A Down Year on the Horizon?
It seems like every year there are one or two teams in the Big-12 that project to contend for a national title. This year, there aren’t any. Not even Oklahoma or Texas. In fact, if you ask most pundits, the Big-12 doesn’t have a top 10 team. Not one. Texas is still bringing in top 10 recruiting classes, but they aren’t developing players like they used to. The Longhorns have been down from their norm the last few years and I wouldn’t expect a much different outcome this year.
The Big-12 has lost some of the greatest quarterbacks in conference history the last two seasons – Robert Griffin III, Colin Klein, Brandon Weeden, Landry Jones, and Geno Smith. Jones graduated as Oklahoma’s all-time leading passer. And, while that wouldn’t have said much 10 years ago, it does now. Oklahoma always possesses one of the most potent passing attacks under Bob Stoops. This year, the Sooners passing game is of concern. “The Bulldozer” – Blake Bell – has been almost exclusively a short yardage “fullback” in his career, but now he might take over for the graduated Landry Jones.
For the third straight year, Texas has a quarterback controversy between David Ash and Case McCoy. Everyone in Austin has been rooting for the younger brother of Colt McCoy to win the job, but the fact remains he’s not near as good as the elder McCoy. Ash improved in his sophomore season and just might be the best quarterback returning in this league. He has improved his consistency and has a pair of quality receivers to throw to – Mike Davis and Jaxson Shipley (yes, Jordan’s younger brother).
Now for our Big-12 regular season projected final standings…
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- Iowa State
Bowl Eligible Teams: Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor
Speaking of Great Quarterbacks, Kliff Kingsbury is Back at Texas Tech…
After Tommy Tuberville pulled off one of the biggest jerk moves ever and bolted from Texas Tech to take the Cincinnati job while at dinner with Tech recruits, the Red Raiders then surprised everyone by hiring Kliff Kingsbury. It’s an interesting hire given Kingsbury only having a brief coaching career and the fact that he’s only 33 years old. But he does understand the Texas Tech culture. He’s won there as a player. He’s one of the all-time leading passers in college football history. How that will translate into winning as a coach at his alma mater is anyone’s guess.
Bill Snyder is Also Back So You Can Never Count Kansas State Out
It’s simply amazing the job Bill Snyder has done at Kansas State. We’re talking about one of the worst programs ever before Snyder took over. Now they’re a powerhouse. The Wildcats are a tough team to predict. Colin Klein is gone to the NFL so one would assume the team would regress. But, again, Bill Snyder is the coach. You simply cannot count out a team coached by the Evil Genius.
Iowa State is Iowa State, Kansas is Kansas
I know that Iowa State fans really love Paul Rhoads and think he’s going to lead them to the promise land, but let’s be honest…they’re Iowa State. They’re in the conference to serve as whipping boys for the rest of the league. Ditto for Kansas. These programs occasionally find themselves in meaningless bowl games (save for Kansas’ one fluke BCS bowl year), but they are two programs you can almost always count on to finish in the cellar.
Charlie Weis was the biggest name (and biggest, in general) coach the Jayhawks could have possibly hired in 2012. And for a program like Kansas, he’s a good fit. But they’re still Kansas. It’s a basketball school with a fan base and administration that isn’t passionate enough about football to win at a high level. Iowa State does have a passionate fan base and an administration that badly wants to win. Problem is they don’t have the resources or the tradition to compete. A good year at either school is 6 wins. Neither will achieve that level in 2013, not even in a down year for the Big-12.