Football is in the air.

College football begins next week and this season is shaping up to be the most exciting in Big 12 history with so many storylines and conference contenders.

Yes, it’s going to be a memorable year.

This is the last time Texas and Oklahoma will be playing in the Big 12, while it will be the first Big 12 season for BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston. For the first time since 2009, Texas is the league favorite, while Oklahoma looks to bounce back from one of it’s worst seasons in decades under second year head coach Brent Venables. TCU is coming off a season where it gave the Big 12 it’s first-ever College Football playoff win and Kansas State looks to repeat as the Big 12 champion. For the cherry on top, Kansas has the Big 12’s Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in Jalon Daniels. Yes, things are crazy!

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Looking around at other conferences, we already know it’s Ohio State and Michigan in the Big 10, and Alabama and Georgia in the SEC. However, in the Big 12 Conference, it’s wide open as it’s ever been with so many teams having a realistic shot at claiming the Big 12 title this year.

With a week until the first games are played, here’s a look at my Big 12 preseason power rankings.

Big 12 Football: Preseason 2023 Power Rankings

My Power Rankings

Big 12 Football Preseason Poll (Media) 

1. Kansas State 
1. Texas
2. Texas 
2. Kansas State
3. Oklahoma
3. Oklahoma
4. TCU
4. Texas Tech
5. Texas Tech
5. TCU
6. Baylor
6. Baylor
7. Kansas
7. Oklahoma State
8. Oklahoma State
8. UCF
9. BYU
9. Kansas
10. UCF
10. Iowa State
11. Iowa State
11. BYU
12. Houston
12. Houston
13. Cincinnati
13. Cincinnati
14. West Virginia
14. West Virginia

1. Kansas State
— The reigning conference champs earned this preseason spot, but that can all change after the first week of games are played. The Wildcats have big shoes to fill with the departure of Deuce Vaughn to the NFL. However, with quarterback Will Howard back, as well as the entire offensive line — one of the best in the country — Kansas State looks primed to defend it’s Big 12 title.

2. Texas — Yes, we all know Texas is one of the blue bloods in college football and has all the money and resources to get all the best talent year in and year out. However, looking at Texas’ record over the past decade (69-56), the Longhorns under achieve every year. Every year we hear “Texas is back” but with nearly a .500 record over the past decade, I’m not buying the hype until the program can deliver. Texas has the talent no doubt, but can coach Steve Sarkisian’s squad actually put all of it together and win the league for the first time in 2009?

3. Oklahoma — Last season’s 6-7 record was the epitome of “Choklahoma” as the Sooners ended the season with a losing record for the first time since 1998 (5-6). The good news is that quarterback Dillon Gabriel returns in what should be a high-powered offense. However, the biggest question is… can the defense stop anyone? Head coach Brent Venables, a defensive guru who turned Clemson into a defensive powerhouse, looks to turn the defense around after the Sooners allowed more than 30 points per game last year. This year marks just the fourth time in the last 14 years that Oklahoma was not the preseason media choice to win the Big 12, so expect Venables to use that as motivation this year.

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4. TCU — I gave the Horned Frogs a preseason bump based on last year’s incredible run. Don’t expect another national championship run this year with the loss of several key players, including Max Duggan, Kendre Miller and Quentin Johnston on offense, however, never underestimate the Horned Frogs who went from unranked all the way to the Championship game last year. The defense has a few holes to plug up front and in the secondary, but eight starters are back to provide a solid foundation.

5. Texas Tech — The Red Raiders are a darkhorse to win the Big 12 title based on how the program ended last year with four consecutive wins, including victories over Oklahoma and Ole Miss. With 14 returning starters, head coach Joey McGuire has a lot to like about his team. That’s why it was no surprise to see Texas Tech get several first place votes in the Big 12 preseason media poll. If quarterback Tyler Shough can stay healthy and the offensive line can improve after giving up 41 sacks last year, the Red Raiders will be a force to be reckoned with this year.

6. Baylor — After winning the Big 12 title in 2021, the Bears got off to a great start (6-3) last year before losing their last four games to drop to 6-7. Quarterback Blake Shapen returns but is the passing game hasn’t improved since last year, the Bears might end up a few spots lower than this. But if there’s significant improvement, Baylor could certainly challenge for the Big 12 title.

BYU Football: 2023 Season Preview and Prediction

7. Kansas — The Jayhawks showed drastic improvement last year jumping from 2-10 to 6-7 last season, including some close losses to TCU and Oklahoma too. Kansas also has the Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in Jalon Daniels to with an offense that returns 10 starters. The Jayhawks shouldn’t have any trouble scoring and they also lead the league with the most starters returning (17). If the defense can make improvements, the Jayhawks could surprise a lot of people this year.

8. Oklahoma State — The Cowboys weren’t very good last year (7-6) and have some challenges to get back to what the program used to be when they were always ranked in the Top 25 and were contending for the conference title. And while Oklahoma State may end up having a better record than Kansas and Baylor thanks to one of the easiest scheduled in the Big 12, we have to remember that this is a power ranking, not a standings prediction. With a new quarterback as well as a new defense, there are more questions than answers heading into the season.

9. BYU — BYU has easily one of the toughest Big 12 schedules — so much for the warm welcome — but based on talent, the Cougars could easily move up several spots if things go their way. Former USC and Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis fits in perfectly at BYU and the Cougar offense should have no problems scoring points. In fact, I think Slovis will surprise a lot of folks and put up similar numbers this year (3,502 yards, 30 TDs) as he did at USC during his freshman year. On defense, things can only get better after last year’s debacle and with the addition of a new defensive coordinator (Jay Hill), things are looking better in Provo. The Cougars are going to be a physical team and is one that no team can overlook.

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10. UCF — A lot of folks are saying the Knights appear to be the conference newcomers best-positioned to make a splash in 2023. While that may be the case based on record — with the Knights getting a very favorable schedule — UCF isn’t the team that it used to be during its NY6 run (Peach and Fiesta Bowl). The Knights lost 49-23 to BYU in a bowl game not long ago and were clearly outmatched. UCF has a lot of returning starters, but the Knights need to prove themselves and they can do just that as they travel to Boise State and Kansas State in September.

11. Iowa State — The Cyclones could be higher, however, the mystery surrounding the sports betting investigation that involves multiple players, including QB Hunter Dekkers and RB Jirehl Brock looms large. There’s still a lot of questions when it comes to the offense, but luckily for head coach Matt Campbell, the Cyclones should have another terrific defense that will keep them in most games this season. With 16 returning starters, Iowa State could make a big jump depending on how things go this season.

12. Houston — The last three teams could easily swap places, however, I’m giving  Houston the edge since they have fewer challenges to deal with. Yes, the Cougars lose longtime quarterback Clayton Tune and talented wideout Tank Dell. Ex-Texas Tech QB Donovan Smith will do his best to replace Tune as the junior quarterback completed 66% of his passes for 1,505 yards and 12 TDs in 12 games last year. Head coach Dana Holgorsen is entering his fifth year at Houston so at least there’s some stability there for the program.

13. Cincinnati — What a difference a year makes. After NY6 appearances in the Cotton and Peach Bowls, the Bearcats find themselves near the bottom of the Big 12 after head coach Luke Fickell left to coach Wisconsin. With a number of players off to the NFL the last two years, the Bearcats have a lot of unanswered questions heading into Scott Satterfield’s first year with the program.

14. West Virginia — Sorry Mountaineers, somebody had to be last! This, along with being picked last in the Big 12 media poll is the fuel that West Virginia coach Neal Brown needs to turn the program around. The fifth year coach has gone 22-25 in the last four seasons and has not won more than six games during those years too. But there is hope and that rets alongside the offensive line where the group returns 132 combined starts. If the defense can get better, there’s no reason why West Virginia can’t move up several spots and challenge for a bowl berth.

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BYU Football: 2023 Season Preview and Prediction