College : : Story
Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ranking the Big 12's programs

Kendall Rogers        

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HAVE YOUR SAY: Discuss the Big 12 program rankings

The Big 12 landscape has changed since the last time we ranked the conference’s programs.

Nebraska announced its departure to the Big Ten last summer, and participated in its final Big 12 campaign in 2011 with a 30-25 overall record.

Though the Huskers’ departure was the first domino to fall in the Big 12, realignment in this conference may be far from over. As a matter of fact, several teams could be leaving the league, perhaps setting it up to be dissolved by 2013.

Texas A&M has been accepted to the SEC, but needs some legal issues to blow over before its move can become official. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and perhaps even Texas are rumored to have serious interest in heading to the Pac-12, making the league the Pac-16, and ultimately spelling an end to the Big 12.

With that said, the Big 12 is at least around for another season with nine programs jockeying for position.

Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma lead the conference’s programs, while Kansas State has surprisingly established some impressive consistency the past few seasons.

We rank the Big 12 programs.

NEXT UP: Pac-12

1. Texas

2011 grade: A
Where the program stands:
There’s still no doubt Texas is the Big 12’s premier program. The Longhorns only lost three conference games two seasons ago before having another successful campaign in ’11. They split the conference regular season title with rival Texas A&M before winning the Austin Regional and Super Regional to advance to yet another College World Series. The ‘Horns are expected to again figure into the Omaha equation in 2012.

2. Texas A&M

2011 grade: A
Where the program stands:
Coach Rob Childress hadn’t yet guided the Aggies to the College World Series before last season. But in a season when many expected the Aggies to be a fringe top-25 team, they split the Big 12 regular season title with rival Texas before winning the College Station Regional and beating Florida State in the Tallahassee Super Regional to advance to Omaha for the first time since ’99. Expectations will be sky high in ’12.

3. Oklahoma

2011 grade: B
Where the program stands:
Some might be inclined to believe the Sooners earned a higher grade in ’11, but they didn’t when you consider the expectations entering the campaign. OU was expected to get back to the CWS after such a magical ’10 campaign. However, they finished Big 12 play just three games above .500 and had a 41-19 overall record, going 0-2 in the Fort Worth Regional.

4. Baylor

2011 grade: C+
Where the program stands:
The Bears haven’t factored into the Big 12 regular season title the past couple of seasons, but still have experienced at least some success. BU reached an NCAA Regional two seasons ago with a 36-24 record. It again reached the NCAA postseason in ’11 after compiling a 31-28 overall record. BU will enter the ’12 campaign with plenty of potential, but must find a way to make a move forward.

5. Kansas State

2011 grade: B
Where the program stands:
What coach Brad Hill has accomplished with the Wildcats throughout his tenure is extremely impressive. The Wildcats went 37-22 and reached an NCAA Regional two seasons ago before getting back to the postseason in ’11 with a 36-25 overall record. K-State still hasn’t reached the CWS under Hill’s tutelage, but certainly has taken huge steps forward. Could even more be on the horizon for Hill and KSU?

6. Oklahoma State

2011 grade: C+
Where the program stands:
The Cowboys haven’t been one of the nation’s elite programs for several seasons, and that isn’t expected to change as the ’12 campaign approaches. The Cowboys finished dead last in the Big 12 two seasons ago before having a solid ’11 campaign that ended with an NCAA Regional berth and a 35-25 overall record. Still, the Pokes must find a way to get back in the college baseball limelight.

7. Missouri

2011 grade: D
Where the program stands:
It only was a couple of seasons ago the Tigers were in excellent shape. Now, it’s imperative they get back on track in 2012. The Tigers barely finished over .500 two seasons ago before ending the ’11 campaign with a losing record and near the bottom of the Big 12. Fortunately, the Tigers finished the ’11 campaign on a positive note with a trip to the Big 12 tournament title game. They hope to redeem themselves in the upcoming season.

8. Texas Tech

2011 grade: D
Where the program stands:
The Red Raiders most certainly are making progress, but it’s not quick enough for coach Dan Spencer. He’d like to see the building process sped up. The Red Raiders finished the ’10 campaign with a 28-29 overall record before making strides last season and almost finishing the campaign with an NCAA postseason appearance. The Red Raiders finished ’11 with an improved 33-25 overall record, but still have much work to do.

9. Kansas

2011 grade: F
Where the program stands:
The Jayhawks were in the process of making some serious strides a couple of seasons ago, but have since resorted back to being one of the Big 12’s bottom feeders. KU finished the ’10 campaign with a somewhat respectable 31-27 overall record before ending the ’11 campaign last in the Big 12 with a 26-30 overall record. The Jayhawks might find it tough to make strides in ’12 with most Big 12 teams expected to improve.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Perfect Game USA and has covered the sport for over 10 seasons. He can be reached at

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