Sean's Big 12 Conference Preview
By: Sean Higgs Published on: 08/24/2013
Here we go with my first look at the Big 12 Conference. Normally we see plenty of QBs here that love to light up the scoreboard. But this season we have only 2 of the 10 teams with QBs that have significant experience at the position. Should be an interesting year to say the least.
1. TEXAS - This is it for Mack Brown. He barely survived calls for his job after a 5-7 2009 season. But that is a long time ago. It is payback time. With 19 returning starters, 10 on offense, 9 on defense this team is ready to claim the title of Big 12 Champions. The defense allowed some crooked numbers in a few games last year. But West Va without Geno Smith, won't be putting up 48, Oklahoma, without Landry Jones, won't be putting up 63 and Baylor without Nick Florence. We will find out early what this team is made of and if Coach Brown will be back for a 17th season.
2. OKLAHOMA STATE - I think the Big 12 is pretty wide-open. Any of these teams I am putting in my Top 5 here can win here. The Cowboys have 15 starters back. They have have capable QBs, 3 who threw for 1,000 each last year, 2 are left, but they need 1 to rely on. The schedule is tough, but Mike Gundy gets the most out of his guys. We have seen in the past that the Big 12 really doesn't rely on defense, and with this team off a year that they average 46ppg, you can't count them out.
3. OKLAHOMA - Whenever I think these guys are going to live up to their potential, they wet the bed like a 2 year old girl. HC Bob Stoops is back for his 15th year. He fired 3 assistants last year after not firing 1 for 11 years. Needless to say, he is looking for a spark. He will have to rely on a strong upperclass (45 sr+jr) to keep this team moving forward. He just named true freshman, Trevor Knight his starting QB.
4. TCU - Frog Fever people. Gary Patterson has 9 returning starters on defense, and you know he loves his defense. The offense gets a boost with the return of QB Casey Pachall. He should take some stress of the defense. That defense led the Big 12 last year, and with it mostly intact, should again be formidable.
5. BAYLOR - After losing RGIII, all Art Briles offense did last year was rank #2 in the nation. He will again have to replace a QB, but with RB Lache Seastrunk, the Bears should be able to put up some points. Seastrunk said he is going to win the Heisman in 2013 by the way. HC Briles has this team beaming with confidence fresh off winning 5 of their last 6 and a nice Bowl win 49-26 over UCLA.
6. KANSAS STATE- What can I say about this team? I have been totally wrong about them the last 2 years. Bill Snyder is amazing. This team was terrible under Ron Prince. All Snyder did was walk, take over some other guys recruits and made them winners. The offense returns 8 starters, though not QB Collin Klein. The defense has some holes to fill, but Snyder is a magician so who knows if he can defend his Big 12 Title from LY.
7. IOWA STATE- This is where the weak links start to show in the Big 12. The Cyclones have 13 returning starters. The good news is that they love HC Paul Rhoads and even another 7 loss season won't get the fans in an uproar. Here's to 2014!
8. TEXAS TECH - Former TT QB Kliff Kingsbury returns to his old stomping grounds. The fans love their former QB so there won't be too much pressure. He will be installing a new system so growing pains are expected. With 15 returning starters, a winning Big 12 could be expected.
9. WEST VIRGINIA - I would normally have a team that lost basically its entire offense to the NFL in last place. But Kansas plays here. So HC Dana Holgorsen lost his QB Geno Smith and WRs Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey to the NFL. Added pain for the coach is even with that talent, this team under achieved. The defense was brutal. So they have 4 starters on offense returning, and 7 on defense. The defense can't get worse. Or so coach hopes. These guys gave up 63, 45,49,55,55 and 50!
10. KANSAS - What do these numbers represent? 12, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1.. Oh, that's only the Jayhawks win total falling the last 6 years. What is next? ZERO! Anything is possible. Out of 108 teams that won 1 game since 1990, 3 actually went to 0 the next year! Charlie Weis enters his second year on the sidelines. Kansas does return nearly all of its rushing yardage which was tops in the Big 12 last year. Maybe BYU QB transfer Jake heaps helps a bit. But this team won't be competing for a bowl for at least another year.