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The “Way Too Early” 2013 Big 12 Power Rankings

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Whether we want to accept it or not, the college football season is once again over.

To avoid the offseason for as long as possible, here are my 2013 Power Rankings.

1. TCU Horned Frogs

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall has not declared for the NFL draft yet. He is the best quarterback remaining in the Big 12 with Geno Smith, Landry Jones, Collin Klein and Nick Florence all leaving.

Defensively, TCU looks about as strong as any other defense in the Big 12. Freshman defensive end Devonte Fields returns after piling up 33 tackles, 10 sacks and an interception in 2012.

TCU was a very young team in 2012. Now, another year older, the team has experience and maturity. Also, TCU faced a lot of injuries this season and could be a lot better in 2013 if it can stay healthy.

2. Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State has running back Joseph Randle returning after running for 1417 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012, and a three man quarterback battle between Wes Lunt, Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh should light a fire under whoever earns the job and provide depth at the quarterback position.

Cornerback Justin Gilbert is returning with 54 tackles in 2012. The OSU defense didn’t do much in 2012 compared to years past, and is the reason OSU earns the number two spot on this list, rather than number one.

If OSU’s defense shows up in 2013, it could have a serious chance at a Big 12 title.

3. Baylor Bears

Baylor ended 2012 on a very hot streak, winning its last five games, with a win over the number one team in the country and a big bowl win.

I have Baylor ranked much higher than most because of running back Lache Seastrunk. You may remember him. A few weeks ago he announced that he would be the best running back in college football and guaranteed a Heisman victory. I wouldn’t go that far, but he is capable of leading the Baylor offense to a decent number of wins.

Nick Florence’s replacement is junior Bryce Petty who could pick up the offense quickly. He threw only 10 passes in 2012, but completed 7 of them and threw a touchdown.

If Baylor’s defense improves, Baylor could be an outside shot at a Big 12 title.

4. Oklahoma Sooners

Losing Landry Jones will hurt the Sooners more than most think. The returning receivers have played three seasons with Jones and will have to figure out a new quarterback for 2013. Junior quarterback Blake Bell will return, but was used more as a rusher than a passer for the Sooners in 2012, throwing only 16 passes all season.

The Sooners lack a star player for 2013, but have a solid amount of talent across the board. They may not have one great player but they have a number of good players who could have a solid 2013 season.

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech lost quarterback Seth Doege, who was a huge part of its success in 2012. The good news however, is that his replacement, Michael Brewer threw 48 passes in 2012 and completed 34 for 375 yards and four touchdowns.

Also, Texas Tech now has a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury. I think it will take Kingsbury some time to grab ahold of his team, but if he exceeds my expectations, TTU could have a satisfactory season.

6. Texas Longhorns

Quarterback David Ash returns for the Longhorns after completing 214 passes for 2699 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2012. He also threw eight interceptions and looked spotty at times.

Texas lost a few players on the defensive side of the ball and needs to improve as it ranked 74th in points allowed per game.

Texas is capable of having a good or bad season, it just depends on how well players perform.

7. West Virginia Mountaineers

The 2012 Mountaineers had Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. They didn’t have much else. Now, all three are gone.

WVU has a strong defensive recruiting class entering for 2013, and a promising Redshirt freshman quarterback in Ford Childress, who will most likely pass junior Paul Millard for the quarterback job.

Childress will be good one day, but has a lot to learn before he gets there. 2013 may be a tough season for Mountaineer fans.

8. Kansas State Wildcats

KSU lost Collin Klein, Chris Harper, Travis Tannahill and Braden Wilson. In addition to those loses, KSU lost its entire defensive line and both cornerbacks. I think KSU is lucky if it makes a bowl game in 2013.

9. Iowa State Cyclones

ISU lost both of its star linebackers and hands the ball to freshman quarterback Sam Richardson, who isn’t exactly Peyton Manning. ISU will struggle to become bowl eligible in 2013.

10. Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas has JUCO recruits that are supposed to be good, but until I’ve seen something promising, they’ll remain as the worst Big 12 team.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS