Each of the 10 teams in the Big 12 (math is hard), with the exception of Kansas, have enjoyed some measure of success in recent years. Sorry Kansas, Todd Reesing isn’t walking through that door anytime soon. But most of these teams have taken a ride on the football rollercoaster. Maintaining year after year success in college football requires a recipe that most schools have yet to master. The wide open offenses of the Big 12 look to be very enjoyable this season.
Oklahoma looks like the team to beat here. Even with Baker Mayfield and Mark Andrews playing on Sundays now, they seem primed to run the table. RB Rodney Anderson is considered one of the best in the country. WRs Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb will spread the field for what looks to be an unstoppable offense. But don’t count Texas out. The Longhorns are returning most of their starters; 7 on offense, 7 on defense. Look for WR Collin Johnson to break out in a big way this season. TCU will have something to say as well. Kenny Hill is gone, but RB Darius Anderson and WR Jalen Reagor are returning to lead this offense.
Most experts have West Virginia as the 4th best team in the Big 12. I’m hanging my hat on this today; West Virginia could very well win the Big 12. QB Will Grier returns, as do WRs Gary Jennings and David Sills. They combined for 157 catches last season with Sills finding the end zone 18 times. Their schedule favors them early, but 3 of their last 4 games will be battles. Oklahoma State lost a lot of offense. QB Mason Rudolph (4,904 yds, 37 TD) is gone. WRs James Washingon (74-1,549-13) and Marcell Ateman (59-1,156-8) are gone as well. Justice Hill provides a strong running game, but not if teams can stack 8 in the box. QB Taylor Cornelius and WR Jalen McCleskey will have to jump start the passing game.
Kansas State is without QB Jesse Ertz and a QB battle has been going on all off season. RB Alex Barnes will be relied on in the backfield to keep the running game going. Losing WR/Return man Byron Pringle takes a spark out of the Wildcats offense and special teams. Iowa State began 6-2 last season before running into a few Big 12 buzzsaws towards the end. RB David Montgomery is back, much to the delight of Cyclones fans. Kyle Kempt will be under center again, but someone will have to step up to replace WR Allen Lazard.
Texas Tech is depleted at the offensive skill positions. Nic Shimonek, Justin Stockton, Keke Coutee, Dylan Cantrell, and Cameron Batson are all gone. Kliff Kingsbury has his work cut out for him. Baylor is coming off a dismal 1-11 season. Good news; 17 returning starters. WR Denzel Mims is locked and loaded for a huge season. Watch him this year. And then there’s Kansas, another 1-11 team. 19 returning starters, but possibly another double digit loss season.
The Big 12 will provide a lot of points. I like the over. Which game, you ask? Yeah, that one. Most of these teams like to move the ball up and down the field. We’ll surely see some shootouts this year and I’m ready for it.