The 2012 bowl season has started and on cue, so have the rumors surrounding potential early departures to the NFL.
Which junior from this season will forgo his fourth year and declare early for the 2013 NFL Draft?
We'll go ahead and run through the Big 12 bowls and highlight some players playing in each bowl who could potentially to hang up their Big 12 cleats and decide to play for paychecks instead.
Baylor offensive guard Cyril Richardson had an outstanding 2012. The 6-5, 335 pound tackle made All-Big 12 first team and was named the Big 12's Offensive Lineman of the Year, the first Baylor Bear offensive lineman to ever be honored with that selection by the conference.
Richardson started 25 consecutive games, but his start against Kansas was delayed until the second half due to an ejection in the previous week's game against Iowa State.
With senior quarterback Nick Florence and senior receiver Terrance Williams both going to the 2013 NFL Draft, Richardson's departure wouldn't be shocking.
The Red Raiders don't have any juniors that look ready to declare early for the draft. They do lose several seniors that will get picked up: Safety Cody Davis and tackle LaAdrian Waddle.
Quarterback Seth Doege, also a senior, has a shot at getting picked up in the late rounds.
Update: Stedman Bailey will declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Mountaineers' senior class departures are huge: Quarterback Geno Smith, center Joe Madsen and receiver Tavon Austin are among the more noticeable.
But there's a junior departure that will also hurt and that's receiver Stedman Bailey. While he hasn't made his departure official, there is doubt he will stay. Then again, after West Virginia's game against Kansas, Bailey was asked by reporters why he would stay.
“Just try to finish on top of the NCAA — all the records,” said the Biletnikoff finalist.
So maybe he will stay. Maybe.
Jackson Jeffcoat is one of the best defensive ends in the country and he should go in the first or second round if he declares for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Although Jeffcoat is projected by cbssports to go in the second round, his injured pectoral muscle may be the reason for that. Still, Jeffcoat finished as the team's second-leading tackler for losses despite missing half the season.
Cornerback Carrington Byndom might also be an early departure. He had the unenviable task of having to defend Stedman Bailey in the Longhorns' game against West Virginia, which didn't turn out well for Byndom. I think he would still be a great value in the mid-to-late rounds.
TCU has a couple of juniors who could declare early: Receiver Josh Boyce, defensive end Stansly Maponga and defensive back Jason Verrett.
Historically, TCU doesn't lose a lot of early departures to the NFL, but these players are all exceptional.
Boyce received an honorable mention on the All-Big team while both Verrett and Maponga made first team.
I don't see any early departures for the Cyclones but Kirby Van Der Kamp, their punter, would be an interesting choice if I had to pick somebody to go early. He has been named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week and made second team on the All-Big-12 team.
The list of notable departing seniors is long: DL Jake Washington, LB Jake Knott, LB A.J. Klein and safety Durrell Givens.
The biggest questions marks are running back Joseph Randle, defensive lineman Calvin Barnett and cornerback Justin Gilbert.
Randle would certainly get picked up in the first two rounds. Gilbert is a solid defensive back who also is a great kick/punt returner so he has tremendous two-way value.
Barnett was named to the All-Big 12 first team along with Randle.
The good news for Kansas State fans is due to Bill Snyder's philosophy of education coming first, the Wildcats don't lose a lot of juniors to the NFL draft.
The bad news is that Ty Zimmerman, Cornelius Lucas and John Hubert all had outstanding junior years. Will they declare early?
All three made All-Big 12 first team. If anyone would leave, it would have to be Hubert as his stock has gone up.
But I still think they stay and continue the Kansas State tradition of playing out their senior years.
The Sooners have a lot of talented juniors but the four who may declare for the draft are safety Tony Jefferson, receiver Kenny Stills, lineman Gabe Ikard and fullback Trey Millard.
All four made the All-Big-12 team with Stills and Ikard making the team in back-to-back years; Stills on the second team, Ikard on the first.
While Ikard is an outstanding lineman, he probably won't get selected until the middle rounds. Is that worth going early? Probably not.
Millard is a great blocker and receiver in addition to being a pounding runner. He looks NFL-ready.
Stills has great ability and should get selected in the early rounds so he could be an early departure as well as safety Tony Jefferson.