The Big 12 has some explosive offensive teams in it and it makes for some fun shootouts this year. The Big 12 welcomes West Virginia and TCU to the conference. Look for many of these games to be high scoring and a lot of fun to watch.
1 – Oklahoma – OU is just about everyone’s pick to get the BCS Title game this year. The offense is absolutely loaded with Heisman Trophy candidate QB Landry Jones. They have skill players everywhere and the offensive line is tremendous. The schedule is set up for them to go 12-0 and there is no conference title game this year. Their two toughest road games are at WVU and TCU. 15 starters are back from a 10-3 team and they are motivated to get to the BCS Title game. Bob Stoops has a tremendous football team this year and we will project them to be in the title game.
2 – Texas – Loaded on the defensive side of the ball with one of the best defensive lines in the country. DE Alex Okafor is a high first round draft pick that leads the defense. Also, CB Quandre Diggs, who was the freshman defensive player of the year, leads the secondary. The offense returns nine starters the QB play will be the key to how successful Texas is this year. QB’s David Ash and Case McCoy will both see ample time this year as both are on short leashes. If the running game can be successful with Malcolm Brown, then this will only help the QB’s. UT is a darkhorse national title contender because of the strength of their defense. This is a solid 10-11 win team this year.
3 – Oklahoma St – What a magical year it was for the Cowboys last year as they were 12-1. They would have played for the BCS Title if they were not upset at Iowa St. Still, it was a fantastic year. Many may expect Okie St to have a down year with only four returning starters back and losing a lot of their skill players. We think they won’t miss a beat. Don’t think they will avg 48.7-ppg this year like they did last year but they will very explosive. The defense is rock solid with eight returning starters back and they will improve on their 26.8-ppg avg . Look for a 9-10 win team again in 2012.
4 – West Virginia – WVU makes the move to the Big 12 and HC Dana Holgorsend brings his high-octane offense with him. WVU put up 70 in last year’s Orange Bowl and that should the offense a lot of confidence as it heads into a new conference. 14 starters return including eight on offense. The offense avg 37.6-ppg and those numbers will improve this year. QB Geno Smith keeps getting better every year and could be a 1st round draft pick in 2013. The defense will be avg so they may need to outscore some teams. Look for the Mountaineers to have some fun and exciting games with Oklahoma, Texas and Okie St. It may be tough for them to get to 10 wins again this year but they will be fun to watch.
5 – Kansas State – Bill Snyder is ageless and his teams respond to him. KSU found ways to win late in games last year. Not sure if the fortunes will be so grand this year. They do have some tough road this year but they will be a strong 7-8 win team. They could be an upset away from winning 9 this year. The offense avg 31.8-ppg and were led by QB Colin Klein. Last year he was 1st team All Big-12 but it will be tough to duplicate that this year. With Bill Snyder as the coach, magic seems to surround Manhattan, KS.
6 – TCU – The Horn Frogs make the move to the Big 12 this season. HC Gary Patterson has done a tremendous job at TCU going 109-30 over his first 11 years. TCU could start out the year 7-0 but over their last five games they face a very difficult schedule, all the top 5 teams we have ahead of them. They will make a bowl game this year but if they get upset they could end up 6-6 or even 5-7. The defense will be improved from last year’s 21.5-ppg team as they are led by DE Stansley Maponga. The offense returns six starters and will need to score to keep up with the prolific scoring teams in the conference.
7 – Texas Tech – The Red Raider faithful are getting worried as they feel that HC Tommy Tuberville needs a big year. He is definitely on the hot seat in only year 3. After a 5-7 year, Tech should be able to turn it around as they return 17 starters and the numbers should improve on both sides of the ball. The defense was absolutely atrocious and it wil definitely need to get better in order for them to get back to a bowl game. They allowed 39.3-ppg and when you faces teams in this conference, Tech won’t be able to outscore teams to win.
8 – Baylor – HC Art Briles is building a nice program in Waco and he is doing it with speed. Baylor loses all-everything hesiman trophy winner Robert Griffin III and will be replaced by SR Nick Florence. He will do the job this year. The offense won’t put up the numbers it did last year but they will still be explosive because of the system that Briles runs. The defense has been poor and will struggle again in 2012 even though they have 8 starters back on that side of the ball. 6 wins would be an accomplishment and that would mean they will probably be invited back to a bowl game.
9 – Iowa St – The Cyclones pulled the upset of the year as they beat #2 ranked Okie State and stopped them from going to the national championship game. HC Paul Rhoads is turning the program around but just can’t seem to take them to the next level. He is 18-20 in three years and is close but yet so far away. The talent level this year is solid on offense but we can’t see that much of an improvement from their 22.7-ppg avg last year. The schedule is brutal this year and we don’t see them going to a bowl game this season.
10 – Kansas – The Jayhawks are atrocious but they do have a new HC in Charlie Weiss. He may be perfect for this job and will turn the program around but he will need a minimum of four years to do so. They just don’t have the depth or the talent to compete in the conference. They do return 14 starters this year but this is a 3-win team at best this season. Let’s judge Charlie Weiss after year four and see how the team has evolved.
This Big 12 Conference preview was written by Michael Blake’s Carolina Sports
Michael Blake is one of the best college football handicappers in the country and has been for over 17 years. In 2010 he finished #1 in college football (regular-season/bowls combined). Make sure you check out all of his award winning college football picks this year. There are also some other tremendous college football handicappers to choose from. Some notable college football handicappers are Steve Merril, Rocky Atkinson, Jimmy Boyd, Freddy Wills, and Jack Jones at VTC.