Big 12 final power rankings

Chris Cuellar and Jake Lovett

Editor’s note: The Daily’s football staff ranked the conference’s football teams throughout the season, and now give their final choices as the postseason is set to begin. Set in a points system, writers voted from top to bottom. The players and notes listed are purely the writers’ opinions and in no way represent the Daily or any other ranking system.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (11-2, 6-2)

Last time: No. 4

MVP: WR Ryan Broyles — 118 rec., 1,452 yards, 13 TD

Recap: Coming on strong late in the year, OU won its rivalry games, won the Big 12, and is headed to another BCS game. Ho-hum.

Outlook: The Fiesta Bowl offers Bob Stoops’ club just another bowl game with nothing to gain, taking on middling Connecticut. Young play-makers Roy Finch and Kenny Stills will get plenty of publicity very soon.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2, 6-2)

Last time: No. 1

MVP: WR Justin Blackmon — 102 rec., 1,665 yards, 18 TD

Recap: It all came down to Bedlam for the high-powered Pokes, but Mike Gundy’s squad played little brother for another season. On to the Alamo Bowl for a consolation game.

Outlook: The Fighting Pickens’ will lose sturdy Kendall Hunter this season, but could return many of the pieces that made them dangerous this season. Could Stillwater be the next Eugene?

3. Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3, 6-2)

Last time: No. 2

MVP: LB Lavonte David — 145 tackles, 14 TFL, 6 sacks

Recap: The Blackshirts came up big all season, but the quarterback situation was a problem yet again in Lincoln and left the Huskers a few points short in the Big 12 title game.

Outlook: A rematch against a bad Washington team in the Holiday Bowl again? Bo Pelini and Co. can’t run off to the Big Ten fast enough. Can’t say they haven’t had success in the Big 12, though.

4. Texas A&M Aggies (9-3, 6-2)

Last time: No. 3

MVP: QB Ryan Tannehill — 130/199 pass, 1,434 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT, 5 starts

Recap: It was too little, too late for the Aggies, who emerged as one of the hottest teams in the country thanks to Tannehill’s arm and the 12th Man. Plus, Mike Sherman got to keep his job.

Outlook: Plenty of talented players will play their last game for A&M in the Cotton Bowl, and Sherman will have to reload in a hurry in Aggieland.

5. Missouri Tigers (10-2, 6-2)

Last time: No. 5

MVP: TE Michael Egnew — 83 rec., 698 yards, 4 TD

Recap: The conference mark looks good for Gary Pinkel’s team, but they fell short yet again. Gabbert played well but not great, and Mizzou is on the outside looking in.

Outlook: Not sure this team can ever be more than a fast squad that beats up on the little guys, but Mizzou’s defense is getting better every year.

6. Baylor Bears (7-5, 4-4)

Last time: No. 7

MVP: QB Robert Griffin III — 274/413 pass, 3,195 yards, 21 TD, 591 rush yards, 8 TD

Recap: This season was a tremendous success, even if the stay in the Top 25 and atop the Big 12 South didn’t last. Griffin has sparked a resurgence in Waco, and best of all — the Bears were a lot of fun to watch.

Outlook: RGIII is back, which means expect another bowl bid for Art Briles’ team. Back Jay Finley is gone and the defense needs to shore up, but the sun is shining down south.

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5, 3-5)

Last time: No. 9

MVP: QB Taylor Potts — 326/495 pass, 3,357 yards, 31 TD, 65.9% comp.

Recap: Tommy Tuberville’s team never won three straight this year, and that inconsistent play kept them out of a higher bowl bid.

Outlook: Plenty of seniors are taking off from Lubbock this off-season. Consider this the time to settle on a quarterback and solidify the defense. We’ve heard this before.

8. Kansas State Wildcats (7-5, 3-5)

Last time: No. 6

MVP: RB Daniel Thomas — 276 rush, 1,495 yards, 16 TD

Recap: Getting run over by Nebraska changed the Wildcats’ season. What started out promising ended in a shootout against North Texas. That’s not the formula to win the division.

Outlook: Keep the apple jokes to yourself. Bill Snyder needs to find a passing game in a hurry, and every key player seems to have played at KSU for eight years.

9. Iowa State Cyclones (5-7, 3-5)

Last time: No. 8

MVP: LB Jake Knott — 130 tackles, 6 TFL, 4 INT, 4 FF

Recap: The Cyclones were so close to shocking the conference and getting to another bowl game. Paul Rhoads is building a penchant for tough play calls and even tougher players.

Outlook: The Cyclone offense hasn’t been prolific in a few years, but they’ll have lots of pieces to replace, in addition to reflecting on coming up just short.

10. Texas Longhorns (5-7, 2-6)

Last time: No. 10

MVP: LB Keenan Robinson — 113 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 INT, 2 FR

Recap: To call this season a disappointment in Austin is like saying Akron is ready to contend for a national title. Mack Brown had his worst year, and Garrett Gilbert proved he’s not ready for the spotlight.

Outlook: With all the money and facilities, the Longhorns have got to get better. Finding a running game and some toughness would be a great start.

11. Colorado Buffaloes (5-7, 2-6)

Last time: No. 11

MVP: OT Nate Solder — 12 starts, 847 plays, 1 sack allowed, 1 penalty

Recap: Brian Cabral might not get to keep his job, but the Buffs did play well late in the year. The offense showed flashes of potential late in the year, unfortunately…

Outlook: It will a new-look program next season, as the Buffs head to the Pac-10 and have a new roster and coaching staff. The Big 12 was not kind to Boulder.

12. Kansas Jayhawks (3-9, 1-7)

Last time: No. 12

MVP: P Alonso Rojas — 64 punts, 42.4 avg, long 77, 14 inside the 20

Recap: Mark Mangino took a lot of baggage with him when he left, and some of that may have been the talent in Lawrence. Jayhawk fans started counting down to basketball season even earlier this season.

Outlook: This was one of the least competitive teams in the country, and they’ll need all sorts of growth to move up in an even tighter conference next year.