No. 12 Oklahoma State

Texas or Oklahoma State? Oklahoma State or Texas?

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That was the question in my mind when I was thinking about my pre-season top 16. I didn’t really see room for more than two teams from the Big 12, which is fifth in my mind among the Power Five conferences.

A lot of people are assuming that Tom Herman is going to wave his magic wand and restore the Longhorns to glory. It’s the most anticipated coaching debut in Austin since. . . Charlie Strong. (True fact: I expected Strong to shine in the Lone Star state.)

We’ll see about Herman, who is an outstanding prospect after accomplishing so much at Houston. I expect him to do well. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the Longhorns endured a period of adjustment this fall.

Meanwhile, Mike Gundy will have another high-flying offense in Stillwater, thanks to the return of quarterback Mason Rudolph, who pondered passing on his senior season and heading to the NFL.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

The defense doesn’t look like it will overwhelm, but that should add to the excitement of the offense. For all the flashy scoring potential, Oklahoma State figures to bring a gritty determination each week.

And while the Big 12’s big boys in Austin and Norman are figuring things out under their new can’t-miss coaches, the Cowboys could have a surprisingly good year.[/membership]