The Big 12 will welcome two new entrants as TCU
and West Virginia enter the conference, but who will come out on top in a conference that includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas when all the games have been played.
Big 12 Weekly Update
By: Craig Tattan
Texas Tech –
It is not often you see a safety switch it up to become an outside linebacker but that is exactly what’s happening with former strong safety Terrance Bullitt. Bullitt was a standout last season registering 56 tackles, breaking up four passes, forcing a fumble and even blocking a kick. He earned an honorable mention from the coach’s around the conference on the All-Big 12 team. But his contributions this upcoming season should put him on the national map if he continues to progress and the switch to linebacker may magnify what a key component he is to the Red Raiders defense. But before we get too carried away, Bullitt will need to add mass to his currently undersized 206-pound frame if he is to compete against the big boys on the line.
The Sooners have high hopes heading into the 2012 season but if they are to contend as national champions then Landry Jones will be the lynchpin to that end. Jones' next start will make him the all-time leader in starts for a quarterback in school history. Jones currently has 37 starts under his belt and entering his senior year, will shatter that mark with as many as 50 when he ends his storied career at Oklahoma. Jones will be hoping that the quality of his play matches the quantity and that the Sooners will once again be the best team in Oklahoma.
Marquise Goodwin is a good football player but he's a world class track and field athlete. If you don't believe me, just ask the US Olympic Track and Field coaches. Yes, Marquise Goodwin is the newest member of the United States Track and Field team competing in the 2012 Olympics in London this summer.
The 5'9" senior caught 33 passes for over 400 yards and found the endzone twice last season. He is a vocal leader on and off the field and his presence is going to be crucial to a young stable of quarterbacks who have yet to find an identity. The Horns will return starters Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley to go along with Goodwin as their primary receivers but after that the herd gets quite a bit thinner. Sophomore Miles Onyegbule is still recovering from a torn pectoral muscle and fellow second year man John Harris is hoping to return after a broken foot. While their status is in question, Longhorn fans can be encouraged by the progress of junior DeSean Hales who has opened eyes this spring and will look to take that momentum into camp in about a month from now.
Goodwin will be away competing for his country while the Horns open camp but he won't miss more than a couple of days of practice because his competition will be over, for better or worse, on August 4th at the latest. But when he returns, perhaps he can exhibit his world class leaping ability on the gridiron and help Texas win a Big 12 title.
West Virginia -
The Mountaineers are the newcomers to the Big 12 and they will experience an immediate increase in the level of competition this season. They leave behind the Big East and step up to the major leagues of big time football schools. Geno Smith will now be dueling with the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas and the other new kid to the party, TCU. It will be interesting to see how one of the most prolific offenses in the country last season stacks up against this next level in competition but the West Virginia fans know that returning fourteen starters is a good sign that their debut in the Big 12 will be a successful one.
2012-13 Conference Odds
By: Craig Tattan
The Odds of winning the Big 12
Championship (courtesy of 5Dimes.com) –
Below is a thumbnail sketch of the BIG 12 teams and their 2011 records in parentheses.
Oklahoma Sooners (10-3)
the prohibitive favorite to reward their backers with the Big 12 championship
this season, but those who bought the hype last year were sorely
disappointed. The Sooners were not only
favored to win the conference but were also targeted as national
champions. All-time leading receiver
Ryan Broyles is now a Detroit Lion, but 23-year-old quarterback Landry Jones is
back for his senior season replete with an offensive line that is essentially
intact from last year. The Sooners will
be a contender in the conference, but beware of Jones’ propensity to string
together several great games only to lay an egg thereafter. One or two losses can be the difference
between cashing a ticket and tearing one up.
Longhorns have undergone some big changes in recent years. They went from hero to zero in one year when during the 2009 season they made it all the way to the National Championship
game only to bow to Alabama; then the following season they stumbled miserably to
a 5-7 year and dead last in the Big 12 South.
saw the exodus of head coach Mack Brown's offensive and defensive
coordinators. It was a rebuilding year
of sorts and a marked improvement from the previous season. The 'Horns platooned quarterbacks David Ash
and Case McCoy last year with mixed results. McCoy appeared to be the more consistent of the two, making fewer errors
and better decisions; whether or not that makes him a frontrunner to land
the starting position this season remains to be seen.
If McCoy is
the guy, he will need to keep pace with the high-octane offenses of the Big 12
and hope his rushing attack is as solid as it was last season. There are just too many unknowns; a Big 12 championship
would be a monumental achievement for a team year removed from a 5-7
West Conference champs decided playing a big time schedule would lead to big
time bowls, so they bolted from the MWC for a high profile conference and they
got it in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs
were 9th in the country in points scored (40.8) and 28th
in points allowed (21.5) but the knock has always been the nature of their
competition. Running it up against schools
like Air Force, Portland State and Louisiana-Monroe is one thing, but knocking
heads week after week against Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State et. al is another
Casey Pachall will now be able to showcase his talent on a much higher plane, and
we believe he will succeed. What's not so clear is how the TCU secondary
will fare against the aerial assaults that will test them on a weekly
basis. Shootouts are very much in the
TCU wheelhouse, and we think this new belle to the ball may ultimately be queen
of the prom.
West Virginia (10-3)
Mountaineers decided the Big East had lost its cache and joined fellow newcomer
TCU in the Big 12 this season. The
Mountaineers love to strike through the air, and they will have plenty of
company this season. West Virginia was
ranked 6th last season in passing (346.8) and 13th in
scoring (37.6) but it's easy to pad the stats when you drop 55 points on
Norfolk State and Connecticut as they did last season. However, the lasting impression they left was
the absolute destruction of Clemson in the Discovery Bowl when they lit up the
scoreboard to the tune of 70 points. QB
Geno Smith has the arsenal at the ready to exploit the Big 12 defenses but his
own defense may be even more susceptible than most.
Kansas State (10-3)
Kansas State a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12? Two words: Collin Klein. He is 6'5" of unbridled locomotion. Klein dropped jaws last season when he passed
for 13 touchdowns and ran for 27 more. He passed for more than 1,918 yards and ran for over eleven-hundred. And the man behind the curtain, head coach
Bill Snyder, is in his second incarnation with the team. He led the Wildcats to glory before his
retirement in 2005. But, he came back and
it appears he is once again pressing all the right buttons.
lost to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl last year but exceeded all
expectations. This year their Big 12
rivals will be targeting K State, and you can be sure Collin Klein and Bill
Snyder will be up to the task.
Oklahoma State (12-1)
reigned supreme last season as Big 12 champions and finally stepped out of the
shadows of their Bedlam Series adversaries, the Oklahoma Sooners. But this is a different season, and the roster
has changed dramatically. The two
leading men from last season's box office blockbuster, Brandon Weeden and Justin
Blackmon, have moved on to the NFL, and Oklahoma State will turn its lonely eyes to
freshman Wes Lunt, who beat out junior Clint Chelf in spring practice. Lunt will be the first true freshman to start
a season opener for OSU since the 50's. Big pressure on an unknown commodity and too many losses at key
positions will make winning a Big 12 title even more improbable than their
golden run last season.
Texas Tech (5-7)
Raiders knew what they were getting in Tommy Tuberville and they were hoping he
would turn this team from a one dimensional air raid to a multi-faceted attack
that could play rock solid defense as well. That transition hasn't happened and, with all the offseason distractions
facing Tuberville, it would be surprising to say the least if they improved
vastly upon their disappointing 5-7 season in 2011.
RG3 is off making millions in the NFL, but Baylor is hoping their unexpected
renaissance is not a fleeting moment in Big 12 history. Nick Florence is the man set to replace
Robert Griffin III, but we all know there is no replacing a transcendent
superstar who pulled Baylor from the abyss and on to the national stage. The defense will have to ramp up their game
because they will not have the luxury of watching the offense chew up bunches
of clock while they rest and relax on the sidelines, waiting their
turn. Expect a reversal of fortune this
Iowa State (6-7)
have been the consummate giant-slayers over the past three seasons. They have an extraordinary proclivity for
battling the elite teams tooth and nail but falter measurably against more
mediocre opposition. Consistency will be
the war cry this season if Iowa State is to have any chance contending for a
Big 12 championship. They are a plucky
team with a quarterback in Jared Barnett who looked solid in his appearances
last season but remember, too, this is a team with only 12 returning
starters. A bowl game, any bowl game at all, would
be a huge accomplishment here.
not only won the Big 12 last season, they came within a whisker of winning the
national championship...oh right, that was their basketball team. As far as their chances on the gridiron, not
so good. Despite the team luring
offensive guru Charlie Weiss to take the helm this season, he is captaining a
ship with too many holes and not enough power. The Jayhawks were 2-10 last season but maybe Weiss can inject an
up-tempo offense to surprise some of his adversaries this season. While it might appear that an improvement
over last season would be easy, let's not forget this is the Big 12 and nothing
Big 12 Champion Prediction: TCU +550