Over the last 12 months, the Big 12 has lost four schools -- Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Missouri -- and gained two more -- TCU and West Virginia. Yet despite all the turmoil, some things never change, as Texas and OU once again dominated the rest of the conference in the 2012 recruiting cycle.
Texas, despite a lackluster 13-12 record over the last two years, finished behind only Alabama in the national recruiting rankings. Their class is headlined by two five-star recruits: 5'11 190 RB Johnathan Gray, who broke nearly every national rushing record playing in Aledo, TX and 6'2 280 DT Malcom Brown, who many expect to become the next Longhorn defensive linemen to challenge for All-American status.
This stream has an in-depth look at UT's star-studded class.
Oklahoma, as usual, stayed right on their arch-rivals' heels, finishing with a Top 10 recruiting class. But while the Sooners have typically raided the Lone Star state for talent, they were only 5 Texans among their 25 commitments this season, as Bob Stoops went nation-wide for players, grabbing top recruits out of California, Florida and Maryland.
The head-liner of their class is five-star WR Trey Metomeyer, a 6'2 200 WR out of Virginia. Landry Jones struggled mightily once Ryan Broyles went down with an ACL injury, and Metomeyer may be able to contribute immediately for the Oklahoma passing attack.
With Texas A&M off to the SEC, there was a huge drop-off after the top two schools in the Big 12, as the next highest ranked program was Texas Tech, who snuck into SBNation's composite rankings at No. 24.
Somewhat surprisingly, Oklahoma State was unable to build on their Big 12 championship, finishing right among a large group outside of the top 25 along with TCU, Baylor and West Virginia. All five schools, who've consistently placed in the top 25 over the last few years, will be battling to see who can emerge from the pack to challenge Texas and OU.
And while recruiting rankings aren't perfect, they are an excellent predictor of future success. Since 2000, the Longhorns and Sooners have won 9 of 12 Big championships, with Colorado and Kansas State winning in huge upsets against a 2001 Texas team and a 2003 Oklahoma team that were set to play in the BCS title game.
Unsurprisingly, the school's farthest from the recruiting hotbed of Texas -- Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State -- did the worst in 2012, with the national recruiting services ranking all three schools' classes outside of the top 60.
However, Bill Synder has made a Hall of Fame career out of bringing elite junior college players, who are traditionally rated lower than high-school recruits, to Manhattan, while new Kansas coach Charlie Weis, who was an ace recruiter at Notre Dame, saved his biggest splash for the transfer market, where he reeled in two former 5-star QB's: Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps.
Oklahoma State, behind a 28-year old former baseball player and an unheralded three-star WR likely to be a top-10 pick in the 2011 Draft, was able to take advantage of crippling injuries to Oklahoma (Broyles) and Texas (RB's Fozzy Whittaker, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron) to win a Big 12 championship in 2012.
And with both traditional powers once again dominating on the recruiting trail, it's looking like the conference's other eight schools will need a similar confluence of events to bring home a Big 12 title.