Big 12 Media Days - Predictions & More
Posted Jul 23, 2012

Before the Big 12 media days kick off, here are the quick predictions for each team.

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Big 12 Media Days Predictions

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- 2012 Big 12 Media Days The Big Questions  
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Conference champion: Oklahoma
Texas is good, but there are still a few question marks about whether or not the offense can start to produce on a regular basis. Oklahoma State will be good, but starting a true freshman quarterback in Wes Lunt could be a problem in big games. West Virginia isn't going to be consistent enough and will lose at least one game it shouldn't, and Kansas State won't have enough offensive firepower. Oklahoma needs to get more out of its running backs and the receiver depth is a concern, but Landry Jones should be the franchise quarterback for some NFL team right now and the offensive line should be among the best in the country. The toughest road games are at West Virginia and TCU – that's not that bad.

Player of the Year: West Virginia QB Geno Smith
Landry Jones might be the best NFL quarterback prospect in a Big 12 loaded at quarterback, but his receiving corps is questionable. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein stepped up his passing game this offseason, but can he come up with enough big wins to get Player of the Year honors? Smith has the combination of talent, a great team and a loaded receiving corps to put up astronomical numbers, and as long as West Virginia is in the conference title race late in November, he should have the stats to be the league's main man.

Biggest Surprise: Baylor quarterback Nick Florence
Robert Griffin III really was special. While he put up some of the greatest single-season numbers in college football history and was one of the most efficient quarterbacks of all-time, he won the Heisman and became a legend because he was magical. He came up with special performances to beat TCU, Oklahoma and Missouri to captivate the college football world, and he's not going to be easily replaced. However, Florence knows the offense cold and is smart, accurate, and good enough put up big numbers with a terrific receiving corps to work with. He stepped in for an injured Griffin in 2009 throwing for 427 yards in a stunning win over Missouri, and he got in a little bit of mop-up work over the last few years. He completed 9-of-12 passes last year for 151 yards and two scores, and he can run enough to not be a stick in the mud.

Biggest Disappointment: Kansas State
It's not that the Wildcats will be bad, but after being worthy of playing in a BCS game last year with a fantastic 10-3 season they'll take a step back. Kansas is the weakest link in the Big 12 chain, and Iowa State and Baylor will struggle to get into the upper half of the conference standings, but other great teams have to finish in the bottom five. It's not going to be Oklahoma, and West Virginia and Texas are strong enough to challenge for the title. Texas Tech could certainly finish in the bottom five, but will TCU or Oklahoma State dip? Kansas State has to go to West Virginia, Oklahoma and TCU, and it's asking for way too much to win all the close games like it did last year.

Best Game: Oklahoma vs. Texas, October 13
Don't let last year's 55-17 Oklahoma win fool you; the Red River Rivalry has been the key game over the history of the Big 12 and it will be again. Oklahoma State's dates with OU, Texas and West Virginia will be big, and TCU's date in Morgantown against the Mountaineers on November 3rd will be a key matchup between the league's new guys, OU vs. Texas should be for the Big 12 championship after everything shakes out. The Sooners follow it up with Kansas, Notre Dame, at Iowa State and Baylor – four very winnable games – and should be 9-0 going into the showdown against West Virginia if they can beat the Longhorns, while Texas will be coming off nasty games against Oklahoma State and West Virginia before things start to lighten up straightening.

Conference Predictions

1. Oklahoma
This isn't the best team in the country, but it won't be far off. The potential concerns – pass rush, running game, receiver depth – are minimal while there's enough talent and experience across the board to demand a more consistent and occasionally more dominant season. If the Sooners play like they're supposed to they shouldn't have a problem at home against anyone who has to come to Norman including Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma State, but Texas will be tougher and going to West Virginia and TCU late in the year will be battles. Even so, OU will be better than everyone on its schedule, and while it might slip once, that should be it.

2. Texas
Nothing can be taken for granted after the last few seasons schedule-wise, but the Longhorns should be 3-0 against Wyoming, New Mexico, and at Ole Miss before diving into Big 12 play head first going to Oklahoma State, facing West Virginia, and trying to get past Oklahoma. Road games at Kansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State aren't that bad, and if Texas is good enough to get past the early stretch unscathed, it'll be strong enough to blow up the back half of the slate without a problem.

3. West Virginia
The Mountaineers would've won the Big East going away and would've been in the national title chase and they stuck around in their old conference, and while they'll be a player in the Big 12 race, they'll have to battle. Now they'll have to go on the road to face Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and while they'll win their share of home games against the big boys, facing Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma won't be easy.

4. Oklahoma State
Welcome to the Wes Lunt era, and while the true freshman will get a few games to figure out what he's doing against Savannah State and Louisiana-Lafayette before going to Arizona. The Cowboys will be good, but they'll take just enough of a step back to have problems at times against Texas, TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech at home and Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Baylor on the road. Fortunately, the team around Lunt will be solid – and Lunt won't be bad, either.

5. TCU
Virginia will be an interesting non-conference date, as will a home game against SMU, possibly the best team in Conference USA. Going to Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Texas in a four week span will be even rougher than it appears with the run ending with a regular season finale home game against Oklahoma. The wins are going to have to be built up over the first half of the season, but the Horned Frogs should come up with a few big wins against a league favorite or two.

6. Kansas State
Watch out for a big start with four home games in the first five, but the road date is at Oklahoma and there's a tough battle with Miami to deal with. Four road games in six weeks will make the second half rough before closing out against Texas, but two of the away dates are winnable against Iowa State and Baylor.

7. Texas Tech
Starting off 4-0 against Northwestern State, at Texas State, New Mexico, and at Iowa State is a must or else the season will be awful with so many brutal Big 12 games left to deal with. A home game against Kansas will be a late-season oasis, but it'll take a few upsets to come up with a winning season. The team should improve just enough to get there.

8. Baylor
The awful defense gets nine starters back, but that might not matter too much in a Big 12 that'll be better than ever. Road games at West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma mean there can't be any slips at home against Kansas or Kansas State, and beating Texas Tech in Arlington is a must before finishing up with Oklahoma State. If the Bears blow the opener against SMU there will be plenty of scrambling to do to get bowling.

9. Iowa State
The Cyclones always seem able to come up with a shocking performance or two out of the blue to be better than expected, but this year that might be tougher than ever with road games at Iowa, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas to likely provide a base of losses that'll be tough to get past. Opening up with Tulsa won't be a breeze, and getting Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia in Ames isn't exactly a help.

10. Kansas
Even with former Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist taking over the reins and with a better passing game sure to come, it'll take several major upsets to be within ten miles of a winning record. KU should be able to start out 2-0 against South Dakota State and Rice, but the other non-conference game is at MAC champion Northern Illinois. Iowa State on November 17th is the best possible shot at another win with a brutal Big 12 slate to deal with. Even the potentially manageable games against Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas Tech are on the road with six of the final nine games away from Lawrence.

- 2012 Big 12 Media Days The Big Questions