Spring has sprung, and with it the first official batch of very early college football rankings and predictions for what figures to be an exciting 2022 season.
This figures to be one of the last years we see the Big 12 in its current iteration. Texas and Oklahoma are set to bolt for the SEC soon, but in exchange the Big 12 will land Cincinnati, Houston, UCF, and BYU.
So far, the Big 12 has sent just one team to the College Football Playoff — Oklahoma, which made the final four in Lincoln Riley's first three seasons — and hasn't won the national championship since Texas upset USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
Where do things stand in the conference for the 2022 season? Scroll through to see the latest power rankings in the Big 12, from worst to first.
Big 12 power rankings for the 2022 college football season
10. Kansas Jayhawks
2021 record: 2-10 (1-8 Big 12)
Where Kansas is right now: Look, the Jayhawks aren't making the College Football Playoff, but this team made some very notable moves under first-year coach Lance Leipold. In addition to piling up 57 points in a crazy OT win in Austin, KU played very close in losses against Oklahoma, West Virginia, and TCU, the last two by a combined nine points.
That late season momentum, combined with some key pieces coming back — quarterback Jalon Daniels, running back Devin Neal, and most of its defense — could find the Jayhawks in contention for a bowl game. Especially if they get off on the right foot in non-conference tilts against Tennessee Tech and Duke in September.
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders
2021 record: 7-6 (3-6 Big 12)
Where Texas Tech is right now: First-year coach Joey McGuire came into the job with a reputation for having strong recruiting connections in Texas, and so far he has really delivered on them, signing upwards of 20 players and ranking near the top of the 2023 cycle already.
Expect to see the Red Raiders move the ball very aggressively after hiring coordinator Zach Kittley, who helped orchestrate some of college football's most manic offenses, at Houston Baptist and Western Kentucky. Even defensively, this team showed some fight during the spring, and has the potential to change the (often unfair) narrative around supposedly subpar Big 12 defenses.
8. TCU Horned Frogs
2021 record: 5-7 (3-6 Big 12)
Where TCU is right now: For the first time in a generation, Gary Patterson won't be on the sideline in Fort Worth. First-year head coach Sonny Dykes steps in already down two vital players to the transfer portal: defensive end Ochaun Mathis (who left for Nebraska) and running back Zach Evans (Ole Miss). Expect an aggressive, downfield offense from Dykes, who coached the No. 13 unit in college football at SMU last fall, but he still has to decide who plays quarterback before the fall.
7. Iowa State Cyclones
2021 record: 7-6 (5-4 Big 12)
Where Iowa State is right now: It looks like Hunter Dekkers will finally get his shot at quarterback after Brock Purdy left for the NFL. He brings a potentially huge arm to this offense and gets Xavier Hutchinson back at receiver (987 yards, 5 TDs) to create what could be one of the more entertaining pairings in the Big 12 this year. But the Cyclones need to come up with other options, too, after losing back Breece Hall and tight end Charlie Kolar.
Will McDonald should anchor this defensive front seven again, while linebackers O'Rien Vance and Gerry Vaughn provide some needed experience. But there are holes to fill at defensive back to help out Anthony Johnson, a solid corner who moves to safety this fall.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers
2021 record: 6-7 (4-5 Big 12)
Where West Virginia is right now: The Mountaineers took a punch in the jaw depth-wise this offseason after a tidal wave of high-profile transfers, especially on defense, which isn't returning a ton of experience on the back end.
One plus: the addition of JT Daniels, the once extremely promising quarterback who went undefeated in two stints as Georgia's starter, but whose career was derailed by injury and then Stetson Bennett. The former 5-star recruit steps into an offense with a few excellent speed options on the perimeter and Graham Harrell, who worked with Daniels at USC, calling plays.
5. Kansas State Wildcats
2021 record: 8-5 (4-5 Big 12)
Where Kansas State is right now: Granted, we didn't learn much about the Wildcats this spring thanks to a pile of injuries, but what we know looks promising. New quarterback Adrian Martinez, in from Nebraska, figures to have a pair of solid targets in Chabastin Taylor and Phillip Brooks, in addition to Deuce Vaughn, a 1,400-yard rusher with 18 TDs last year.
K-State played some close games in losses to Oklahoma, Texas, and Baylor in coach Chris Klieman's third season. But this roster is facing some structural concerns, having to replace three offensive line starters and a secondary in need of fresh blood.
4. Texas Longhorns
2021 record: 5-7 (3-6 Big 12)
Where Texas is right now: Winning five games isn't going to cut it at Texas, and neither will losing at home to Kansas. Steve Sarkisian enters Year 2 already under some considerable pressure, but armed with a few pieces to turn the page offensively.
Not least Quinn Ewers, the 5-star quarterback prospect who came home after flirting with Ohio State last season. He'll get Xavier Worthy going downfield a year after scoring 12 times with a shade under 1,000 yards receiving, and Bijan Robinson returns following an 1,120 yard rushing effort with 11 TDs as one of college football's top backs.
But it'll only work if Texas figures out the offensive line and repairs a defense that was third-worst in the Big 12 in total yardage a year ago and fourth-worst in allowing 31.1 points per game, a number that rose to 35 points per game in conference matchups.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys
2021 record: 12-2 (8-1 Big 12)
Where Oklahoma State is right now: A lot of the defense that ranked No. 3 in college football will have to be replaced, including a slew of vital inputs in the back seven alignment. It's the main job awaiting new coordinator Derek Mason, who replaces Jim Knowles, who took the same job at Ohio State.
Malcolm Rodriguez and Devin Harper are gone at linebacker, as are safeties Kolby Harvell-Peel and Tanner McCallister, and cornerbacks Christian Holmes and Jarrick Bernard-Converse have departed. OSU brings back the bulk of an outstanding defensive line, though, including Collin Oliver, Tyler Lacy, and Brock Martin, a trio of quality tacklers who can create negative plays on the regular.
2. Baylor Bears
2021 record: 12-2 (7-2 Big 12)
Where Baylor is right now: Blake Shapen took and held the starting quarterback gig this spring after a stellar showing in the Big 12 title game last year. He completed his first 17 passes against OSU's third-ranked defense and finished with three TDs in the win.
Baylor has to find new inputs at receiver and running back, although the return of Craig Williams from injury bodes well for the position. Gavin Holmes has promise at receiver, but has played limited snaps due to injury and a redshirt last season. This defense was one of two in the Big 12 to surrender fewer than 20 points per game, and brings back most of that production.
1. Oklahoma Sooners
2021 record: 11-2 (7-2 Big 12)
Where Oklahoma is right now: When you lose a coach like Lincoln Riley, you have to make a statement with his replacement.
Oklahoma did that by bringing on Brent Venables, arguably the best defensive coordinator in college football, from Clemson. And someone known to Sooner fans, as he worked under Bob Stoops at OU from 1999 to 2011, including on the school's last national championship team.
The current OU defense brings back a projected four starters, but Venables shouldn't have much trouble recruiting and cultivating talent on that side of the ball.
Watch how Jeff Lebby, Ole Miss' play-caller a year ago, fine tunes this offense. He and transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel already have a working relationship when both orchestrated a top 10 offense at UCF during the 2019 season, but some work needs to be done at receiver.