Big 12 football season preview
The Big 12 boasts some of the most fun teams to watch in college football. For those that live in the Oklahoma and Texas regions, Oklahoma State looks to keep making noise in the Big 12 en route to building a top team. The University of Texas will come in with new head coach Tom Herman.
Texas Longhorns Quick Look
Tom Herman, most recently of University of Houston Cougars fame, will look to turn around a struggling Longhorns team and make an immediate impact. Shane Buechele looks to be the number one quarterback on an already experienced team. The offense of these Longhorns has been very good over the years. However, they haven’t been able to finish games. Tom Herman looks to improve the decent offense and bolster a very weak defense. With the roster they have coming into the season, they could make noise in the Big 12.
Texas Christian University Horned Frogs Quick Look
Staying in Texas, there’s also a little-known team called the TCU Horned Frogs. The Horned Frogs have worked diligently to put the school on the map since the LaDainian Tomlinson days. And, if we are being honest, they should not be ignored. Over the past few seasons, the Horned Frogs have given the Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma Sooners a run for their money. Yes, they have been defeated by the Sooners two of the last three seasons. However, the losses suffered at the hands of the Sooners were close games. The defense has been a decent force in the Big 12 for the ‘Frogs and the offense has only gotten better. Time will tell where this squad goes.
Baylor Bears Quick Look
Also making noise in Texas, Matt Rhule will look to take over the Baylor Bears who haven’t done much since the days of Robert Griffin, III. Baylor does have a talented team. However, when they are bad, they’re bad. New coach Rhule looks to help the ailing Bears get back up in the rankings starting in just mere hours.
Texas Tech University Quick Look
The Longhorns have been mentioned, the often overlooked Horned Frogs have been mentioned, but what about the Texas Tech squad in Lubbock? Coach Kliff Kingsbury comes into the season with two tasks. The first is to replace Pat Mahomes while the other task is to improve the defense. Another team with lots of talent, and one that shouldn’t be underestimated. While it’s said that one person doesn’t make a team, fans will find out if that saying is true with Texas Tech.
Kansas Jayhawks Quick Look
Last year, the Jayhawks started three different QBs. The passing game averaged 240 YPG. Two of those quarterbacks are now gone. However, Carter Stanley returns to compete with Washington State transfer Peyton Bender. Ke’aun Kinner is gone, but the two backs behind him return.The offensive line of the Jayhawks will welcome back four returning starters, and the new addition of Charles Baldwin. The receiving corps will return its top two men. And, with the addition of Doug Meachem, Kansas looks to improve the offense even more. The Jayhawks defense is somewhat more suspect, with four defensive backs and a couple linebackers departing.
The offensive line of the Jayhawks will welcome back four returning starters, and the new addition of Charles Baldwin. The receiving corps will return its top two men. And, with the addition of Doug Meachem, Kansas looks to improve the offense even more. The Jayhawks defense is somewhat more suspect, with four defensive backs and a couple linebackers departing.
Kansas State Wildcats Quick Look
Staying up in that region, Kansas State comes into the season with a dominant special teams game. The special teams may even be the best in the Big 12. The secondary for K-State is expected to make its presence known, and then there’s QB Jesse Ertz, he will also look to make his presence felt in the Big 12. However, the lack of big plays from the passing game, and the losses of personnel may leave K-State out of the Big 12 title.
The Wildcats took a running back by committee approach to the ground game last year and everybody but Charles Jones (596 yards 2 TD) returns. Three of the top four receivers are back and the offensive line has four starters back too. Last year, they averaged 32.2 PPG and they should easily match that number this year.
DE Derek Willis (3rd round pick Bengals), LBs Elijah Lee (7th round pick Vikings) and Charmeachealle Moore, and S Dante Barnett depart. That said, the defensive line returns everyone but Willis and the secondary has everyone outside of Barnett back. Despite the losses, Snyder always has a solid defense, and there is no reason not to expect the same this year.
Oklahoma Sooners Quick Look
The Sooners only lost two games last year. Both also against high profile teams Houston and Ohio State. These two losses would leave the team out of the playoff picture in people’s minds before Conference play even began. The Sooners would go on to win nine straight, including a 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.
The Sooners have a new head coach this year, in Lincoln Riley as Bob Stoops retired, but will have Baker Mayfield returning at QB, and many other decent names. Not to mention, the Sooners will have all five starters on the offensive line back from last year. This group will also have young players Rodney Anderson, Abdul Adams, and Jeffrey Mead to showcase their talents on offense to name a few as well. Will the Sooners be the same as last year? It’s doubtful, however, they will still be decent.
Oklahoma State Cowboys Quick Look
Fans have to believe that the Okie State Cowboys are still seething over their loss to Central Michigan last year. And with that, the Cowboys look to start the season out hot. With returning QB Mason Rudolph at the helm, the OSU Cowboys will most likely have a powerful offensive attack. Also, in front of him will be a familiar name. Larry Williams makes his return and will look to have a veteran presence alongside Cal transfer Aaron Cochran.
On defense, the Cowboys will have Tre Flowers on defense, and Chad Whitener who both will return. The only difference that might be visible to fans: Two starters on defense have departed.
Iowa State Quick Look
Iowa State, as the saying goes, is on the rise. While Iowa State had a handful of close losses, they were just that. Close. While it is brave to say they will be a contender for the Big 12 title, it is a safe bet that they’ll at least be improved. On offense, fans will see the usual suspects. Jacob Park and Allen Lazard will make their return, which is significant for the Cyclones.
The duo of Park-Lazard is considered one of the best QB/WR duos in all the Big 12. With the help of Park, Lazard has averaged 170 career receptions. As the talent on the team reloads, the fans are in for a show. Furthermore, Iowa State’s stadium is loud and seems to be a tough place to play. Could fans see a turnaround soon? Possibly.
West Virginia Quick Look
All eyes will be on QB Will Grier. After a tumultuous exit from the University of Florida, Grier came in and quickly captured the starting QB job. Grier will be teamed with standout running back Justin Crawford, but there’s a void at wide receiver. Furthermore, they also lost three starters on the offensive line. WVU will have these holes, plus more on defense. Safety Dravon Askew-Henry will be back from injury.
Askew-Henry will team with Kyzir White to lead a fairly solid defense of young players. All of these holes must be filled before WVU plays the likes of TCU, Kansas State or Oklahoma. Furthermore, the weakness at cornerback must also be solved in order to succeed in the “pass happy” Big 12.