CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017 Season Predictions: What Will Happen In The Big 12
Predicting everything that’ll happen this season in the Big 12 Conference.
What Will Happen? 5 Big 12 Predictions
1. Lincoln Riley Will Be Fine, Tom Herman Will Be Okay, and Matt Rhule Will Need Time
It’ll be the storyline of the Big 12 season – how will the young kids do?
No one should reasonably be expecting miracles out of Matt Rhule as he tries to build back up a Baylor program that needs a makeover, but he’ll get the Bears bowling. They won’t be in the Big 12 title hunt, and they won’t pull off anything too magical, but it’ll be a decent, steady season that calms things down a bit.
Tom Herman has no excuse not to win big right now. Texas is more than good enough to at least get to the Big 12 Championship Game, but there will be just enough misfires away from Austin against USC, Oklahoma, TCU and West Virginia to keep this from being the wildly successful breakthrough campaign some might be hoping for.
And then there’s Lincoln Riley. No pressure, newbie, just take over for Bob Stoops and win the Big 12 title with an Oklahoma team good enough to get to the College Football Playoff for a second time in three seasons. But that’s not going to happen, with a loss at Ohio State and one more whiff along the way – likely at Oklahoma State in Round One, more on that in a moment. But as long as OU wins the Big 12 title again, it’ll be a more than acceptable Year One.
2. The Big 12’s Big Bounceback Team Will Be …
TCU. Gary Patterson’s team was uncharacteristically mediocre and inconsistent, but the offense will be steadier, even if it’s not quite as explosive as it was in 2014 and 2015, and the defense will be a killer.
The linebacking twosome of Travin Howard and Ty Summers will overcome a defensive front that might need a month to get rolling, while Kenny Hill will be the quarterback the offense needs to crank up the production again.
The Horned Frogs might not get to the Big 12 title game, but they’ll be on the doorstep.
3. Expansion, Expansion, Expansion
Besides the new coaches and the renewal of the Big 12 Championship Game, the idea of expansion will be the season’s main topic of conversation. And why? It’ll seem a little gimmicky when a ten-team league that all but settles things in a round-robin regular season feels the need to play with one extra game.
And woe to the Big 12 if an 11-1 powerhouse that would’ve made the College Football Playoff in the recent format gets bounced out because it loses a rematch.
The national storyline will be about how the Big 12 is once again the fifth Power Fiver. Expect plenty of time spent assuming that things would change by adding BYU or Houston or Memphis or Cincinnati or USF or UCF of all of the above, and expect the same tired storylines and the same desperate projections to get a slew of Group of Five fans jazzed up on a Wednesday afternoon.
Of course, it’s the Big 12, so seen can, see road, see can get kicked down road. But if you’re already sick of the speculation, too bad. It’s not going to stop.
4. Texas Tech & Kansas Will Be Dealing With Big Decisions
Kansas is trying. It hired away TCU co-offensive coordinator to be the offensive coordinator in Lawrence. But unless there’s another massive upset or three, with the talent in place, who’s this team going to beat?
Okay, maybe the Jayhawks can get by Ohio, but that’s a road game against the best team in the MAC East. And maybe there will be a win over Central Michigan at home, but the Chippewa team that shocked Oklahoma State in Stillwater last year gets just about everyone back.
And even if the Jayhawks win those two games, along with the opener against SE Missouri, where’s the rest of the fun?
Forget about winning any Big 12 road game other than – maybe – Iowa State, which means for head coach David Beaty to finally come up with a breakthrough season after a 2-22 start, he’ll have to pull off a few upsets at home with West Virginia, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma coming to town. And he’ll have to beat …
Can head coach Kliff Kingsbury finally make the Red Raiders relevant (write that five times fast)?
Here’s the problem. If they don’t beat a resurgent TCU team late, and they slip on the road at Houston or at home against Arizona State, it might be yet another losing season or at fifth straight underwhelming one. Does 6-6 keep Kingsbury around?
5. The Big 12 Championship Game Will Be …
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State.
Because it’ll be asking a lot for one team to beat the other twice.
The call? TCU will be in the mix after beating just about everyone else in the conference, but it’ll be kept out after losing to the two Oklahoma schools – both games are on the road.
Texas will make some noise, but no. The Longhorns are good enough to get there, but they won’t.
Kansas State will be feisty, but it’ll be maddeningly annoying as it loses too many close games, and while Will Grier will be fine, West Virginia will be on the wrong end of a few fantastic Big 12 wars.
Iowa State? Baylor? Kansas? Texas Tech? In the Big 12 title chase? Nah, not yet, free space, get a defense.
Oklahoma State will hand OU its second loss of the season – the first coming at Ohio State – when the two play the Bedlam Series earlier in the year, just in case there’s a rematch at the end of the rainbow.
The Cowboys will take the first meeting in Stillwater on November 4th – propelling QB Mason Rudolph into fringe Heisman status and sure-thing top five NFL Draft pick stratosphere, but OU will regroup to win the unnecessary conference money-grab rematch for its third straight Big 12 title.
Where will everyone end up? For all of the Big 12 Bowl Projections?