Last year was last year and all the hoopla that surrounded the Big 12 having co “1 true champion”s is over. This year is a new start and a new chance to get into the College Football Playoff. While still being the only Power 5 conference that does not have a conference championship game, the Big 12 has a few teams that will be vying for a spot in the national semifinals. The name brands of the conference seem to be stuck in the rebuilding mode, if you ask them they will probably say they are reloading. However, looking at last season the Texas’ and Oklahoma’s were not the cream of the Big 12 crop. Will they get back into the national spotlight? Or will TCU and Baylor continue to dominate the headlines as we go thru the season? Disclaimer-this just states the best and worst case scenario, it does not predict which team will be in which bowl.
Last season: 11-2 (Defeated by Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 10
Art Briles’ club seems poised to take the big stage. Back to back huge bowl appearances-winning the 2014 Fiesta Bowl and losing the above mentioned 2015 Cotton Bowl-is a big deal. If they were to make the same bowl this season that puts them in the College Football Playoff. The schedule, like the past two years however, holds them back. Starting the season against SMU, Lamar, and Rice and not leaving the state of Texas to do so will not impress the committee. Why not schedule one other Power 5 school and prove that you belong? Back to back road games at Oklahoma State (Nov 21) and at TCU (Nov 28) before closing the season with Texas at home (Dec 5) will be the stretch that makes or breaks the season. Best case scenario: College Football Playoff. Worst case scenario: The Alamo Bowl.
Last season: 2-10
Vegas over/under win prediction: 3
It was a very long season for the Cyclones. Losing to North Dakota State is not something that you should be ashamed of, however there were 9 other losses last season. This season figures to be no different though. Six road games on the schedule is not something that will translate in a lot of victories. Best case scenario: matching Vegas’ win prediction. Worst case scenario: going 0-12.
Last season: 3-9
Vegas over/under win prediction: 1.5
Do you remember when Kansas was in the Orange Bowl? I did not think so…it was in January 2008. They are not going this year. The Jayhawks might as well get ready to watch Bill Self hoop it up, that is the only chance at Big 12 glory this season. Best case scenario: Beating anyone on their schedule. Worst case scenario: going 0-12.
Last season: 9-4 (Defeated by UCLA in the Valero Alamo Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 7
Kansas State is one of the more consistent programs in the country…as long as Bill Snyder is the coach that is. The Wildcats should be 3-0 heading in to a road game with Oklahoma State (Oct 3). After that they get TCU and Oklahoma at home, then alternate home/road games the rest of the season. You know what you are getting with Kansas State and that’s tough football and close games. Best case scenario: Returning to the Alamo Bowl. Worst case scenario: barely making it to bowl eligibility and going to the Armed Forces Bowl.
Last season: 9-4 (Defeated by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 9
OU could have the goods to make a run at the College Football Playoff, they recruit as good or better than most in the country. Have one of the best head coaches in the sport. Play in a league with Kansas/Iowa State (sorry Jayhawk and Cyclone fans). This season the schedule is not kind. Going to Tennessee (Sep 12) will either put them on the national radar or they will not be as good as advertised. It is that big of a game I believe. Only 4 road conference games at Kansas State (Oct 17) at Kansas (Oct 31) at Baylor (Nov 14) and at Oklahoma State (Nov 28). They have the talent to win every game, but the question is will their QB allow them to be great. Best case scenario: At-large selection in the New Year’s 6. Worst case scenario: Texas Bowl.
Last season: 7-6 (Defeated Washington in the Ticketcity Cactus Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 7
Oklahoma State kicked off the year with the defending national champions, gave them a run for their money, won the next 5 games, then lost 5 in a row after that only to upset rival OU in Bedlam. Putting a roller coaster season behind them will be key this season. 3 uninspiring non conference games start the season followed by a winnable road game at rebuilding Texas (Sep 26). They alternate home/road conference games but finish the season with 2 could-be-very-interesting games at Stillwater. Hosting Baylor (Nov 21) and Oklahoma (Nov 28), also catching TCU at home is very good for the Cowboys as TCU has not won in Stillwater since 1991. Best case scenario: Alamo Bowl. Worst case scenario: Returning to the Cactus Bowl.
Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by Arkansas in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 6.5
Charlie Strong’s rebuild of Texas is now in year 2 and mixed results have the Longhorn faithful either patiently waiting or calling for his head already. If they give him the time, he will make them into something very special I believe. Starting the season at Notre Dame is a tough task. Getting 3 straight home games after might be the springboard into a good season. The only road games after the trip to South Bend are at TCU (Oct 3) at Iowa State (Oct 31) at West Virginia (Nov 14) and finishing the season at Baylor (Dec 5). Good chance the Longhorns go bowling again this season (Bowl practices are huge for programs to build with). Best case scenario: Russell Athletic Bowl. Worst case scenario: Armed Forces Bowl.
Last season: 12-1 (Defeated Ole Miss in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 10
TCU will win more than 10 games this season, you read that right…more. I think the Horned Frogs are primed for a national championship run after last season. I watched the Baylor game, they were the dominant team. TCU let its foot off the gas and that cost them. They will not make that same mistake twice. A legit Heisman threat at QB in Boykin, and Gary Patterson always fields a good to great defense. This is one team that no matter the venue they will be the favored team. Only other team that is like that is Ohio State. Best case scenario: College Football Playoff. Worst case scenario: At-large selection to a New Year’s 6 bowl.
Last season: 4-8
Vegas over/under win prediction: 6
Things could have went better for Cliff Kingsbury as he tried to reinvent the Air Raid that the Red Raiders tried to deploy last season. He better get it fixed soon or his looks that makes all the women blush won’t save his job. After 2 non conference cake walks Texas Tech travels to Arkansas and hosts TCU and Baylor in 3 consecutive weeks. That is a recipe for disaster. The remaining schedule will not be a cake walk either and getting to bowl eligibility might be the best the Red Raiders can hope for. Best case scenario: Bowl eligibility. Worst case scenario: replicating the 4-8 from a year ago.
Last season: 7-6 (Defeated by Texas A&M in the Autozone Liberty Bowl)
Vegas over/under win prediction: 8
At least they aren’t starting with ‘Bama. Starting the season with 3 largely uninspiring non conference games will lead to a 3-0 start. After that the 9 game Big 12 rotation sees the Mountaineers going to OU (Oct 3) at Baylor (Oct 17) a Thursday night affair at TCU (Oct 29). A home game against Oklahoma State is thrown in the middle of all that. If they improve on their win total from a year ago it will have to come against the latter part of the schedule. Best case scenario: Alamo Bowl. Worst case scenario: Cactus Bowl.
Conclusion: The Big 12 will be decided when Baylor travels to TCU on November 27. Those are the two teams to watch.