Certain Big 12 fans may want to look at Phil Steele's 2013 All-American team roster with eyes wide shut. Texas and Oklahoma failed to have any of their players named to his first team.
They were not completely shut out, but the two big boys of the Big 12 probably feel a little slighted. Or embarrassed.
Sooner center Gabe Ikard and cornerback Aaron Colvin were named to the second team and running back Damien Williams was named to the fourth. Longhorn defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat made the second team and cornerback Quandre Diggs made the third.
To put this in perspective, consider this: Western Kentucky and Kent State had the same number of players named to Steele's teams as Texas. Yes, really.
Golden Flash defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix made the fourth team, and all-purpose athlete Dri Archer made the first. Hilltopper linebacker Andrew Jackson made the fourth team, and all-purpose athlete Antonio Andrews made the third.
Either Kent State and Western Kentucky develop their talent better or something is seriously wrong in Texas. The Sun Belt's best linebacker is more highly regarded than any blue-chip linebacker in Austin.
The two non-BCS programs are coaching up their players. Their cups do not runneth over with 5-star prospects.
Western Kentucky had the 94th-ranked class of 2013 according to 247Sports—an improvement over last year's No. 99. Kent State did not even crack the top 100. It slid down to the No. 117 spot after 2012's 102nd ranking.
Kansas State is not a top destination choice for most 5-star prospects either. This year's class was ranked No. 61. Last year's was No. 74. The class of 2009 was not even ranked. For the first time in five years, the Wildcats broke into the top 50. Head coach Bill Snyder may not bring in 5-star talent, but he turns them into just that.
Kansas State had four players make Steele's teams. The Wildcats return 12 starters this year, which means 25 percent of their returning starters are All-Americans.
Of Kansas State's two returning defensive starters, one of them—safety Ty Zimmerman—made the second team. That's a fairly remarkable success percentage.
Baylor had two players named, in guard Cyril Richardson and running back Lache Seastrunk. TCU also had two. Cornerback Jason Verrett and defensive end Devonte Fields made first and second team, respectively.
Parity is always an issue in college football conferences, but not when it comes to Big 12 recruiting. Texas' recruiting classes are consistently above the rest of the Big 12 schools. 2012's class was ranked No. 2, 2011's No. 4 and 2010's No. 2.
Texas has suffered some key injuries. Linebacker Jordan Hicks was a 5-star linebacker in the class of 2010. He injured his hip against Ole Miss in September and missed the rest of the 2012 season.
Texas returns 10 starters on offense and nine on defense, according to Steele. The Longhorns have one of the more experienced rosters in the country yet...welp.
It is hard to fathom that a Sun Belt linebacker with one reported offer, no star rating nor ranking was named to Phil Steele's All-American team. It is harder to fathom Texas failing to have any of its 19 returning starters named First Team All-American. Good for the Hilltoppers.
Bad for Texas?