The last few seasons the Pac-12 has been known for its insane scores in league games, but the Big 12 would like to steal that award. With high-octane crews at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor, as well as two teams in Texas and Texas Tech that can also make the scoreboard look like a slot machine, the Big 12 could be the most interesting race in the nation in 2013. I haven’t even mentioned West Virginia who is coached by offensive minded Dana Holgorsen, Kansas who is coached by offensive minded Charlie Weis and Kansas State. Bill Snyder may not be the offensive guy those other two are, but his Kansas State teams haven’t been shy about scoring. Only TCU, with defensive ace Gary Patterson, and Iowa State, led by former defensive coordinator Paul Rhodes, look to win starting with that side of the ball. As for national title implications, which have escaped the league since Colt McCoy’s Longhorns came up short, both Oklahoma schools as well as Texas look to take the mantel that K-State had last year. TCU, a dark horse on a national scale, could work their way into the mix; especially with a win against LSU this Saturday.
Hopefully this isn’t your first time checking out our stock report, but if it is, the above chart is the power rankings of the league. The buying/holding/selling stock in a team is relative to preseason expectations, making a better bowl, or surprising the league and competing for a division title. Just because I’m buying a lot of stock in a team doesn’t mean I think they are better than the first place team. Now that we are all in sync, let’s get after it!
Oklahoma – Obviously Trevor Knight has big shoes to fill for Landry Jones and the same goes with Blake Bell if he is called upon, but this is a Bob Stoops coached team, it is one of the most consistent programs in the nation and they have a pretty favorable league schedule with TCU and Texas Tech coming to their house. I predict Bedlam to be the league title game this year, with possibly a trip to the BCS title game on the line as well.
Oklahoma State – Love Mike Gundy, love all the experience that is back at QB and wideout, but the schedule also unfolds nicely. K-State, TCU, Baylor and the Sooners all come to Stillwater this year. That leaves just Texas, and maybe the Texas Tech game, as tough road games in the league this year. The non-con is soft enough that this team could be 9-0 heading into that trip to Austin.
TCU – If Casey Pachall can get out of his own way he can be a difference maker for a team that still won seven games last year. Of their losses in 2012, three were by seven or less. We know the defense will be one of the best in the league. Both of their dates with the Oklahoma schools are road games, so if they do end up winning the league, they will have done it the hard way.
Texas – Mack Brown deserves his share of blame for some bad losses, but this team did get hot last year. They started 4-0 before dropping the WVU and OU games. They then ripped off four more to get back in the race. If David Ash can become a consistent quarterback these Longhorns will look a lot better than they did in last season’s up and down 8-4 regular season campaign. The Pokes and Red Raiders both have to come to Austin so that should help matters.
Texas Tech – I don’t think they’ll win the league, but with Kliff Kingsbury at the helm, they will be really fun to watch. Four of their home games and a neutral site date are very winnable and I like their chances in three of their road games. If they sweep those and pull off an upset, we would have an eight-win ball club right here folks.
Baylor – The defense has been a nightmare the last few years and in this league that is not something you can survive for long stretches. All seven games before the OU tilt are favorable, though ,so they should be a confident bunch. A bowl definitely depends on the opening half of the season as the final five games are against OU, Tech, at OSU, at TCU, Texas.
Iowa State – Nine starters return from a team that went to a bowl a year ago. They play Iowa at home, but do have to visit a good-looking Tulsa club in the non-con. The league play doesn’t help them much as four home games are Texas, OSU, TCU and Kansas. Considering the long odds they have against those first three teams, I’m sure they would have rather seen Baylor or K-State come to town. Still, we’ve learned not to count out Paul Rhodes in David vs Goliath match ups.
Kansas State – Only two defensive starters return and Colin Klien has exited stage left, but this is Bill Snyder we are talking about. It also depends on what your expectations are. I think a bowl is a lock. They will start 3-0 and get Baylor, WVU and Iowa State all in the Little Apple. You know they’ll crush Kansas too. I think they can get to 7-5, which isn’t too bad considering all the roster turnover.
Kansas – This could be the worst AQ conference team in the nation. It’s too bad we can’t have Kansas, Colorado, Kentucky and Illinois face off in a round robin. This club looks to take baby steps and just end their league-losing streak. I may not be a fan of ol’ Charlie, but these are 18 to 22 year old kids out there playing a game they love. Don’t you want that game to reward them back in some way, even if it is just three times in a twelve game year?
West Virginia – The Mountaineers lost a ton of offensive talent. Worse, their defense was atrocious last season. Neither the new faces on offense will score enough nor will the defenders have made enough progress to help the new look offense out. They also play a cupcake FCS team and the newest FBS club they could find in Georgia Southern (who went 1-10 in its final FCS season) as part of their non-con schedule. Have you no shame West Virginia? If I was a bowl, and they came in with a 6-6 mark and those two scrubs on their schedule, I’d look the other way. If they want a post season I think WVU has to hit seven wins this year to overcome the cupcake fest.