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What do the Big 12 preseason rankings mean?

Care to guess which Big 12 team is consistently picked incorrectly in the preseason polls? What about the most overrated?




The Big 12 preseason polls are out and people are probably more worried about them than they should be. Or are they? Here’s what the top 10 looks like according to the media as we head into the 2014 season:

Rank Team Points
1 OU 548
2 Baylor 508
3 Kansas State 377
4 Texas 376
5 Oklahoma State 312
6 Texas Tech 308
7 TCU 297
8 West Virginia 170
9 Iowa State 121
10 Kansas 63

So our Pokes are picked 5th which seems pretty fair given that we’re losing approximately 392 seniors from last year’s 10-2 team. But how accurate is the media historically when it comes to picking these things?

I went back over the 18-year history of the conference to get an answer to that question. Here’s a look at how much (on average) each team’s slot varies from where it finishes in the postseason.

Obviously this favors teams that are traditionally consistent (Kansas and Baylor at the bottom, OU and Texas at the top) but it’s still fun to look at.

Team Variance
OU .8 spots
Texas .8 spots
Kansas .8 spots
Baylor .9 spots
Oklahoma State 1 spot
Texas Tech 1.2 spots
Iowa State 1.2 spots
Kansas State 1.7 spots
TCU 2 spots
West Virginia 6 spots

Bill Snyder gonna Bill Synder. Of the 14 times KSU has been incorrectly picked 10 of them have been because they were picked too low.

OSU has been picked too low three of the last five years and too high only once since 2007 (and that was last year at No. 1). Here’s that chart:

Team Too low Too high Perfect
Texas Tech 12 4 2
Kansas State 10 4 4
Iowa State 8 4 6
Oklahoma State 6 6 6
OU 4 6 8
Baylor 6 2 10
Kansas 4 5 9
Texas 3 6 9
West Virginia 0 1 1
TCU 0 2 2

We always whine about OU and Texas being overrated — and I think they are nationally — but OSU is right there with both of them when it comes to being picked too high traditionally in the Big 12.

Also, beware of Tech and KSU. And finally my favorite chart. The one that shows big misses (mis-slotting a team by three or more in the preseason):

Team Big misses
Kansas State 4
Texas 2
Iowa State 2
Baylor 2
OU 1
Oklahoma State 1
Kansas 1
Texas Tech 1
West Virginia 1

OSU’s only big miss came in 2010 when it was picked fifth and finished second. Kansas State was picked eighth in 2011 and finished second and sixth in 2012 and won the whole dang thing (sorry, OU).

I’m not sure how much these tell us about the upcoming season but I think they voice a good narrative overall. Or maybe confirm some narratives we thought we had. Kansas State is always scary. OU is always consistent — of the eight times it was picked perfectly, six (!) were a first-place finish. And OSU is as evenly distributed as a team can get.

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