2017 Big 12 Football Predictions: Who Wins?
Turnover in Texas (and Oklahoma).
Finally, we make it out of the Group of Five and into the Power Five with our 2017 Big 12 football predictions.
Out of the five Power Five leagues, the Big 12 is fifth. Sure, don’t get me wrong, they have name-brand programs. Some of them have been good lately, and some haven’t. None have contended for national titles when games mattered the most in recent years. Is this the season that changes that? Maybe not, but it could be the season that rehabilitates one of the Big 12’s crown jewels, Texas.
Last season for the Horns had everyone confused. One week they were back in the rankings, and later in the year, they lost to Kansas. Will Texas baffle and Oklahoma bedazzle like 2016?
2017 Big 12 Football Predictions: But First, The Preseason Poll
In parenthesis is the AP preseason poll ranking, if applicable.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (8)
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (11)
3. Kansas State Wildcats (19)
4. Texas Longhorns (23)
5. TCU Horned Frogs
6. West Virginia Mountaineers (20)
7. Baylor Bears
8. Texas Tech Red Raiders
9. Iowa State Cyclones
10. Kansas Jayhawks
2017 Big 12 Football Predictions: Teams To Watch
We opened talking about Texas, but surely there is love to be had for Oklahoma. You know, the team that won the conference last year. What makes them so interesting is who won’t be patrolling the sidelines anymore. Bob Stoops is gone, off to the Shady Pines Football Coaches’ Retirement Home. Lincoln Riley replaces him, and even though the Sooners were picked first in the conference, Norman, OK holds its breath.
Riley is such a blank slate that nobody can know how it goes until it happens. At least he still has Baker Mayfield as his quarterback, as well as as a damn good offense overall. It’s not a unique Big 12 criticism to Oklahoma, but the defense must get much better. This may not halt their quest for a Big 12 title, but anything beyond that, yes.
Oklahoma State is hot on their tail. Bedlam could decide the conference, at least until the Big 12 Championship Game in December. They start the season just outside the top ten nationally, but make no doubt, they’re in the race. Mason Rudolph can go toe to toe with Mayfield for best quarterback in the Big 12. Like all the best teams in this conference, they’ll blow you away on offense and give up 30-40. The Pokes own a very, very skilled wide receiving corps that will help them stay ahead of most competition.
This team has a mediocre non-conference slate. If they want to make the College Football Playoff, 11-1 (or better) plus the Big 12 title might be what it takes. That, of course, depends on what the one loss is.
Look around you: plenty of sports commentators are convinced Texas is back under Tom Herman. We learned our lesson proclaiming Texas “back” under Charlie Strong early last year. It’s at the point where we have to see it to believe it. Herman appears to be a talented coach, but he didn’t ride into Austin on a donkey with people waving palms at him. He’s allowed a season to rebuild, and if it doesn’t look great immediately, Herman’s not terrible.
Talent exists on the Longhorns roster. They’re returning a bunch of starters on defense, plus Shane Buechele at quarterback. This is why the expectation exists that Herman will get this team to contend in the Big 12 in 2017. If they do, a good Texas makes the Big 12 in general much better.
2017 Big 12 Football Predictions: Our Picks
|1. Oklahoma Sooners|
|2. Oklahoma State Cowboys|
|3. TCU Horned Frogs|
|4. Texas Longhorns|
|5. Kansas State Wildcats|
|6. West Virginia Mountaineers|
|7. Texas Tech Red Raiders|
|8. Baylor Bears|
|9. Kansas Jayhawks|
|10. Iowa State Cyclones|