- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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The last two weeks, we’ve examined and ranked the positional situations of every team in the Big 12, which concluded Thursday (you can see every ranking here).
To sum up this series, we’ve tallied up the scores to get a better sense of how the teams compare overall through the prism of individual position rankings.
Ten points were given for a No. 1 ranking in a positional category, nine points for a No. 2 ranking, so on and so forth.
Not surprisingly, Oklahoma and Baylor, both coming off BCS bowls, placed first and second. There were, however, a couple surprises in the final count.
Again, we’ll revisit these outlooks after the spring, where they’re sure to change. But until then, our pre-spring positional scorecard:
1. OKLAHOMA: This is where you end up ranking when you return 14 starters off a team that most recently popped the two-time defending national champs.
Special teams: 6
2. BAYLOR: There are some questions for the Big 12 champs, particularly in the defensive backfield. But the offensive skill talent is awesome, and by far the best in the league.
Special teams: 9
3. TEXAS: Quarterback remains the biggest issue for a program that has the talent and depth elsewhere to challenge for the league title. Texas must also find a suitable replacement for All-American kicker/punter Anthony Fera.
Special teams: 3
4. KANSAS STATE: K-State will ascend this list if it finds a viable replacement for running back John Hubert. The rest of the squad looks very solid.
Special teams: 8
5. TCU: Perhaps the biggest surprise in this ranking, TCU has a chance to field the best defense in the conference. Whether this amounts to anything hinges on what happens at quarterback, though the rest of the offense needs work, too.
Special teams: 10
6. TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders have the skill talent to be a threat, especially if QB Davis Webb makes the Year 2 leap. But Tech will still need some of its juco additions defensively to pan out.
Special teams: 7
7. WEST VIRGINIA: The Mountaineers are as deep as any team in the league at running back and linebacker. If a QB emerges and the receivers can make more plays than they did last year, this could be the type of offense Dana Holgorsen is accustomed to operating.
Special teams: 4
8. OKLAHOMA STATE: It's hard to believe the Cowboys will actually finish eighth in the league, but for a team with only nine returning starters, there are a bunch of voids to fill going into the spring.
Special teams: 1
9. IOWA STATE: The Cyclones bring back some playmakers offensively, but to get bowl eligible, they'll need to plug some holes in the defensive back seven.
Special teams: 5
10. KANSAS: What else can be expected from a program that's lost 29 of its last 30 Big 12 games?
Special teams: 2