Big 12 Football Predictions 2013
Offense: Texas returns all five starting lineman from a year ago. This will be great news for Texas QB David Ash, who is coming off a fine season. Ash threw for nearly 2,700 yards and 19 touchdowns. Jonathan Gray will return in the backfield for the Longhorns, Grey rushed for 701 yards in 149 attempts. Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley provide Ash with playmaking ability on the outside. Shipley was Ash's favorite target last season, pulling in 59 catches, 6 for scores. Texas was 40th nationally in total offense a season ago, a mark they can certainly improve on this fall.
Defense: Texas returns as many players on defense as on offense. Texas had problems on defense last season, allowing nearly 30 points per game. Linebacker Steve Edmond returns as the leading tackler from 2012, Edmond finished with 103 tackles. The front 4 will have plenty of experience, with senior Jackson Jeffcoat being the anchor on the line. The secondary returns 3 starters from last season. The secondary was the only bright spot on the defense last season, finished 3rd in the BIG 12 in passing defense.
Special Teams: Nick Jordan and Nick Rose were both competing for the starting kicker spot. While Anthony Fera will handle the punting duties for Texas.
Final Thoughts: This has got to be the year for Mack Brown and the Longhorns. With so many returning starters, the BIG 12 is Texas' to win. Ash is a solid QB, and he has plenty of talent surrounding him. The offensive line is the strongest unit on the entire team. If the defense can turn things around this could be a double digit win season for Texas. They get Oklahoma State and Kansas State at home. Road trips at TCU and Baylor, could be spoilers. I think the schedule sets up well, and I believe Texas is the most talented team in the BIG 12. Texas will be back in a BCS bowl.
2) Oklahoma State
Offense: Clint Chelf and J.W Walsh both come into the season as rotating the QB position for the Cowboys. Both threw for over 1,000 yards last fall. Jeremy Smith will start at running back, Smith totaled 371 yards and 8 scores on just 70 attempts. Josh Stewart returns for the Cowboys. Stewart is a playmaker, Stewart caught 101 passes last season for over 1,200 yards. Charlie Moore adds another big time target at wideout. Oklahoma State is looking to replace a couple linemen from last season, and was dealt a big blow with an injury to tackle Devin Davis.
Defense: The defense will return 7 starters from last year’s team. Last season Oklahoma State ranked 80th nationally in total defense. The Cowboys return 3 in the secondary, which was the weakest part of the defense last season. James Castleman and Calvin Barnett are two big tackles that should help stop the run game. The linebackers are well experienced with seniors Shawn Lewis and Caleb Lavey.
Special Teams: Quinn Sharp is gone. Bobby Stonebraker will handle the kicking duties. Michael Reichenstein will punt for the Cowboys.
Final Thoughts: Oklahoma State is set well for a very good season. The offense is full of weapons and the defense has experience. The Cowboys schedule is favorable as well, with Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor and Kansas State at home. A road trip to Texas in November, could prove to be the game that decides the BIG 12 title. I like the Cowboys to finish second, behind Texas. A double digit win should be expected from this bunch.
Offense: Oklahoma returns most of the offensive playmakers from last season in 2013. Damien Williams fell just shy of 1,000 yards rushing last season, but added 11 scores. Junior Blake Bell takes over full time at quarterback, replacing Landry Jones. Bell hasn't been able to pass much in the past, but will look to impress with his passing skills this season. Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard will give Bell options at wideout. Saunders had 62 receptions in 2012. Oklahoma has the pieces in place to build on an already impressive offensive performance from a year ago.
Defense: Oklahoma is a bit more inexperienced on the defensive side, having to replace 8 starters. This is going to be a young bunch, but they are very talented. Chuka Ndulue and his 4 sacks from last season return up front. Corey Nelson will be the only returning starter at linebacker. The secondary returns corner Aaron Colvin, Colvin had 61 tackles and 4 interceptions last season.
Special Teams: Michael Hunnicutt returns as the Sooners starting kicker, Hunnicutt is a very good kicker. Jed Barnett starts the season as the Sooners starting punter.
Oklahoma has the talent to win the BIG 12, but this is a year where anything can happen in the conference. The offense should be an explosive force in the BIG 12, and the defense can certainly hold its own. Oklahoma is coming off of a 10 win season, which they can certainly repeat this season. Oklahoma travels to Notre Dame in the non-conference. They get TCU at home, before the big matchup against Texas. Oklahoma finishes with 3 of their last 4 games on the road, at Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State.
Offense: Casey Pachall returns to TCU for his senior season and to take over the starting QB job. Pachall provides the offense with a passing attack, something they lacked a year ago. Trevone Boykin may also rotate time with Pachall at QB. Waymon James is back at running back, coming off a season ending injury a year ago. These two players can make all the difference for TCU this season. Pachall will Brandon Carter and LaDarius Brown returning at WR. The offensive line will be a weak spot for TCU.
Defense: TCU was solid defensively last season, and they return most of the same players. TCU returns 9 players total from last season’s BIG 12 leading defense. The line and linebacker core returns 4 starters including Devonte Fields who recorded 10 sacks in 2012. Joel Hasley and his 79 tackles returns at linebacker. The secondary returns everyone, and will look to improve on the 4th ranked passing defense in the BIG 12 last season.
Special Teams: Jaden Oberkrom and Ethan Perry both return as kicker and punter.
Final Thoughts: TCU is going to be tough again on the defensive side of the ball. TCU will need to improve the offense to become a factor in the BIG 12 race. The schedule certainly doesn't help TCU, with road games at Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. TCU draws Texas at home, which will be a fun game to watch. TCU also opens the season against LSU in Cowboy Stadium. With Gary Patterson's coaching and the defense returning TCU should improve on the 7 wins from a year ago.
Offense: The offense will be one the most entertaining offenses to watch this season. Baylor has a pair of dynamic running backs in Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin. Seastrunk went over 1,000 yards last season, and Martin could also be a 1,000 yard back. Bryce Petty takes over at QB for Nick Florence. Petty will have Tevin Reese and his 53 catches back at receiver. Baylor will need to replace 3 starters on the offensive line.
Defense: The defense was pretty awful last season. They return 8 players this season, and will need to improve their passing defense. The Bears have 3 starters returning from the secondary, so experience could help them. The entire linebacker core returns and could help the passing game with establishing a pass rush. Bryce Hager is the leader of the defense, and he returns after 124 tackles a season ago. Defensive end Chris McAllister and his 6 sacks from last fall, also return.
Special Teams: Aaron Jones will return as the kicker for Baylor, and Spencer Roth is back at punter. The special teams unit is solid for the Bears.
Final Thoughts: Baylor will be a fun team to watch. There is always going to be question marks on the defensive side of the ball for Baylor, but the offense is one of the best in the nation. Seastrunk is a playmaker and he could be a Heisman sleeper if Baylor wins enough games. Baylor gets both Oklahoma and Texas at home this season, so they could pull off some upsets and make themselves players for a Big 12 title.
6) Kansas State
Final Thoughts: Kansas State returns 8 starters on offense. The problem is that QB Collin Klein will not be one of those returning players. Daniel Sims and Jake Waters were battling it out for the right to take over that job. John Hubert returns, and will look to eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark. Tyler Lockett comes back with 44 catches from last season. Kansas State also returns 4 starting lineman from last season. The defense isn't so lucky, as they return just 2 players from last season. Randall Evans had 76 tackles last season, playing corner. The entire front 7 will be new faces and inexperience could get the best of this defense. I feel Kansas State could do enough to make another bowl game. It's hard to count out a Bill Synder coached team, but I think it will be a down year.
7) Texas Tech
Final Thoughts: Texas Tech has a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury. Texas Tech should be explosive on offense, with 7 returning starters. Michael Brewer and Davis Webb were both competing for the quarterback job. Kenny Williams rushed for over 800 yards last season and Eric Ward will be a big time target coming off of a 1,000 yard receiving year. The defense returns most of the unit from last fall. The defense was solid against the pass, leading the BIG 12. They have to replace all but one player from the secondary. The defense will return all the lineman and linebackers from last season’s team, making them a dangerous unit. I like the Red Raiders this season, but the BIG 12 may be at its strongest in years. Texas Tech should reach a bowl game again.
8) Iowa State
Final Thoughts: Iowa State returns QB Sam Richardson and RB James White this season. Both players will have to play well for Iowa State to get this team in position for a bowl game. Aaron Wimberly could be a major factor this season as well. The offense also returns 3 starting lineman from last fall, so there is room for improvement. The defense only has a handful of players returning. The defense wasn't great last season, so there is really no reason to expect it will be this year. The line is returning only one starter, and same with the linebackers. Jeremiah George is a playmaker. The secondary is the most experienced unit on the entire team. I think Iowa State has a chance to get 6 wins but it will be a tough task.
9) West Virginia
Final Thoughts: West Virginia comes into the new year with question marks on the offensive side of the ball. The Mountaineers lost most the talent from last season’s top 10 total offense in the nation. Andrew Buie returns this season, Buie rushed for 851 yards last season. West Virginia only has 3 returning starters on last season on offense. On the defensive side of the ball they will return 6 starters. This is the same defense that gave up over 38 points per game last season. Isaiah Bruce was a bright spot last season with 94 tackles as a freshman. I think it will be a rebuilding year for the Mountaineers, as they will end up near the bottom of the Big 12. Even a bowl game this season could be a stretch.
Final Thoughts: It's going to be another tough year for Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawks. Jake Heaps is worth watching to see how the BYU transfer does for Kansas. Florida transfer Chris Martin is another player to watch on the other side of the ball. James Sims rushed for over 1,000 yards last senior, Sims is one of only a couple of returning starters for Kansas on offense. Weis will be counting on transfer players to get them out of the bottom of the BIG 12. Kansas was winless in conference play last year and that could be repeated this season. Home games against Texas Tech and West Virginia may be their best chances at a W in conference play.