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Post-Spring Big 12 Football Power Rankings For 2024 Season

Apr 29, 2024, 9:33 PM

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The KSL Sports team voted on their Post-Spring Big 12 Football Power Rankings. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – We’re one step closer to Big 12 football returning, as spring practices are now in the rearview mirror.

All 16 teams in the new-look Big 12 have completed spring practices and are now focusing on summer conditioning. The transfer portal window is wrapping up as rosters are finalized.

Before we know it, fall camps will be back in action, and another season will be here.

Post-Spring 2024 Big 12 Football Power Rankings

Once again, the KSL Sports team—a combination of individuals from KSLsports.com, KSL 5 TV, the KSL Sports Zone, and KSL NewsRadio—voted on these rankings.

The first edition of our 2024 power rankings took place in January. At that time, Arizona was the “way-too-early” favorite to win the league from our KSL Sports team. But after Jedd Fisch left for Washington, the team has knocked the Wildcats a couple of spots.

That creates an opening for a new number one in power rankings.

Here’s the rundown of our 16-team Big 12 power rankings. Our next installment will come out in July after Big 12 Media Days.

1. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 2 (Up 1)

Notable games in 2024: Utah (Sept. 21), at Kansas State (Sept. 28), at Colorado (Nov. 29)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 1 (Six times)

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 5

Oklahoma State returns a veteran offense led by the nation’s best running back, Ollie Gordon. Plus, they return the entire offensive staff. Head coach Mike Gundy said the Cowboys “started at a really high level” on offense during spring practice.

The big questions reside on the defensive side of the ball, as they were 122nd in total defense a year ago. But the good news is that they have 10 returning starters.

2. Utah Utes

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 3 (Up 1)

Notable games in 2024: at Oklahoma State (Sept. 21), BYU (Nov. 9), at UCF (Nov. 29)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 1 (Three times)

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 5

The return of QB Cam Rising at Utah’s spring game showed the Utes offense can be explosive when he’s locked in at QB1. Rising passed for 208 yards, helping Team Red cruise to a 41-21 victory.

Utah’s schedule sets up for the Utes to contend for a Big 12 title immediately. The defense has to replace star Jonah Elliss, but they have options with Connor O’Toole, Logan Fano, and Van Fillinger.

3. Arizona Wildcats

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 1 (Down 2)

Notable games in 2024: at Utah (Sept. 28), Texas Tech (Oct. 5), Arizona State (Nov. 30)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 1 (One time)

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 6

The Wildcats dropped from the No. 1 spot they held in the Way-Too-Early power rankings. Leading the Wildcats is former San Jose State coach Brent Brennan, who was a finalist for the job when Jedd Fisch was hired in 2021.

The Wildcats have a potent offense with Noah Fifita returning at quarterback. Keeping Fifita amid the coaching change after Fisch left for Washington was significant. But it’s only natural to assume a slight step back from last year after a new voice takes over.

4. Kansas Jayhawks

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 4

Notable games in 2024: at West Virginia (Sept. 21), at Kansas St. (Oct. 26), Iowa St. (Nov. 9)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 1 (One time)

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 9

Rumors swirled that star Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant would enter the Transfer Portal. He put that to rest by reaffirming his commitment to the Jayhawks.

The pieces are there for Kansas to make a run at a Big 12 title this season. Last year, the three losses Kansas suffered against teams who remain in the league this year, all of those setbacks were by seven points or less.

5. Kansas State Wildcats

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 6 (Up 1)

Notable games in 2024: at BYU (Sept. 21), Kansas (Oct. 26), at Iowa State (Nov. 30)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 3

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 11

Kansas State brought in former Utah State and Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells as co-offensive coordinator for a Wildcats attack that QB Avery Johnson will lead. The passing concepts in the 2024 offense will likely be much different than what K-State has run in the past.

Then you pair up Johnson with running back DJ Giddens and Colorado transfer Dylan Edwards; K-State will be one of the toughest outs in the league.

6. West Virginia Mountaineers

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 5 (Down 1)

Notable games in 2024: Penn State (Aug. 31), at Oklahoma State (Oct. 5), at Arizona (Oct. 26)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 3

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 12

West Virginia enters year two of what Neal Brown calls a “reboot.” Last year was the first season of the reset on a program struggling to find its identity. They finished 9-4 and 6-3 in the league.

The Mountaineers bring back starting QB Garrett Greene and their backup, Nicco Marchiol, who has starting experience.

On defense, West Virginia will look to replace star cornerbacks Beanie Bishop and Malachi Ruffin. West Virginia hit the transfer portal hard to replace those standouts, landing Colorado State’s TJ Crandall and Duquesne transfer Ayden Garnes.

7. Iowa State Cyclones

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 7

Notable games in 2024: at Iowa (Sept. 7), at Utah (Nov. 23), Kansas State (Nov. 30)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 5

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 11

This feels a little bit low for an Iowa State squad that is deeper than last year’s group. But there’s depth in this league, and there’s depth on Matt Campbell’s roster. Campbell stepped out of spring feeling he has a deeper roster than last season.

Iowa State returns 18 starters from last year, headlined by QB Rocco Becht.

8. UCF Knights

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 10 (Up 2)

Notable games in 2024: at TCU (Sept. 14), at Florida (Oct. 5), Utah (Nov. 29)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 4

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 13

The Knights have been active in the Transfer Portal. One of their key additions was former Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson. He tossed two touchdowns and two interceptions in UCF’s spring game.

UCF is installing a new defense with Ted Roof as the defensive coordinator. Roof comes to UCF after two seasons at Oklahoma.

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 9

Notable games in 2024: Arizona St. (Sept. 21), at Arizona (Oct. 5), at Oklahoma St. (Nov. 23)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 4

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 11

Texas Tech has a strong backfield, with star running back Tahj Brooks returning for his senior year. Then, quarterback Behren Morton settles into the starting role, with Cameran Brown as the backup.

Morton will have a retooled wide receiver unit, with Washington State transfer Josh Kelly among the notables and five-star recruit Micah Hudson.

T-10. Colorado Buffaloes

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 11

Notable games in 2024: North Dakota State (Aug. 29), at Kansas State (Oct. 12), Utah (Nov. 16)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 2

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 13

No team on this poll generates such a wide variance of opinions other than Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes.

The Buffs have star power with QB Shedeur Sanders and DB/WR Travis Hunter.

Last season, Colorado had issues protecting Sanders. The Buffs were 132nd nationally in sacks allowed last season (56). They have retooled the offensive line headlined by five-star freshman Jordan Seaton.

During Colorado’s spring game, Sanders was only pressured once.

The Buffs should be better this season in year two under Coach Prime, but they have a tough schedule once again.

T-10. TCU Horned Frogs

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 8

Notable games in 2024: UCF (Sept. 14), at SMU (Sept. 21), at Baylor (Nov. 2)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 6

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 12

TCU QB Josh Hoover missed all spring practice due to an undisclosed injury. He’s expected to be back for summer conditioning.

The Horned Frogs are always dangerous when expectations are low for them.

An area to watch will be the defense. Sonny Dykes brought in former Boise State head coach Andy Avalos as defensive coordinator. Avalos has a history of aggressive defenses from his time at Oregon as a defensive coordinator.

12. BYU Cougars

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 12

Notable games in 2024: Kansas State (Sept. 21), Oklahoma State (Oct. 18), at Utah (Nov. 9)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 9

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 15

BYU will have a quarterback battle entering fall camp between Jake Retzlaff and Gerry Bohanon. They added Utah State transfer McCae Hillstead during the April transfer portal window. While the quarterback competition will generate the headlines, internally, BYU wants to return to the powerful ground attack they had years ago with Tyler Allgeier.

That means there’s potential for a big workload for sophomore running back LJ Martin.

13. Baylor Bears

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 13

Notable games in 2024: BYU (Sept. 28), TCU (Nov. 2), at Houston (Nov. 23)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 11

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 13

Baylor will have a quarterback battle that will continue into the offseason between Toledo transfer DeQuan Finn and returning letterman Sawyer Robertson.

It will be up to fifth-year head coach Dave Aranda and new offensive coordinator Jake Spavital to decide who emerges as the lead signal-caller for a Bears program that struggled last season.

14. Arizona State Sun Devils

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 14

Notable games in 2024: Mississippi State (Sept. 7), at Texas Tech (Sept. 21), at Arizona (Nov. 30)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 12

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 16

Arizona State had one of the notable spring transfer portal defections, losing QB Jaden Rashada. But the good news for ASU is that Rashada potentially left due to performance. Michigan State transfer QB Sam Leavitt appears on track to be the starting signal-caller for Kenny Dillingham’s team.

The Sun Devils made a significant push to strengthen the depth along the offensive and defensive lines.

15. Houston Cougars

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 15

Notable games in 2024: at Oklahoma (Sept. 7), at Cincinnati (Sept. 21), Baylor (Nov. 23)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 14

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 16

New Houston head coach Willie Fritz believes his defense is further ahead coming out of spring practices than where the offense is heading into summer conditioning. Quarterback Donovan Smith missed spring practices due to labrum surgery.

16. Cincinnati Bearcats

Way-Too-Early ranking in January: No. 16

Notable games in 2024: Pitt (Sept. 7), Houston (Sept. 21), at UCF (Oct. 12)

Highest vote on KSL Sports Post-Spring ballots: No. 14

Lowest vote on ballots: No. 16

Cincinnati’s strength resides along the defensive line, with the return of potential first-round NFL draft pick Dontay Corleone. But aside from that, there are many more questions than answers for year two of the Scott Satterfield era at Cincinnati.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Post-Spring Big 12 Football Power Rankings For 2024 Season