To me, the actual beginning of football season is the day that Football Outsiders publishes their almanac. That day was yesterday.
If you don't know footballoutsiders.com ... get to know it. Those of us who are fans know it's one of the premiere places for gridiron analysis, online or off. They bring baseball-style statistical study to football. They chart every play of every NFL game. Guys like Peter King read them, and they've helped upset some of the conventional thinking in the game. Among their assertions: Running on third and short is more likely to succeed than passing. Shotgun formations are more efficient than formations with the QB under center. Running backs usually decline after age 28, tight ends at 29, wide receivers at 30, and quarterbacks after age 32. And my personal favorite: While causing fumbles is not random at all, recovering fumbles is purely the product of luck. (For more on the methodology behind these, go here.)
Anyway, they're obviously mostly focused on the NFL but the staff writers are college football fans and follow the junior circuit as well. And they, like many, come up with preseason rankings. Here's how they see the Big 12 stacking up this season. The first number is their power ranking, followed by predicted win-loss record.
3) Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1)
5) Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2)
9) Texas (9-3, 6-3)
12) TCU (9-3, 6-3)
20) West Virginia (8-4, 5-4)
31) Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5)
46) Baylor (6-6, 3-6)
47) Kansas State (6-6, 3-6)
83) Iowa State (3-9, 1-8)
91) Kansas (3-9, 1-8)
I don't want to give too much else away because I don't want to steal their thunder, and the book really is worth buying -- especially if you love the NFL and DOUBLE especially if you're in a fantasy football league. But you might wonder, who do they have at #1 and #2? Well, if you liked last season you're in luck, because they think this year might play like a rerun. And, of course, we want to know: Where do they see the Aggies? Ranked 25th, 7-5 with a 4-4 conference record.
If you want to know more, buy the book here. I promise I get nothing for plugging them. I just love their work.