Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor to contend for conference title

Coming out of last spring, Oklahoma was expected to march to its seventh consecutive Big 12 title and potentially challenge for the national championship with the best team in Lincoln Riley’s tenure.

A lot has changed in a year. The Sooners were dethroned by Baylor, Riley is now at Southern California and the race for this year’s conference title is completely up in the air.

Oklahoma is hoping to rebound with former assistant Brent Venables now in charge of the program. Texas is looking to improve after Steve Sarkisian’s first season ended with a losing record. Oklahoma State wants to go one step further after narrowly losing in the league’s championship game but lost several important pieces.

Beyond the big three, Iowa State has concerns after a disappointing season. Baylor will fight to keep its spot at the top of the league. West Virginia and Kansas State aim to build on last year’s bowl appearances. TCU and Texas Tech welcome new coaches and Kansas seeks to get out of the conference basement.

ACC spring football power rankings: Clemson on top, but for how much longer?

1. Oklahoma (2021 record: 11-2)

Applying conventional wisdom, there would be an expectation that the Sooners would take a step back after losing their coach and several players to the transfer portal, including quarterback Caleb Williams. Venables, however, is brining a fresh approach, especially on defense, that has been embraced by the holdovers. Central Florida transfer Dillon Gabriel steps in behind center with former Ole Miss coordinator Jeff Lebby leading the offense. Venables, who was the architect of Clemson’s title-winning defenses, knows how to get that until performing. This is still the team to beat, though the race won’t be easy.

2. Oklahoma State (12-2)

The Cowboys are in great shape if experience at quarterback can guarantee a successful…


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