The Big 12 North is Nebraska's to lose. Last year's turn-around win over KSU and subsequent defeats of Colorado and Michigan aren't enough to convince me that this will be a great Nebraska team. Decent maybe, not great (comparing them to teams this year, not historically great Nebraska teams). Too much rides on Zac Taylor's health. Still, a decent Nebraska team should take the North and that should tell you what a mess this half the division is.
Iowa State should have won the Big 12 North the last couple seasons but instead choked it away, which makes it difficult to believe that they could win it this year with an improved Nebraska team in the way. They get Nebraska at home, but even with a win over the Huskers, they won't win the North because of inconsistency. With everyone back on offense, including Bret Myer at quarterback, and 6'5" Todd Blythe at wide receiver, the offense should be good. They replace a bunch of guys on defense and the schedule is nasty.
Kansas under Mark Mangino has continued to improve but still doesn't have the overall depth necessary to compete with the better teams in the Big 12 . Kansas replaces nine of eleven starters on defense from last year, so it's doubtful they'll duplicate their performance. This means Kansas will need to rely on offense. They'll have a decent offensive line and a decent running back which will give the quarterback position time to settle. They finish ahead of Mizzou because they don't play Texas, Oklahoma, or Texas Tech, and get to play Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
The most common complaints about Mizzou are that Brad Smith is gone and Gary Pinkel is still there. Chase Daniel is an adequate replacement for Smith and Missouri has a decent crop of receivers. Their defense was young last year, but should be improved. They play both Nebraska and Iowa State (and Texas Tech) on the road. And, they have that Pinkel guy for a coach.
It'll take Dan Hawkins a couple years to turn around the mess at Colorado. You don't get over the hangover of losing two Big 12 title games in a row 112-6, and the scandals don't seem to want to go away.
Without the Bill Snyder era, Kansas State has the worst program in NCAA history. Who's to say they won't return to previous form? There's only room in Kansas for one good Division IA football program and with Kansas on the rise.... given that Ron Prince plans to implement the West Coast Offense we know it'll be at least a couple years before we know more. KSU's defense was pretty bad last year as well. As they say, you can't spell "SUCK" without KSU.