In this piece we will take a look at the Big 12 Conference and assess each teams
chances in this often high powered conference, that has teams who put up a
plethora of points year after year. Each team has a key situation for this year
Oklahoma has a new coach in Lincoln Riley who was hand picked by Bob Stoops after his sudden and surprising retirement. The Sooners were 11-1 the last 2 years and should not skip a beat here this year with 16 returning starters. They have QB Mayfield back the best offensive line in the conference. If Riley can handle the pressure of the situation and they play better defense this team will have a great shot at the BIG 12 Title. Their key play on Situation comes early in the season on September 9th as they try to exact home loss revenge on Ohio St
Oklahoma St is off back to back 10 win seasons under coach Gundy. They have the most prolific passing game in the country under super star Qb Mason Rudolph. They have a defense that has improved in points allowed in each of the last 3 seasons and appear to be the 2nd best team behind Oklahoma in this conference. The key to their season appears how well their secondary holds up and whether or not they can get key stops. Most of their games will be shoot outs. They have to be better in their secondary. Their key Play on Role comes at home on October 14th against Baylor as they look to avenge an 11 point loss. They have covered 8 of 9 at home against Baylor.
TCU went from an 11 win team in 2015 to a 6 win team last year. This year they bring back 17 starters and have a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball for 17th year coach Gary Patterson. TCU has only had 2 other losing years and have come back to win 11 and 12 games the following season. They are just 2 years removed from getting jobbed out of the college Playoff and with improvements expected on both sides of the ball, the sky is the limit in Forth Worth this season. Key play on role comes October 7th at home against Wet Virginia where they are 8-1 ats at home with rest and look to avenge a 24 point loss.
Texas has a new coach in Tom Herman and should do well this year despite coming back off a pair of disappointing 5-7 seasons. This year they return 17 starters including 10 on defense where they should improve the most. Texas needs to be consistent on offense where they improved by 6 points per game last year. The overall talent on this team is good and Herman who has been a solid recruiter at Houston. With the talent returning they could be a top 3 team in the BIG 12 this year. Key play on situation is on Oklahoma in the red river battle. They have 5 point revenge on Oklahoma and have covered the last 4 in the series.
Kansas St comes off a solid 9 win season and remains led by Hall of fame coach Bill Snyder. They return 14 starters including 8 on offense where they are expected to be strong again this year. They are led by quarterback Jesse Ertz and running back Alex Barnes and should have one of the most explosive back fields and offensive lines in college football. Like most BIG 12 Teams defense is the big unknown this season. The Wildcats have to replace two of their best players in defensive end Jordan Willis and linebacker Elijah Lee. They should be good enough to contend this year as they are well rounded in all phases of the game. They should be at worst a top 4 team in this conference. Key play on Situation this year comes on November 11th at home against West Virginia team that beat them by 1 point last year.
The Iowa St Cyclones return 12 starters and played well down the stretch last year despite amassing a 3-9 record. They have improved in offensive scoring in each of the past 3 seasons and will have a solid attack once again this season as They have a nice balance with a Qb who can sling it in Jacob Park and a solid run game led by Mike Warren. On Defense they remain a question mark as they lost 5 of their top 7 tacklers and will rely on Juco Transfers this year. Their ceiling puts them in the middle of the pack in the BIG 12 this year. Key Play against situation comes on October 21st when they travel into Texas Tech to take on a Red Raiders team they destroyed last season 66-10 as a 4 point dog.
West Virginia is projected by some to be a top 25 team. However, this appears to be a rebuilding year as the Mountaineers bring back just 3 defensive starters. They should be solid on offense where they have experience and will rely on a run heavy attack as they have 3 top level rushers returning as they break in a new Qb. They were a 10 win team last season before losing their bowl game to Miami. Key Play against situation comes in early November as they travel into Kansas St. They are 0-9 to the spread as a conference road dog of 4 or more vs a team with revenge and have failed to cover the last 5 in the series.
Texas Tech will once again have one of the most powerful offensive units in the nation, as they return 9 starters from an offense that averaged over 43 points for a 2nd straight season. Even with the loss of Qb Mahomes this team will score. Defense will once again be the Achilles heel for the Red Raiders who have allowed over 40 points for a 3rd straight year and a whopping 462 yards per game through the air. They do return 7 starters on defense and should improve somewhat. However in a pass happy Big 12 conference they could struggle to win games. KEY Play on Situation is on September 16th at home with revenge against Arizona St as they are 4-0 to the spread with rest.
Baylor as expected regressed last year and finished at 7-6. This year they are led by first year coach Matt Rhule who is a tough alpha male type who has a no non sense approach. He recruited a plethora of new players over 2 dozen. This team ill have a completely different look and will struggle this year as several players exited. They will have a solid defense but will have a tough time on offense until they are able to sustain consistency. Should they handle an easy non conference schedule they look like a .500 club this year. Key play against comes October 14th at a Revenging Oklahoma St venue. Baylor has failed to cover 8 of the last 9 in Stillwater.
Kansas appears to be a cellar dweller again this season in the Big 12. They were 2-10 last season despite bringing back 16 starters. This year they bring back just 12 overall. Last season they ranked worst in the nation in turnovers. While they improved in recruiting they still dont have enough top tier talent to win games. At best they get blown out less this season, and they do have one of the top defensive players in college football in Dorance Armstrong. This however will not be the case on the road in early November. Play Against situation on November 11th in Texas. The Longhorns will have revenge on their minds after losing to Kansas 24-21 as a 24 point dog which was one of the biggest upsets of 2016.
In closing we think this conference will come down to 4 teams that have a legitimate chance to win the league led by Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, TCU and Texas. We hope you enjoyed the team analysis provided as well. Be sure to check our page daily for free selections and analysis in all major sports as we continue to use the most powerful and cutting edge data in the industry. Rob has amassed profits year in and year out in both College and Pro Football and is poised for another big season this year. Good luck this season. Rob Vinciletti- Golden Contender Sports