West By Pod is most of the way through our Big 12 deep dive series. Let’s sift through what we’ve learned and see if we can establish some sort of positional hierarchy.
Tier 1 - War Daddies
The Bears have the Big 12's reigning Offensive Lineman of the Year, the best tackle pairing in the league, and a preseason All-Conference nominee at center. They were a top 10 line in America last year, and even with two new starters they're positioned to claim a spot in that neighborhood again.
Tier 2 - Should Be A Strength
Oklahoma, West Virginia
West Virginia returns all 5 starters from a group that was one of the best in the league for the second half of the season. Oklahoma lost two good ones, but added a solid transfer in McKade Mettaurer to a strong returning trio.
Tier 3 - They Have Some Pieces But They Lost Some Pieces
Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas
The title says it all, really. All of these teams have players who could be considered among the league's best at their respective positions, but the usual amount of offseason attrition has presented some question marks, as well.
Tier 4 - A Potential Weakness On An Otherwise Fun Offense
My apologies to Kansas, because they do return 4 of their 5 starters and will likely be improved just on the basis of continuity. Unfortunately this was one of the worst lines in P5 last year and even with 4 guys back I expect them to get pushed around by more than half the conference.