Kansas State's overachieving 2011 brought the Wildcats some (but not all that much) credibility to start the 2012 season.
The Wildcats open the year ranked No. 21 in the first coaches poll, the lowest of the six ranked schools in the Big 12. Pre-season favorite Oklahoma is at No. 4, followed by newcomer West Virginia at No. 11, Texas at No. 15, TCU at No. 17 and defending conference champion Oklahoma State at No. 19.
Missouri, meanwhile, is expected to struggle in their new conference, as the Tigers barely snuck into the others receiving votes category with 3 total points. The SEC was the only conference to start the season with more schools (7) in the Top 25 than the Big 12.
However, because Missouri is in the much less competitive SEC West, they may actually have an easier schedule than the Wildcats, who have to play in a ten-school Big 12 that doesn't allow you to skip any team in conference play.
Both schools are still far ahead of Kansas, rebuilding under first-year head coach Charlie Weis and nowhere near the Top 25.