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Power Ranking Every Big 12 Football Team Post-Spring Practice

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

Power Ranking Every Big 12 Football Team Post-Spring Practice

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    Alonzo Adams

    Spring practice is over, and fans are now faced with the task of going all summer without college football. 

    But now that the spring season is over, it's time to see where every team is at in the Big 12. 

    As always, every team's spring game is taken with a grain of salt. Coaches rarely expose much of the playbook as teams are still in the infancy stage of developing as a unit for the fall. 

    But nevertheless, let's take a look at the Big 12 power rankings post-spring practice. 

10. Kansas

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    Associated Press

    The Kansas Jayhawks have been the bottom dwellers of the Big 12 for years now, and spring practice didn't give any indications that change is on the horizon. 

    The Jayhawks are in the midst of yet another quarterback battle, with no clear front-runner between Montell Cozart, Jake Heaps T.J. Millweard and Michael Cummings. 

    Cozart did have the best spring game of the group, a performance that included 70 rushing yards, a game-high 58 passing yards and two touchdowns. 

    But for Charlie Weis and Co. to take the next step, they need a solid gunslinger in a league known for its prolific passing. And no matter what answer they come up with of those four guys, none of those names will likely be elite. 

    Expect another tough year for KU. 

9. Iowa State

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    Charlie Neibergall

    Like the Jayhawks, the Iowa State Cyclones also have a quarterback battle on its hands. 

    Grant Rohach had the best spring game, throwing for 171 yards and led the Cyclones on three scoring drives. 

    But like KU, none of the competitors for the starting job—Rohach, Sam Richardson and Joel Lanning—are elite status. 

    The Cyclones' first-team defense did force seven three-and-outs in the spring game, giving Paul Rhoads some more confidence on that side of the ball. 

    Iowa State was dealt a huge blow when highly touted JUCO defensive back Devron Moore left the team, according to Rob Gray of The Gazette, due to homesickness. 

    With that big a blow to the defensive side of the ball and no clear choice at quarterback, Rhoads is facing a long summer and fall ahead of him. 

8. West Virginia

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    Craig Cunningham

    Another quarterback battle with no apparent front-runner produces another low-level Big 12 team in these power rankings. 

    Paul Millard, Skyler Howard and Clint Trickett are all battling for the job. Trickett missed the spring after undergoing surgery. 

    Millard had the best spring game between him and Howard, completing 14-of-19 passes for two touchdowns and 129 yards with no turnovers. 

    WVU's best strength is its secondary. With Karl Joseph and Daryl Worley, both of whom could earn All-Big 12 preseason honors, the Mountaineers could be competitive solely based on limiting teams' ability to air it out. 

    But the Mountaineers have a lot of holes, including nearly every position on offense. This season could be a long one in Morgantown, W.Va.

7. TCU

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    Jim Cowsert

    The TCU Horned Frogs finished up their spring game early, with its spring game being held on April 7. 

    In the open scrimmage, the offense didn't score a touchdown and committed four turnovers. Definitely not a good sign for a team that's struggled to put points on the board since joining the Big 12. 

    According to Max Olson of ESPN, Trevone Boykin continues to be the favorite at the quarterback position. But Boykin will get competition from Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein—a pair of incoming freshmen—this summer and fall. 

    The bright spot for TCU this spring was defensive end Devonte Fields, who looks to re-emerge as a dominant force in the league. 

    After missing most of last year due to injury, he got an interception and reportedly caused problems for the offense throughout the spring game. 

    If Fields can re-establish himself, that could set a good tone for TCU. But the team needs to get things figured out on offense first. 

6. Texas

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    Michael Thomas

    Charlie Strong is facing an uphill battle in his first season. 

    After David Ash missed most of the spring, including the spring game, with a broken foot, it appeared that Tyrone Swoopes had an opportunity to secure the job. 

    Instead, Swoopes was up-and-down, completing just 44 percent of his passes in the first half and finishing with just 229 yards through the air. 

    Texas should have a strong running game, but two of its three top backs missed the spring. While Malcolm Brown participated, Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray were out due to academics and injury, respectively. 

    Defensively, the Longhorns appear to have a lot of talent, but we've seen in recent years how that's translated on the field. 

    Charlie Strong reportedly told fans to not expect the Longhorns to compete for a national title. While competing for a national title and being competitive in the Big 12 are two vastly different things, Strong clearly isn't as confident as most of the Austin faithful would like him to be. 

5. Texas Tech

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Texas Tech looks like it could be a team on the rise, and quarterback Davis Webb could be the man to take the Red Raiders there. 

    Webb, who has full command of the starting job in Lubbock, Texas now after battling Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer all last year, looked tremendous in the spring game with 354 yards passing and four touchdowns. 

    Texas Tech may have also scored big on JUCO transfer safety Josh Keys, who forced a fumble, and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the spring game. 

    The Red Raiders defense is the team's biggest concern. But Keys could be a huge improvement there. 

    2014 will be the year for Kliff Kingsbury and Co. to capitalize as many teams around the league have quarterback controversies, so Texas Tech's security at that position is promising. 

4. Oklahoma State

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    Sue Ogrocki

    Mike Gundy always knows how to make his teams competitive for a Big 12 title. 

    But that doesn't mean that the Cowboys don't have plenty of holes to plug this offseason. 

    Most notably, they need a replacement for cornerback Justin Gilbert, and they need a new receiving threat. 

    Blake Webb may be able to fill the latter need. 

    Webb missed most of last year with a foot injury, but John Helsley of The Oklahoman writes that Webb is back on track to make a huge impact for the Cowboys. 

    Another issue for Oklahoma State is its quarterback job. J.W. Walsh and Mason Rudolph are battling it out for the starting gig, and both had decent showings in spring practice. 

    It's nice to have two viable candidates, but not having a solidified starter could hurt Oklahoma State. 

     

3. Kansas State

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    Charlie Riedel

    One of the few schools in the Big 12 to have a starting quarterback virtually set in stone is Kansas State with Jake Waters. And that could have Bill Snyder's Wildcats poised to make a huge run in the Big 12 this year. 

    Waters was unimpressive but not bad in the spring game with 227 passing yards and an interception. He had two touchdown passes dropped by his receivers. 

    Waters was also missing All-American receiver Tyler Lockett during the spring game. 

    The Wildcats also have arguably the best defensive end in the Big 12 in Ryan Mueller. He had three sacks in the spring game and could be poised for an All-American season himself in 2014. 

    Kansas State started out weak but finished the 2013-14 season strong with a dominating win over Michigan in its bowl game. That momentum could carry over to 2014, making K-State one of the Big 12's most dangerous teams. 

2. Oklahoma

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    Alonzo Adams

    Trevor Knight may have struggled in the spring game, but Oklahoma fans shouldn't worry about that too much. 

    Much of Knight's struggles may be because he was going up against probably the league's best defense. 

    Linebacker Eric Striker had two sacks, and sophomore Dakota Austin looks poised to replace Aaron Colvin in the secondary. The Sooners also return All-Big 12 defensive lineman Charles Tapper. 

    Oklahoma's defense will also be helped out by the fact that they'll be facing quarterback Baker Mayfield, who'll lead the scout team as he sits out due to transfer rules. Mayfield stole the show in the spring game 125 yards through the air and two touchdowns on 9-of-9 passing. 

    The Sooners have the perfect mix of youth and experience, and this team should compete with Kansas State and Baylor for the Big 12 title. 

1. Baylor

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    LM Otero

    The defending Big 12 champs have plenty of returners and didn't lose any crucial players to injury in the spring, so they'll retain the top spot in these power rankings. 

    Bryce Petty was up to his usual tricks in the spring game, throwing for two scores and 135 yards on just 15 attempts. 

    The Bears defense looks much improved. Shawn Oakman recorded two of the team's five sacks in the spring game and could be a huge force this fall. 

    The biggest issue in the running game. With the Bears losing Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, it appears that Shock Linwood will get the heavy lifting in that department. He missed the scrimmage in order for Briles to give other backs more touches. 

    But if Baylor continues to put up points the way they did last year, they'll once again be one of the most dangerous teams in the country. 

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