Big 12 Power Rankings Post-Spring 2024

As the calendar turns to May, the 2023-2024 academic year is just about wrapped up. Big 12 fans have gotten to write their break-up letter with Texas and Oklahoma. So it’s time to look forward to the bright new 16-team Big 12 conference. The portal is officially closed, and all teams have wrapped up spring practice. So where does every team find themselves in the first Big 12 power rankings heading into the 2024 season?

Big 12 Power Rankings Post-Spring

16. Cincinnati

Scott Satterfield enters his second season as head coach of the Bearcats. He needs to do something positive after a disastrous first season in the Big 12. But is there any real reason to believe in Satterfield? He is only 28-33 overall in his last five seasons as a power conference head coach since winning his three-straight Sun Belt titles at Appalachian State.

15. Houston

The question on everyone’s mind is how quickly new head coach Willie Fritz can get things turned around in H-Town. The Cougars, just like any program with a new head coach, flipped the roster through the two transfer portal windows with just under 20 new additions as they saw 30 depart. Veteran quarterback Donovan Smith is among the few returning starters back from the 2023 season. Expectations should be low for 2024.

14. Arizona State

This is really year one for Kenny Dillingham. Unfortunately for Dillingham, he quarterback prospect Jaden Rashada to Georgia through the portal. It will likely be up to transfer quarterback Sam Leavitt to guide the Sun Devils offense in 2024. There is a good chance that the Sun Devils will show progress on the on-the-field, but the results in the win column might remain the same as in 2023.

13. Baylor

No coach in these Big 12 power rankings faces a more pivotal season than head coach Dave Aranda. The Bears, only two years removed from winning the Big 12, have experience in their favor. Baylor has a whopping 18 starters returning from last season. However, the team is breaking in a new quarterback, and the defense also needs a significant rebound. Last year, the Bears defensive unit surrendered 6.58 yards per play, which was ranked 123rd in FBS football.

12. Colorado

One thing is for sure: Colorado’s possible outcomes this season make it hard to slot in these Big 12 power rankings. Head coach Deion Sanders has two of the best players in all of college football: Travis Hunter and Shedeur Sanders. However, the trenches are where the Buffaloes are at the greatest disadvantage. Sanders is attempting to flip his entire offensive line for the second consecutive season via the transfer portal. However, without any depth in the trenches and little time to develop continuity, it could be another long season with college football’s brightest spotlight shining down on Folsom Field from the Rocky Mountains.

11. BYU

Is BYU going to suffer back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the mid-2000s? Head coach Kalani Sitake has to hope that the experienced group of receivers he has returning can be the catalyst to elevate the play of transfer quarterback Gerry Bohanon. The Cougars also need to make significant improvements on defense after giving up nearly six yards per play last season.

10. TCU

Will the real Horned Frogs please stand up? TCU did not make a bowl game last season after advancing to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2022. No one expected TCU to compete again for a playoff spot in 2023. But missing a bowl game was still considered a massive failure. The Horned Frogs’ defense lacked game-changing plays, ranking last in the Big 12 for turnovers forced. They also lost stand-out defensive lineman Damonic Williams in the transfer portal to Oklahoma. Sonny Dykes does not have clarity at the quarterback position either heading into the fall camp.

9. UCF

Is Gus Malzahn ready to bring some magic to Orlando in 2024 (and not the Magic Kingdom kind, either)? The Knights have enough talent that could find them in the top third of the Big 12 standings. But it also creates a possibility that they will find themselves missing bowl season. UCF landed one of the most coveted transfer quarterbacks in former Arkansas standout KJ Jefferson. They also return an explosive running back in RJ Harvey. It could be a boom-or-bust season for UCF in 2024.

8. Texas Tech

Historic pre-season expectations were put on Texas Tech in 2023. They fell well short of the pre-season hype, but was it just a year too soon? Joey McGuire enters year three with most of his starters from the 2023 campaign gone. However, McGuire’s recruiting success and depth through transfer portal additions have reloaded the Red Raider roster. Running back Tahj Brooks is one of the best in the Big 12, and five-star wide receiver Micah Hudson looks to make an immediate impact as a true freshman. But the most pressing question is whether the offensive line will improve in protecting quarterback Behren Morton.

7. Iowa State

Is the Big 12 in store for a Matt Campbell renaissance season? The third-longest tenured head coach in the Big 12 enters his ninth season at Iowa State with many feeling he has lost his fastball since 2020. But remember, after a 1-2 start, the Cyclones closed the season with a 6-3 record. For 2024, Iowa State returns nearly every starter on offense and defense. When Campbell has that level of experience on his roster, Iowa State has become a dangerous team in the Big 12 race.

6. West Virginia

Neal Brown did possibly the most impressive coaching job during the 2023 Big 12 season. He brings back a veteran roster for 2024, and its powerful rushing attack will lead to that. Both CJ Donaldson and Jahiem White are back after leading the Mountaineers to the nation’s fourth-best rushing yards per game average. Quarterback Garrett Greene also returns after starting in 12 games last season. Can Brown continue a Morgantown build that mirrors the one he had in Troy?

5. Arizona

In these Big 12 power rankings, Arizona finds itself in a very unfamiliar position. That position is a team with conference title expectations. When former head coach Jedd Fisch left in January to take the job at Washington, everyone assumed he would bring all his best players with him. However, two key offensive leaders remained in Tucson. The first was Quarterback Noah Fifita, the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year. Fifita also gets his top receiving target, Tetairoa McMillan, back as well. Both will help new head coach Brent Brennan guide the Wildcats into the Big 12 and possibly challenge for the top conference in 2024.

4. Kansas

Only two things will likely stand in the way of Jayhawks’ Big 12 title run. Home games in Kansas City could be better while their stadium gets a massive (and much-needed) upgrade. However, the most likely factor will be the health of quarterback Jalon Daniels. Daniels has missed a combined 14 games in the last two seasons and will be running a new offense with the departure of Andy Kotelnicki to Penn State. However, with a healthy Daniels and head coach Lance Leipold limiting distractions, Kansas could be a serious threat in the Big 12 race.

3. Oklahoma State

Let’s all say it together, “Stop doubting Mike Gundy.” It’s almost cliche at this point, but last season really put that train of thought to the test. With a Big 12 title appearance in 2023, can they finally break through and win its first conference title since 2011? It certainly helps to have Doak Walker Award winner Ollie Gordon back in Stillwater. Ageless wonder quarterback Alan Bowman shouldn’t have to worry about splitting starting snaps this season. But will the lucky bounces go the other way this year? Oklahoma State played in six games, which were decided by only one touchdown or less, with the Pokes winning five.

2. Kansas State

All eyes will be on Heisman dark horse quarterback Avery Johnson in Manhattan. He flashed explosive running ability in his limited appearances last year as a true freshman. He has been given the keys to the offense, with Will Howard transferring to Ohio State. Stop me if you have heard this before; Kansas State has a talented 1-2 punch in the backfield, and Johnson has rushing abilities. Head coach Chris Klieman has done a remarkable job since taking over in 2019. Kansas State will be in the mix for another Big 12 title.

1. Utah

I’m so sorry, Big 12 members. The team atop the Big 12 power rankings is one of the country’s most consistent college football programs. Star quarterback Cam Rising will be fully healthy at the start of the 2024 season. Kyle Whittingham always has his Utah squad operating like a well-oiled machine. They still won eight games in a very competitive Pac-12 with their third-string quarterback last year. Their biggest concern is the defensive secondary, but many defensive starters return from a top-20 unit.

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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