Big 12 Preview

OKLAHOMA AND BAYLOR ARE CO-FAVORITES IN THE BIG 12, WITH NEW-LOOK TEXAS LURKING

It’s back to football as our summer series of college football conference previews begin. We have a whopping 10-team league to discuss in this report. So, let’s jump right into the numbers. Don’t forget that returning starter information comes from the respected Athlon publication.

Big 12

Oklahoma
2013 Record: 11-2
2013 Rankings: 52 on offense, 20 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 9 on defense
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
Notebook: It was a real stunner last year when Oklahoma fell to #90 in the nation in passing offense during what proved ultimately to be a successful season. They lost to Texas and Baylor, but beat everyone else including Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. If Trevor Knight (MVP of that bowl game) can build on early promise, then Oklahoma really does deserve to be favorites in the Big 12 this season. A ridiculously easy early schedule will give them time to build their steamroller before things get tougher midseason.

Baylor
2013 Record: 11-2
2013 Rankings: 1 on offense, 28 on defense
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 4 on defense
Head Coach: Art Briles
Notebook: Baylor did get hurt by graduation. But, quarterback Bryce Petty returns for his senior season…and that’s largely all that matters for a system program like this. You can expect the Bears to continue playing high scoring shootouts. Their ultimate record will depend on whether or not they can outscore Oklahoma and Texas (both on the road this year) in the build-up to a potentially tough final month that includes threats from spoilers in succession. At least the new starters will likely have things figured out by that OU/Okie State/Texas Tech/K-State gauntlet.

Texas
2013 Record: 8-5
2013 Rankings: 64 on offense, 68 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 7 on defense
Head Coach: Charlie Strong
Notebook: Everyone’s wondering about the Horns because they now have that super-serious Louisville coach replacing everybody’s happy uncle. Strong can fix what Mack Brown let slide. But, Strong won’t have a Heisman candidate quarterback running his offense this season. Note the very ugly stat rankings for Texas. They were basically a #60 team nationally that was almost 6-7 but for nailbiter wins over Iowa State and West Virginia. We expect improvement…but probably not enough to get to where the media is already ranking this team.

Kansas State
2013 Record: 8-5
2013 Rankings: 71 on offense, 26 on defense
Returning Starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Bill Snyder
Notebook: There’s a lot of buzz around this program because Coach Snyder always has a way of finding talent and getting the most out of them. But, we’re still talking about a team that lost to North Dakota State and the teams who knew what they were doing in league play. Having quarterback Jake Waters running the show would be more exciting if the offense hadn’t ranked #71 last year! We’re are less bullish than some others…but we’ll watch that September 18 game vs. Auburn very closely to see if it’s a scene-setter for a great Big 12 run.

Oklahoma State
2013 Record: 10-3
2013 Rankings: 37 on offense, 52 on defense
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 4 on defense
Head Coach: Mike Gundy
Notebook: You know something is wrong when Oklahoma State’s high flying approach can only rank #37 in the nation offensively. This fast break attack be in the top 15 every year, and it’s a sign of sluggishness when it doesn’t happen. That’s why so many pundits are expecting the Cowboys to finish behind Texas and K-State this year, even though the Cowboys beat them both last season…as well as beating eventual champ Baylor 49-17. Tough opener with Florida State on August 30 in Arlington. But, then the “big four” listed just above them in our preview don’t show up until the final month of action. Quarterback J.W. Walsh has plenty of time to build on past performances to gear up for that conference run…even if he is overmatched by FSU out of the gate.

TCU
2013 Record: 4-8
2013 Rankings: 104 on offense, 24 on defense
Returning Starters: 3 on offense, 8 on defense
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
Notebook: The tide has turned quickly here. Coach Patterson used to get mentioned for any job opening that came up nationally. He decided to stay put because of the program and conference’s improving financial situation. Last year was an ugly step backward, though the team was at least competitive in its losses. Can they find a quarterback who can get the offense to the end zone? No chance for a resurgence until that happens.

Texas Tech
2013 Record: 8-5
2013 Rankings: 8 on offense, 84 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 3 on defense
Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury
Notebook: This is why we were so down on Okie State’s offensive ranking. Texas Tech cobbled together various skill sets and used fast break football to reach the top 10 in total yards anyway. We like what Coach Kingsbury can do with any offense. But, the defense has to go four quarters in every big game. How can that happen with only three returning starters? This is a team you can pick some spots with. But, it’s probably better to look at the Over vs. their toughest opponents.

Iowa State
2013 Record: 3-9
2013 Rankings: 96 on offense, 105 on defense
Returning Starters: 10 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Paul Rhoads
Notebook: Last year’s team seemed to run out of gas after five weeks of tough finishes. You just can’t ask “hustling kids who try hard” to defend in this league over the long haul on spirit alone. That should be a problem again this season. Look to back the Cyclones as a value underdog until fatigue sets in.

West Virginia
2013 Record: 4-8
2013 Rankings: 62 on offense, 101 on defense
Returning Starters: 6 on offense, 6 on defense
Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen
Notebook: The program may regret joining the Big 12 for a long time. The realities of brutal travel schedules have taken the dollar signs out of everyone’s eyeballs. They could have owned the American Athletic Conference, where at least travel would have come against manageable opposition. Things are falling apart quickly, and senior quarterback Clay Trickett isn’t well suited to run a Holgorsen-type offense (as we saw often last year). Maybe a good season opener vs. Alabama will change our minds. Unlikely.

Kansas
2013 Record: 3-9
2013 Rankings: 117 on offense, 96 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 9 on defense
Head Coach: Charlie Weis
Notebook: It’s a crime that Weis got another chance to be a head coach at a major program. Now he’s just finishing out his contract with little chance of bringing competitive football to Lawrence. Not a team we’ll be considering often unless they show early value dog promise against Duke or Texas in September.

Football will be here before you know it. Be sure you’re building your bankrolls through the summer with BLOCKBUSTER BASEBALL from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK®! You can purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about baseball or football service, call us this weekend before first pitch Saturday and Sunday at 1-800-323-4453.

Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule…

Sunday: College Football…American Athletic Conference Preview
Monday: MLB Series Preview…either Pittsburgh at SF, or Boston at Toronto
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview…either LA Angels at Baltimore or Atlanta at LAD
Wednesday: College Football…SEC “East” Preview
Thursday: College Football…SEC “West” Preview

Only three conference preview days left! Keep the money rolling in throughout this FAST-PACED SUMMER at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK®!

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