This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
TEAMS THAT COULD BREAK THE SEC'S BCS STREAK
NO. 4, THE BIG 12 CHAMP
This is, without question, a bit of a cop out. But the Big 12 is hard to figure out.
The conference should produce one top team capable of giving the SEC a run for the BCS title. It's just hard to single out one from what should be a very competitive Big 12.
Let's start with the biggest long shot first. Call us crazy, but we really like the way Baylor entered the offseason.
A close loss at Oklahoma dropped Baylor to 4-5, but that was the start of a nice run to end the season. A four-game winning streak capped the season, including wins against Kansas State, Oklahoma State and UCLA. The games against Kansas State, ranked No. 1 at the time, and UCLA, playing in a quasi-home bowl game after winning the Pac-12 South Division, weren't particularly competitive either.
Baylor was close to having a much better record last year. Road losses at West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma were by a combined 21 points. Lache Seastrunk rushed for 138.5 yards per game in the final six games of the season once Baylor started using him, and the Bears were a different team during that stretch. The defense returns seven starters. If the offense could replace Robert Griffin III, it can replace Nick Florence too. Art Briles is a good coach. Admittedly it's very tough to picture Baylor beating the best the SEC has to offer in January, but at least keep an eye on the Bears.
Then there are the traditional powers we all know: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas.
Oklahoma is going to be really good if it gets above-average quarterback play (in other words, if Blake Bell can be more than a goal-line sensation). And the defense needs to show improvement after the Cotton Bowl debacle, of course. But there are intriguing pieces.
Oklahoma State has seven starters back on each side of the ball, and the game against Oklahoma is in Stillwater. With three capable quarterbacks returning, the offense will be pretty good. It usually is. The Cowboys will be in the mix in the Big 12.
Texas has 19 starters back, and while the Longhorns were underwhelming many times in 2012, if Major Applewhite taking over play-calling duties is the tonic many Texas fans think it is, the Longhorns could improve significantly. They did look better in the Alamo Bowl win against Oregon State.
Taking the Baylor fantasy out of the equation for a moment, the thing the other three Big 12 contenders have is high-level talent. Of course Oklahoma being pounded by Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl doesn't help that argument, but usually those teams are deep and produce plenty of NFL players. If one of the contenders from the Big 12 takes a big step forward, it's possible that it could be good enough to win it all.
It's just tough to say right now which team that might be.
Previously on the Doc Five:
No. 5, Stanford