Rivalries run deep and the heart of the Big 12 runs through the Red River in both Texas and Oklahoma. Last year Oklahoma was the representative in the playoff for the big 12 with Heisman winner Kyler Murray running the show. The rest of the Big 12 shaped out pretty well with Texas blowing out Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and many other teams such as Iowa State and West Virginia having solid seasons.
Going into 2019 the conference still appears to be a two-team race between the Longhorns and Sooners but the Big 12 has shown in the past that it can be full of surprises. Now without further ado, here are my predictions for the upcoming Big 12 season.
- Texas- Tom Herman has done an unbelievable job during his time in Austin restoring a traditional power. The Longhorns not only return most of their offensive starters but they return the most important player in the conference, quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Expectations in Austin are as high as they’ve been in a decade, the weight of it all falls on the star quarterback and the head coach.
- Oklahoma- The class of the Big 12 the past couple of season Lincoln Riley took the reins from Bob Stoops and ran with it. Riley has coached the past two Heisman winners at quarterback in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. It’s to see any scenario where Riley doesn’t maximize the potential of Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts. The defense has been a question mark in the past and right now, the Sooners playoff hopes ride on their play.
- Iowa State- Similar to Tom Herman, Matt Campbell has does nothing but create a winning culture in Aimes. The Cyclones will go into the year sporting an offense that’s arguably the best in the Big 12 this coming season. After losing running back David Montgomery to the NFL, quarterback Brock Purdy is the engine that gets the Cyclone offense going. Purdy should be the reason for a lot of winning for the Cyclones this season.
- Oklahoma State- A bit of a down year for the Cowboys in 2018, Coach Mike Gundy needs to muster up more than just seven wins this season. Usually, near the top of the offensive rankings, they ranked 10th in total offense in 2018. The production is there but the questions marks are on the defensive side of the ball.
- TCU- The Horned Frogs were hit with the injury bug compiled with various suspensions. Most notably their star receiver KaVontae Turpin who was dismissed from the team. The big story going into the season will be “Who’s going to be the quarterback?” Michael Collins played in nine games last season and threw for over 1000 yards. Coach Gary Patterson’s dilemma will be the health of the roster.
- West Virginia- Dana Holgorsen. Gone. Will Grier. Gone. This season will require a lot of searching from the Mountaineers this season, mainly, for an identity. Holgorsen spent eight seasons in Morgantown running the show. New Coach Neal Brown comes in looking to maintain the level of excitement that West Virginia football brought.
- Kansas State- Bill Snyder is Kansas State football and for the first time in over a decade, he will not be strolling the sideline calling the shots. New Coach Chris Klieman will be the leader of the Wildcats. Kansas State returns All-Big 12 performer in running back Jordan Brown. Brown will be asked to carry the load for the Wildcat offense as they seek another bowl bid after their streak of eight straight was snapped last season.
- Baylor- The Art Briles era is in the rearview mirror and the Baylor Bears seemed to have established some consistency for their program. Only two seasons removed from their 1-11 campaign, Coach Matt Rhule and the Baylor Bears bounced back with a seven-win season. Much of the same is to be expected
- Kansas- Probably the shock in not having them at the bottom but the hiring of Les Miles has restored hope what was a reeling Kansas program. The rising star of Pooka Williams and a growing running game will fuel a new Jayhawk program.
- Texas Tech- Not to say that Tech experienced a lot of success even during his tenure but the departure of former coach Kliff Kingsbury will be felt throughout the season. An identity will need to be established but this will be a long season for the Red Raiders.