For the first time in three years, the Big 12 Conference has the same teams coming back from the previous season.
While the seven-time defending national champion SEC and the Pac-12, among other leagues, have expanded during all the shuffling of conference affiliations the past few summers, the Big 12 has settled into a 10-team league.
There is no league championship game in early December to determine the Big 12 champion. Instead, every team plays the other nine league schools in a round-robin schedule that stretches over three full months - from West Virginia going to Oklahoma on Sept. 7, until two final regular-season games Dec. 7.
The title is seemingly up for grabs in the league that has lost four teams and added two since 2010.
Consider the curious case of Texas, whose coach Mack Brown responded "Who knows?" when asked about being picked fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll by media who cover the league and as high as fourth nationally by at least one national magazine.
"I do think that we have the most balanced league in the country right now, top to bottom," Brown said. "Everybody else can beat anybody else in the league on a given day, and that's not happening across the country. ... People are confused on who they think may win this conference championship, and that's a compliment to our league."
Oklahoma State is the media's choice to win the league this time around. Kansas State and Oklahoma shared the title last year, with the Wildcats getting the league's automatic BCS berth because of their head-to-head victory over the Sooners.
With Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Collin Klein gone, K-State is a preseason pick to finish in the bottom half of the league - just like the last two years, when the Wildcats instead finished in the top two.