Big 12 Football Predictions

Big 12 Football Predictions

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops takes a seat to speak to reporters during the Big 12 college football media days in Dallas, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The 2016-2017 football season is coming up very quickly. With about a month left before the opening season kickoff , it’s time to roll out some Big 12 predictions. 

This year won’t be quite as exciting as last year, which had four to five teams going down to the wire for a conference championship. This year will most likely only be three teams with a legitimate chance to win the title.

The Big 12 will stack up like this:

10. Kansas 

Projected record: (0-9), (2-10)

This team didn’t perform too well throughout head coach David Beaty’s inaugural season, finishing the year with a (0-12) record. This year the Jayhawks would really like to get a couple non-conference wins and, if they’re lucky, maybe even a conference win.

This goal can be accomplished if they stay healthy. Last season, the most obvious reason they couldn’t get a win was due to injuries. All three of their quarterbacks were injured and out for the season last year.

Ryan Willis will be the starting quarterback, but after throwing 10 interceptions last season, he may not be able to keep up with the other quarterbacks in the conference.

9. Iowa State

Projected record: (2-7), (4-8)

On paper, the Cyclones look like a very young and talented team. However, they face a tough obstacle of being in one of the power five conferences. In a weaker conference, they’d easily be bowl-eligible yearly and in the top-tier of that conference. That’s not the case though, as they have one of the tougher schedules in college football.

Iowa State has immense talent through their skill positions, with their young up-and-coming receivers headlining that statement. In a running offense, their receivers aren’t utilized like they probably should be.

It’ll take a change of offense for this team to finally take a step forward in the Big 12. Hopefully the injury bug won’t hit them again.

8. Kansas State

Projected record: (4-5), (6-6)

Coming off a season where they didn’t make a bowl game for the first time since 2005, head coach Bill Snyder looks for improvement in 2016-2017 and hopefully a little more luck. Just like Iowa State and Kansas, injuries haunted this team.

Although the Wildcats will probably finish seventh or eighth in the conference, don’t be surprised if coach Snyder’s team overachieves like they seemingly always do.

Last year’s secondary was expected to be at the top of the conference, but after injury, they became the worst. If they stay healthy this season, they won’t have a problem getting back on track and going to another bowl game.

7. Texas Tech

Projected record: (5-4), (7-5)

Texas Tech looks like typical Texas Tech. Although they don’t have quite the talent they’ve had in years past, they remain the same team that can’t quite get over the hump in the Big 12.

As usual, they will have a powerful offense, strong receivers in Cameron Batson, Ian Sadler and De’Quan Bowman and a human highlight real in running back Justin Stockton.

If the Red Raiders can develop a respectable defense scheme, they could easily jump up to fifth in the conference. It’d be nice to see Texas Tech in the top half of the league, but without a solid defense, in an offensively run conference, it probably will not happen.

6. West Virginia

Projected record: (5-4), (8-4)

West Virginia may be the Big 12’s mystery team every year, purely because of where the university is located. Hundreds of miles away from the entire Big 12, no one knows exactly what they’re up to over there in the east. They could be great, or they could be really bad.

At sixth in the conference, they will be nationally respected, and they will make a solid bowl game. The only major question mark is their defense.

The Mountaineers will feature a new-look defense after losing eight players on defense. If the defense is as good as it has been in past years, they’ll do great. If not, they could fall to the bottom of the league.

5. Baylor 

Projected record: (5-4), (8-4)

With all the drama facing this university right now regarding the sexual assault allegations, there may not be much attention focused on football.

After losing their beloved coach, Art Briles, the players may be less dedicated and loyal to their newly hired head coach’s plan, even knowing that he probably won’t be there longer than this season.

They are returning two surgically repaired quarterbacks next season and an inexperienced receiving core. The offense that became a trending topic last year won’t be the same this year unless the quarterback(s) and receivers overachieve.

The Bears could easily be as high as second in the conference, but with team chemistry being a problem at this point, don’t expect it.

4. Texas 

Projected record: (5-4), (8-4)

Texas has the chance to be the surprise of the conference. The Longhorns have underachieved under head coach Charlie Strong, but they have a lot of respect for him. With Strong being on the hot seat this season, things could finally look up for the Longhorns.

After signing a few blue-chippers, offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert should implement them in the offense immediately if they want to be at the top of the Big 12 again.

Defense wins championships, and offense wins games and Texas will not have that great of a defense this season. The Longhorns will win some games this year, but they won’t get near a championship because their defense needs so much assistance.

3. Oklahoma State

Projected record: (6-3), (9-3)

Finishing (10-3) last season, it came down to the Oklahoma schools to determine the winner of the Big 12. Head coach Mike Gundy looks to do better than that this year and possibly earn a chance to play in the CFB playoffs.

Offensively, they return nine starters–nine starters that led this team to the No. 22 best offense in the country last season and No. 14 in scoring. Quarterback Mason Rudolph is a great quarterback but doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he’s been overshadowed by a couple of other conference quarterbacks.

The only question for this team will be defensive production (after losing Emmanuel Ogbah) and their running game.

2. TCU

Projected record: (6-3), (9-3)

TCU lost one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Trevon Boykin, but with their powerful offense, this team won’t hurt too badly. Winning 23 of 26 games in 2015-2016, they’ll probably stay with the Air Raid style of offense.

Last season, TCU had the weakest linebacking core. That is looking to be one of their strength this year, along with their defense. If the Horned Frogs live up to expectations and perform with 40-plus points per game, they’ll be a great team and an obvious contender to win the Big 12 Title.

1. Oklahoma 

Projected record: (8-1), (11-1)

The biggest question surrounding this team will be how to replace Sterling Shepard and many members of the offensive line. Receiving-wise, players like Dede Westbrook will step up to the plate, but who else will? They need more receivers to step up. If they don’t, they will have a running offense only.

Defensively, there are some questions. Almost their entire starting core graduated, and although they still look pretty skilled in the secondary and on the line, the linebackers looks questionably.

Oklahoma is a team that should go undefeated. There isn’t a team in the Big 12 that should beat them all season when they are at their best, but OU is known for mysteriously dropping one game they shouldn’t drop all season in dramatic fashion, and that will probably happen this year, as well.

However, an (8-1) record will be enough to win the Big 12 comfortably and an (11-1) overall record will get them in the college football playoffs, where they should be a serious contender to win a championship.

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