I don’t claim to be a soothsayer, but like any sports fan, I feel strongly that I “know things”. That is certainly the truth when it comes to the Big 12 season in 2017, one that promises to be full of entertainment - and surprises. With that being said, I have some predictions for the season that I guarantee will probably, maybe, possibly, be right. Or completely wrong.
A team not named Oklahoma will win the Big 12.
But will it be a team with Oklahoma in their name?
Iowa State will finish ahead of Baylor in the final standings.
The Bears will struggle in year one under Matt Rhule, as they deal with a gutted roster, shoddy o-line play, and making the transition to Rhule’s system. Five wins would be a solid first run, and bowl eligibility is no guarantee.
TCU will have at least one All-American.
With a pair of dominating linebackers and one of the most under-appreciated running backs in the country, the Frogs should have multiple players garnering national attention. Don’t forget about Ranthony Texada... and don’t rule out a freshman All-American or two, as well.
There will be a Big 12 player in NYC for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony, but his name won’t be Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield won’t make the banquet circuit for a second consecutive year - with games at Ohio State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State looming - plus a renewed interest in the Red River Rivalry, first year head coach Lincoln Riley will have some growing pains, and that will cost Mayfield the video game like numbers of a season ago.
So who will represent the conference in NYC? Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Kyle Hicks, or... wait for this one... Jesse Ertz could make it to the Big City.
Not only will Baker not be invited to NYC, he won’t be the best QB in the Conference in 2017.
See above, and see the competition: OSU’s Mason Rudolph, K State’s Jesse Ertz, Texas’ Shane Buechele, and yes, TCU’s Kenny Hill, could all be primed for big years.
Kliff Kingsbury’s final game as the head coach at Texas Tech will be Saturday, October 21st, after an embarrassing home loss to Iowa State. Bill Snyder’s last game as head coach of Kansas State will come on New Year’s Day, after a surprising bowl win.
The only thing hotter than Kliff is his seat, and he doesn’t have Pat Mahomes to come running in with a cool towel or a Hail Mary miracle. Meanwhile, the elder statesman of college football will finally hang it up after 2017, riding off into the sunset after a successful Cats’ season.
There will not be a single undefeated Big 12 team by the end of Week Five.
Just look at the schedule - it’s brutal. Heck, even Baylor scheduled a P5 team in the preseason (it’s Duke, but hey, at least they tried). Oklahoma State has the best chance, but I have them getting upset in week four ;).
The Big 12 will not make the Playoffs, for the second straight year. But they will play in, and win, two BCS bowl games.
We are in for another off-season of realignment talk, as the Big 12 misses out on the postseason yet again. Some combination of Bama, Clemson, Louisville, Florida State, USC, Washington, Ohio State, and Penn State will edge out contenders like the Cowboys, Sooners, Wildcats, and... well, we will see.
Tom Herman will win eight games in his first season as head coach of the Longhorns, including a come from behind victory in the Red River Showdown.
I really thought that the Horns had a chance for double digit wins, but they have a tough road, literally, to that in year one under their forehead kissing young leader. But, eight wins and a bowl game would be serious progress, and give UT enough momentum to make a real run in 2018.
Kansas will win not one, but TWO, conference games.
You’re on upset watch, Baylor, Texas Tech, and... West Virginia (/ducks). If TCU wasn’t getting the Jayhawks at home, I would add them to that list as well.
Mike Gundy’s mullet will reign supreme as the conference’s best hair, until Dana Holgerson one ups him by rocking a navy blue mohawk embellished with cans of Red Bull.
This one is pretty obvious, right?
Five teams will finish the season ranked in the top 25, and after having only 14 players drafted a year ago, will have the second most of any conference with 42 players picked by the NFL in 2018.
The narrative of the summer was how much trouble the Big 12 was in, until revenue numbers came out. But, in recruiting battles, the pro numbers matter, and to that end, the conference will have a nice bounce back campaign. Loaded senior classes across the board certainly help in that regard.
Do you have some predictions? Have problems with mine? Let us know in the comments!