Shocker…an Oklahoma school was picked to win the conference by Big 12 media again this year. Unlike last year though, this year’s expected champs are the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.
When looking at the Big 12, there’s the Sooners who upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Texas Tech who started off 7-0 before losing five straight prior to upsetting Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, a Baylor team that won it’s first conference title and then was upset by Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl, Kansas State who won the conference in 2012, Texas who replaced Mack Brown who retired after losing to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl with Charlie Strong, TCU who missed a bowl game for the first time in what seems to be a long time under Gary Patterson, Oklahoma State who failed to clinch the conference against OU, and West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas who combined for a dismal .278 win percentage in 2013.
The 2014 season shouldn’t see much change in the order of power. The game most affecting the Big 12 Championship will be in Norman, Okla. on Nov. 8 between Baylor and Oklahoma. If the winner of this game can remain unblemished – remember, Oklahoma State also was upset to start Big 12 play at West Virginia – then they could be looking at a spot in the top four national rankings and a berth to the inaugural CFB Playoff.
My projected Big 12 Standings:
3) Oklahoma State
4) Texas Tech
6) Kansas State
8) West Virginia
9) Iowa State
There will be several game played by Big 12 teams this year, including Aug. 30 in Arlington, Texas between Oklahoma State and defending National Champion Florida State on ABC in primetime. Other key games include:
Aug. 30 – West Virginia vs. Alabama (Atlanta, Ga.) – How much have the Mountaineers matured?
Sept. 25 – Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State – Big 12 opener for both teams on ESPN Thursday Night. OSU has won five straight against Tech and has not finished lower than 3rd in Big 12 since 2008.
Oct. 4 – Baylor @ Texas – The Longhorns will look to tarnish Baylor’s record and try to claim the conference for themselves.
Oct. 11 – Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas, Texas) – The Sooners will try to stay perfect and avenge last year’s embarrassment at the hands of Texas.
Nov. 8 – Baylor @ Oklahoma – Essentially the Big 12 Championship Game
Nov. 15 – Texas @ Oklahoma State – This game could potentially affect bowl seeding out of the Big 12.
There are a couple of players that could be likely candidates for Big 12 Player of the Year, with the winner likely to come from the conference champion. Some players on my watch list include:
Trevor Knight – Oklahoma, QB
Bryce Petty – Baylor, QB
James Castleman – Oklahoma State, DT
Jakeem Grant – Texas Tech, WR
Malcolm Brown – Texas, RB
The 2014 season should be able to provide plenty of excitement in the Big 12. We will begin to find out on Aug. 30.