Comparing My Big 12 Preseason Ballot To Final Media Poll
Jul 6, 2023, 3:07 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm
PROVO, Utah – The Big 12 football season is around the corner. With BYU joining the league, it allows media members covering the Cougars the chance to submit a preseason league ballot.
That hasn’t happened since BYU was in the Mountain West Conference. You have to go back to 2010 for the earliest example of BYU football facing preseason expectations in a conference. Who can forget those trips to Coronado or Henderson?
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) July 6, 2023
So it’s a significant change for eighth-year head coach Kalani Sitake and his program. But it’s a welcomed change.
Coaches have acknowledged that the “elephant in the room” as an Independent was losing a game, and then the season’s goals were off the table. Every game takes on significance in a conference, especially a Power Five one like the Big 12. Whether it’s the conference title race, playing spoiler, or individual accolades for players aspiring for all-conference recognition.
It’s a bigger stage and opportunity. How will BYU fare in this increased level of competition?
The early thought by Big 12 media members is that BYU won’t do great in year one.
Here’s the media preseason football poll that was released on July 6.
2023 Big 12 Football Preseason Media Poll
1. Texas (41 first-place votes)
2. Kansas State (14)
3. Oklahoma (4)
4. Texas Tech (4)
5. TCU (3)
7. Oklahoma State (1)
10. Iowa State
14. West Virginia
That was the final result of the 67 ballots from the Big 12 media. My vote wasn’t too far off.
Mitch Harper’s Preseason Big 12 Football ballot
I was one of those 67 ballots turned in to the league. Here’s how I voted.
Post by @mitch_harperView on Threads
2. Kansas State
5. Texas Tech
7. Oklahoma State
9. Iowa State
12. West Virginia
My ballot was nearly identical to the total media ballot. The biggest difference I had compared to the rest of the Big 12 media was with Kansas and West Virginia. I could see West Virginia being slightly better than people expect heading into the year. Kansas has an outstanding offense, with some questions along the defensive line. But my biggest question is, can the Jayhawks get to a bowl again?
Last year, after a hot start, they lost six of their final seven to close out the regular season.
Texas is worthy of the preseason favorite
I’m a big believer in Texas this year. They have three starter-quality players at quarterback. The offensive line is as deep as it has been since the zenith of the Mack Brown era, plus they have the best defensive player in the league in Jaylan Ford at linebacker.
If Texas wins less than nine games this season, it could result in third-year coach Steve Sarkisian going on the hot seat before they exit for the SEC.
The defending Big 12 champions Kansas State have a great chance to get back to Arlington. K-State’s schedule is demanding, but they have five home games in league. The stretch that will define the season is back-to-back road games at Oklahoma State on a Friday night, then one week later in Lubbock against Texas Tech.
What’s fascinating about this conference is that you can draw a path to a conference title for nearly everyone in the league.
Enjoy the journey
BYU is intriguing. They brought in a top-20 transfer portal class that has helped boost the depth. The big question is handling a schedule with 10 Power Five opponents.
Under Kalani Sitake, BYU hasn’t fared well regarding health. If BYU stays healthy, they can get into the top six of the conference. But there are so many unknowns that a modest pick at ten is appropriate heading into the inaugural Big 12 campaign.
The positive to low expectations for BYU is that the Cougar faithful can finally appreciate the journey.
As an Independent, it was undefeated or bust. For the first time since 2005, there’s respect and appreciation for qualifying in the postseason. If BYU qualifies for a bowl game, which I believe they will, a postseason bowl against a Power Five opponent likely awaits. That hasn’t happened in the Kalani Sitake era.
It should be a fun year of Big 12 football.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.
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