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Reestablishing the Big 12 tradition

Since the Big 12 began playing football in 1996, it has been mostly dominated by Oklahoma and Texas.

Of the 17 champions the league has crowned, Texas and OU have either won the league or played for a share of the title 11 times.

Nebraska and Texas A&M, who are no longer a part of the league, combined to win three titles in that time span. That leaves three titles for the rest of the league to share.

Since the 2010 season, however, neither Texas nor OU have won the league.

Oklahoma State won in 2011, with Kansas State winning the league title in 2012. It’s evident that there has been a power shift in the league, with teams like Baylor and Texas Tech competing with the better teams.

With that being said, the Big 12 might be the hardest conference to predict going into the season. Here are the top five Big 12 teams of 2013.

1.Texas

It is sad that this is even a debate. Texas has been down the last three seasons (11-15 in Big 12 play in that time span) but it’s hard to bet against this  team.

With 19 returning starters, one of which being third-year quarterback  David Ash, who has been outstanding at times, Texas should be the clear-cut favorite to win the league.

Obviously, the OU game in Dallas is a marquee matchup, and a road game against BYU in week two will be a huge sleeper game for Texas. They need to get it together this year, or the university might have no choice but to replace head coach Mack Brown.

2. Oklahoma State 

Oklahoma State has extremely high expectations coming into this season, as they should. They are the highest rated Big 12 team in the AP Poll coming into the season, and coach Mike Gundy always has this team ready to compete.

A quarterback is a question for this team after the transfer of sophomore, Wes Lunt. If the defense shows up this year, the ceiling is very high for Oklahoma State.

3. Oklahoma

Oklahoma might have more question marks than any team in the Top 25, let alone the Big 12, but it’s hard to believe they won’t finish in the top four of this league.

OU fans are extremely worried about all the holes left after the NFL draft, but Bob Stoops is a fantastic recruiter and motivator, and this team will still compete in 2013.

OU has some huge road tests this year, including a trip to Notre Dame in week  four of the season. If they can get past Texas with a 5-1 record, this team can compete for the conference title.

4. TCU

TCU fans are very optimistic about the 2013 season, as they should be. They are a very experienced team and have a lot of returning starters, most notably, quarterback Casey Pachall.

They need to sure up some concerns at linebacker and offensive line, but if these issues are fixed, then coach Gary Patterson can have his eyes set on trying to win the Big 12. Despite losing the the season opener against SEC powerhouse, LSU, a close 37-27 loss showed that they will surely be able to compete in the Big 12.

 5.Baylor  

Remember the days when Baylor was the perennial whipping boy of the Big 12? That ship has sailed.

Baylor has a talented roster. Led by Heisman hopeful RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor team will be very competitive in 2013.

Their defense was horrendous in 2012, made apparent in a 70-63 loss to West Virginia. If they can bolster their defense and have competent QB play, Baylor will continue to prove that they are here to compete.

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