SB Nation's college football stats guru Bill C. has his very, very early ranking for 2012 up, and four members of the new-look Big 12 are present in the rankings' Top 15. In addition to Oklahoma (No. 7) and potential Big 12 newbie West Virginia (No. 11), the Longhorns and Horned Frogs are featured. Bill C predicts a stout defense will protect UT's growing offense next fall:
10. Texas Longhorns. This is how confident I am in the Longhorns' defense. Just about everybody returns from this year's dreadfully young, inconsistent offense, but a defense with ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor, tackle Calvin Hwell and linebacker Jordan Hicks and corners Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom gets them into the top ten.
Big 12 newcomer TCU should be back in the national conversation in 2012 after gaining steam late this year:
12. TCU Horned Frogs. Remember them? The Horned Frogs regained their old form late in the season, and despite losing Tank Carder and three defensive backs, they should begin to reassert themselves as a top-10 program (or close to it) next year. If the offensive line gels, this could be one of Gary Patterson's better offenses, too.
For the complete 2012 Top 25, click here.