Purdy and Breece Hall on offense, accompanied by a defense with too many playmakers to even name, I expect Iowa State to march towards their first Big 12 title ever in 2021. It will not be easy, but if I had to bet on it, it will be done. Outside of Morgantown, there isn’t a fanbase that deserves this success more than the folks of Ames, Iowa.