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Only One Big 12 Team Makes The Top 15 In ESPN’s Joe Shad’s Preseason Rankings

It seems as if it’s going to be another year of the Big 12 having to first prove itself before getting any respect from the national pundits.

Zach Sanchez of Oklahoma congratulates Steven Parker - Getty Images - Joel Auerbach

I know it’s April 1st, but I don’t think ESPN’s Joe Shad was kidding when only one Big 12 team made the top 15 of his Spring 2016 Preseason Top 25. Meanwhile the SEC has six teams in his top 15 including the perennial ‘this is their year’ schools of Tennessee, Ole Miss, Georgia and Florida. Sigh…

Oklahoma carries the torch for the conference, but despite returning a bunch of talent from the team that made the College Football Playoff last season, Shad doesn’t see them making a return trip in 2016. The Sooners are left on the outside of the coveted four at fifth. Rounding out the rest of the Big 12 schools mentioned are Texas (17th), Baylor (18th), Oklahoma State (19th) and TCU(20th).

Is it just me, or does it seem like Shad suddenly remembered the Big 12 existed about half way through his rankings? ‘Oh ya, um… let’s see, Texas, Baylor, OSU and TCU; they can go right here.’

More surprising is that the first Big 12 team behind OU is Texas. I definitely expect the Longhorns to be improved, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get back into the conference title race, but it’s hard to see them at number two right out of the gate. Everyone has their question marks, but there’s a lot of returning talent at the top of the conference this year. For a team that finished seventh in the conference last season, that would be a big jump.

What do you think, did Joe Shad get it right? Will the Longhorns fight for the conference title this year?

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