The Big XII Conference – A fan’s predictions

Oklahoma. The Sooners are flat out loaded, and a true National Championship contender that we may see in Miami!   To get there, two things must happen. First, they must win the Red River rivalry with Texas. That won’t be easy, but a win in Dallas could vault them to an undefeated season and a shot to play for the National Championship.  Second, they must avoid that “Clunker” game they have played the last three years.  In 2009 it was BYU, in 2010 Texas A&M, and last year, it was Texas Tech. They get back 15 starters, including Quarterback Landry Jones who threw for 4,463 yards and 29 TD’s, but tossed 15 picks.  With virtually everyone else back on offense, the Sooners should have little trouble duplicating last season’s 39.5 PPG. The defense is also stacked, as it could feature as many as five All-Conference players!  Tom Wort leads a linebacking crew that could be one of the best in the nation!

Big game: October 13 vs. Texas in Dallas      My prediction – 12-0

Texas  Can you say “Déjà vu”?  Remember three years ago, how you could drink a cold one, and watch Sportscenter highlights, and see Colt McCoy hitting Jordan Shipley for touchdown after touchdown?    Little brothers will be front and center for the Longhorns offense. Quarterback Case McCoy has been named the starter and he will be tossing the pigskin to Jaxon Shipley who caught 44 balls last season.  The Longhorns have nine starters back on offense, from a team that averaged 28.1 PPG last season.  Expect big things from Running Back Malcolm Brown who rushed for 779 yards last season.  On defense, the Horns feature what could be the top secondary in the nation, plus a veteran front seven! A very soft non-conference schedule sets Texas up nicely headed into league play.  If the Longhorns defeat Oklahoma in Dallas, they could become a National Championship contender.

Big game:  October 13 vs. Oklahoma in Dallas         My prediction – 11-1

West Virginia I sat in disbelief at the Orange Bowl last year, as The Mountaineers crushed Clemson 70-33. Dana Holgerson’s offense was unstoppable with Quarterback Geno Smith at the helm. With eight starters back, including Smith who had 31 TDs and only seven interceptions, the offense should continue to roll.   Also returning are the top three rushers and receivers.  The Mounties averaged 37.8 PPG last year, but that might be tough, after moving up to face better defenses in their first year in the Big XII Conference.   On defense, six starters return from a team that allowed 26.8 PPG last season.  With better competition, I believe that number will increase.

Big game:  October 6 at Texas      My prediction – 10-2

Texas Christian (TCU) This season, the Horned Frogs join the Big XII from the Mountain West.   The Frogs are loaded with talent, including Quarterback Casey Pachall, a 6-5 gunslinger that completed 66% of his passes last season for 2,291 yards and 25 TDs, with only seven picks. Also back are the top five rushers and top three receivers! The Frogs averaged 40.8 PPG last year, but I see a bit of a downturn based on competition, and replacing three offensive linemen will be key.  On defense, the Frogs have only five starters back from a team allowed 21.5 PPG last year.  Gary Patterson has been the head coach at TCU for 12 years now and to put it simply, he just wins. I think it’s definitely possible that the Frogs could be 8-0 and nationally ranked in the top 10, headed into a road game in Morgantown.

Big game:  November 3 at West Virginia     My prediction 9-3

 

Kansas State Bill Snyder does things that just amaze me.  Collin Klein was recruited as a wide receiver, but Snyder saw something in this kid and turned him into a QB — a very good QB. The 6-5 225 pound guy can run, and he can pass. He led the team with 1,448 on the ground and threw for another 1,918 yards and 13 TDs.  Also back is John Hubert who ran for more than 1,000 yards, and the top four receivers.  This year, most teams will load the box this year to prevent Klein from running so much, and I see a decline in the 31.8 PPG.  Six starters led by Middle linebacker Arthur Brown, a beast and a possible All-American, return to a defense that allowed 27.9 PPG a year ago.  Remember though, Bill Snyder does things that just amaze me.

Big game:   November 3 host Oklahoma State       My prediction 7-5

Oklahoma State Many believe that the Cowboys will be just fine, but I just don’t see how the Cowboys can recover from losing nearly two-thirds of their offense including Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.  In fact, I think it will be hard for the Cowboys to make it to a bowl.  In addition to losing Weeden and Blackmon, three linemen must be replaced, and I don’t see how they come close to the 48.7 PPG of last year. The defense is in much better shape as eight starters return.  I see better production from the defense that allowed 26.8 PPG last year

Big game: December 1 at Baylor      My prediction – 6-6

Texas Tech The Red Raiders are my conference spoiler team this year. While I don’t think they will have a winning record, I do believe they will scare the “Dickens” out of many opponents!  Seventeen starters return, including Quarterback Seth Doege who threw for more than 4,000 yards.   With eight starters back, I believe the offense will outperform last year’s 33.8 PPG. I expect big strides from a defense that allowed 39.3 PPG.

Big game:  October 27 at Kansas State         My prediction – 5-7

Iowa State I’m still not sure how the Cyclones managed to get into the Pinstripe Bowl last year. Seven starters return on offense led by running back James White.  The Cyclones averaged only 22.7 PPG last year and should be close to that number this year.  The defense returns only five starters, led by Middle linebacker A. J. Klein.

Big game: September 8 at Iowa   My prediction – 4-8

Kansas  Remember the Peaches and Herb song Reunited?   This fall, Charlie Weis and Dayne Crist might be dancing to that tune. The only thing is that it didn’t go so well at Notre Dame, so why will it be different at Kansas?   In the long run, I see Weis being a great fit here!   Crist will try to kick start an offense that does return it’s leading rusher and receiver, and averaged 22.3 PPG last year.  I forecast better offensive output.  The defense allowed a whopping 43.8 PPG!  With seven starters back, they should see some improvement.

Big game:  November 17 host Iowa State   My prediction – 4-8

Baylor  Baylor has to replace a few things on offense.  Like, Terrence Ganaway and his 1,566 yards rushing which are GONE.  Kendall Wright and his 1,663 yards receiving are GONE.  RGIII and his 4,293 yards passing, 37 TDs and 906 yards rushing are GONE.  The Bears averaged 45.3 last year, and it will be almost impossible to get back to that number, no matter how good new Quarterback Nick Florence is.  The defense is going to have to lead this team, and the good news is they have eight returning starters.

Big game:  November 3 host Kansas     My prediction 3-9

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