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Way-Too-Early Top 25s Suggest the New-Look Big 12 Will Be a Lot of Fun in 2024

We counted seven Big 12 teams appearing in different way-too-early rankings.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The 2023 college football season was put to rest just two short days ago, and the college football media ecosystem wasted no time in previewing 2024.

Just about every national outlet you could name released a “way-too-early top 25” over the past few days, and Oklahoma State was listed in every one I could find. However, the Cowboys weren’t the only Big 12 squad in the rankings. Here is a look at eight of those rankings with some thoughts on what it means for the new-look Big 12 below.

ESPN USA Today CBS Yahoo Sports PFF 247Sports Sporting News The Athletic
1 Georgia Georgia Georgia Alabama Georgia Georgia Georgia Georgia
2 Texas Alabama Alabama Georgia Alabama Texas Alabama Alabama
3 Oregon Michigan Michigan Texas Texas Alabama Texas Oregon
4 Alabama Texas Oregon Michigan Michigan Oregon Michigan Ohio State
5 Ohio State Ole Miss Ole Miss Ole Miss Ole Miss Ohio State Oregon Texas
6 Michigan Notre Dame Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ole Miss Ohio State Michigan
7 Ole Miss Oregon Texas Oregon Oregon Michigan Ole Miss Washington
8 Missouri Oklahoma Missouri Missouri Penn State Missouri Notre Dame Ole Miss
9 Arizona Ohio State Notre Dame Notre Dame Missouri Notre Dame Washington Notre Dame
10 Notre Dame LSU Arizona Penn State Arizona Penn State Florida State Clemson
11 Washington Clemson Oklahoma Florida State Notre Dame Tennessee Arizona Utah
12 Penn State Tennessee LSU Washington Utah Oklahoma Missouri Oklahoma State
13 Utah Arizona Utah Kansas State Clemson LSU LSU Arizona
14 LSU Missouri Tennessee Utah Louisville Clemson Tennessee Tennessee
15 Oklahoma Penn State Washington Clemson Washington Kansas State Penn State Oklahoma
16 Florida State Utah Penn State Tennessee Florida State Utah Clemson Louisville
17 Tennessee Washington Kansas State Oklahoma Tennessee Arizona Utah Kansas
18 Oklahoma State Florida State SMU LSU Oklahoma USC Oklahoma Penn State
19 Clemson USC Florida State Arizona LSU Miami Oklahoma State Florida State
20 NC State Oklahoma State Kansas Iowa USC Louisville Kansas State LSU
21 Kansas State NC State Clemson SMU Kansas Washington USC Missouri
22 Louisville Kansas NC State Oklahoma State Kansas State Florida State Louisville Iowa
23 Kansas Memphis Oklahoma State Wisconsin Oklahoma State NC State SMU Iowa State
24 SMU Iowa Texas A&M Boise State SMU Iowa Kansas Kansas State
25 Iowa Virginia Tech Louisville Louisville Liberty Oklahoma State Georgia Tech West Virginia

First of all, that’s a lot of way-too-early rankings. We, as a media world, might’ve gone too far.

Oklahoma State was, on average, ranked 20.25 in these lists with the Cowboys’ highest ranking being Stewart Mandel’s No. 12 for The Athletic.

I don’t think anyone should get too riled up over rankings done in January, but Kansas State was an interesting team in this little exercise. Yahoo has the Wildcats all the way up at No. 13, but USA Today didn’t have K-State in the top 25. Utah was the most tightly packed of the conference with its high being No. 11 from The Athletic and its low being No. 17 from The Sporting News. Outlets also couldn’t decide what to do with the Jayhawks. KU was ranked ahead of Sunflower Showdown rival K-State three times but was left off two lists entirely.

Here are the averages of all the Big 12 teams included on any one of these in order:

Arizona: 12.75
Utah: 14
Kansas State (7): 18.86
Oklahoma State: 20.25
Kansas (6): 21.17
Iowa State (1): 23
West Virginia (1): 25

So, here in January, 11 spots in national rankings differentiate the top seven teams in the conference. Although it might be disappointing the Big 12 isn’t thought to have a consensus Top-10 team (ESPN ranked Arizona ninth), it shouldn’t matter with the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams. The winner of the Big 12 will almost assuredly be in. That means we’ll get to watch those seven schools slug it out without having to worry about if a certain team winning is best for the league.

Dates on games are still TBD, but here is a look at how these seven teams will matchup with each other in 2024:

Utah: at OSU, vs. Arizona, vs. Iowa State
Arizona: at Utah, vs. West Virginia
Kansas State: at Iowa State, at West Virginia, vs. OSU, vs. Kansas
OSU: at Kansas State, vs. Utah, vs. West Virginia
Kansas: at Kansas State, at West Virginia, vs. Iowa State
Iowa State: at Utah, at Kansas, at West Virginia, vs. Kansas State
West Virginia: at Arizona, at OSU, vs. Kansas, vs. Kansas State, vs. Iowa State

So, advantage (according to these rankings, anyway): Arizona. The Wildcats are the only of the seven to play only two games against other teams from the group. Disadvantage: Iowa State. The Cyclones play four from the group, including three on the road. West Virginia also has a tough task as the only team going against five of a possible six, but the Mountaineers do, at least, get three of those games in Morgantown.

The Cowboys will play three of a possible six, but getting Utah and West Virginia at home could be huge. The Pokes will hope their trip to Manhattan in 2024 doesn’t go like their trip to the Little Apple in 2022.

One or two of those seven teams will probably be worse than these projections, but someone else in the league will probably be better than anticipated. West Virginia was picked last in the 2023 preseason poll just to finish sixth last year.

If preseason rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, these way-too-early rankings should be touring Salt Plains State Park. But what this should signify to us is that the Big 12 is going to be as competitive as ever in 2024 with its new coat of paint.

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