Circle Sept. 1. That’s the Saturday in the sights of every Big 12 team in the recently concluded spring workouts.
Here’s how we think the conference teams rank after finishing their 15 days of spring practices, with looks at how their spring games played out. It’s all subject to change in August, when football starts to count again.
1. West Virginia (7-6, 5-4 last year)
Spring game highlights: It was canceled because of bad weather.
First game: Tennessee, Sept. 1, Charlotte, N.C.
2. Oklahoma (12-2, 8-1)
The hot names: Anyone associated with the defense. Plus, the Sooners received eight commitments in conjunction with the game, including a pair of five-star recruits.
Defensive back Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles, an early enrollee, was everywhere as he was used in coverage and on blitzes. Tailback Kennedy Brooks, a redshirt freshman, pulled off a nifty 50-yard run, with 109 total, in the spring game and 22 receiving yards.
Concerns? Someone has to replace Heisman winner and NFL draft No. 1 Baker Mayfield. Austin Kendall had the better stats, completing 11 of 18 passes for 134 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Kyler Murray still is playing two sport,s and who knows whether baseball will capture his fancy this summer?
First game: Florida Atlantic, Sept. 1
3. TCU (11-3, 7-2)
The hot names: To Gary Patterson’s delight, the spring game was dominated by defense, which had three interceptions and five sacks. Tackle Anthony McKinney, a junior college transfer, could be immediate help for an offensive line that lost four starters. Receiver Taye Barber, a true freshman, could give the Frogs a speedy deep threat.
Concerns: The Frogs lost 17 players, who either were drafted (three) or signed free agent deals. Patterson said his entire second-team offense and defense were made up of redshirt freshmen.
First game: Southern, Sept. 1
4. Texas (7-6, 5-4)
Hot names: The projected starters on the defensive front seven stole the show. Plus, pencil in receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey as a dual threat this fall. He caught seven passes for 100 yards and rushed for 14 yards with two touchdowns. Collin Johnson also had a 100-yard spring game, while linebacker Jeffrey McCullough was credited with three sacks.
Concerns: Will Texas have a consistent running game from its tailbacks? Quarterback Sam Ehlinger — the team’s top rusher last year — led all rushers in the spring game.
First game: at Maryland, Sept. 1
5. Kansas State (8-5, 5-4)
Hot names: The spring game featured 44 catches by 15 different receivers. Receiver Landry Weber caught nine passes. And each quarterback competing for the top job responded well; Skylar Thompson was 15 of 22 for 204 yards, and Alex Delton was 21 of 28 for 201 yards.
The concerns: The best of the running backs was a fullback — Adam Carter gained 37 yards. Coach Bill Snyder doesn’t mind using his quarterback in the running game, but he still needs tailback production.
First game: South Dakota, Sept. 1
6. Oklahoma State (10-3, 6-3)
The hot names: Quarterback Taylor Cornelius, the projected replacement for Mason Rudolph, completed 15 of 27 passes for 250 yards. Receiver Landon Wolf caught five passes for 98 yards. Chuba Hubbard, who is looking to be part of a one-two running punch with Justice Hill, rushed for 85 yards on 11 carries.
The concerns: Mike Gundy fired his defensive coordinator in January and replaced him with Jim Knowles. It’s still too soon to tell how the Cowboys’ new 4-2-5 will work out.
First game: Missouri State, Sept. 1
7. Iowa State (8-5 5-4)
Spring game: Canceled because of weather.
First game: South Dakota State, Sept. 1
8. Texas Tech (6-7, 3-6)
The hot names: Anyone on defense. The unit forced five three-and-outs, three sacks, two fumbles and an interception. Quarterback McLane Carter was 11 of 19 for 139 yards and a 28-yard touchdown pass. Jett Duffey was 11 of 15 for 89 yards but had an interception on a screen pass.
Concerns: There still is no firm choice at starting quarterback, and the receivers had multiple drops, particularly in the red zone.
First game: Mississippi, Sept. 1 at NRG Stadium, Houston
9. Baylor (1-11, 1-8)
The hot names: The Bears played only a quarter and an overtime because of bad weather. Former defensive end Jamie Jacobs, now a tight end, caught the winning touchdown pass in OT. Charlie Brewer and Marques Jones hooked up for a 64-yard score.
Concerns: About 20 players sat out the spring game and parts of other practices, so it’s difficult to get a feel for how good the Bears might be, although Matt Rhule promised the crowd a bowl appearance.
First game: Abilene Christian, Sept. 1
The Jayhawks ditched their spring game for an open practice.
First game: Nicholls State, Sept. 1