The Big 12 is falling apart as a conference with the news that Texas and Oklahoma will be moving into the SEC by 2025. Despite all that talk, Oklahoma (and Texas) are going to do whatever it takes to dominate the league before the move to the SEC is official.
This league is known for little to no defense but you’d be surprised at some of the top teams in the Big 12. We might get some defense this year.
I wouldn’t be a reliable college football analyst if I didn’t give out Oklahoma as the top pick in the Big 12. This is the Sooners’ league to lose. They’re bringing back quarterback Spencer Rattler who had plenty of experience last season. The expectation is that he becomes a Heisman candidate this season.
After all, Oklahoma ranked first in the Big 12 with nearly 500 yards of total offense and 43 points per game last year. To think this offense can get better is a crazy thought. But it’s true. This offense can get better. They’ll return seven starters and some players from the transfer portal that should make an immediate impact.
Rattler threw for 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions and while it would’ve been nice if he used his feet a little more like other Oklahoma quarterbacks, he still produced at a high level.
He won’t have Charleston Rambo any longer at wide receiver, as he’s off to Miami, but he’ll have plenty of other guys that can step up and produce including Marvin Mims, Theo Wease, Jadon Haselwood, and Drake Stoops. Clearly, they’re deep and will be ready to go. Oklahoma just needs two or three of those guys to break out and they’ll have themselves and a fantastic and reliable passing game.
The offensive line returns three starters along with a transfer out of Tennessee who will get the start at left tackle.
At this point in time, it’s unknown who will start at running back next to Rattler in the backfield but either way there’s two reasonable options who can both produce and co-exist. Kennedy Brooks will return to the football field after opting out of last season. In 2019, he ran for over 1,000 yards. Oklahoma also added Tennessee running back Eric Gray who ran for 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns along with 43 catches in two seasons with the Vols.
Offense is crucial, but we all know “defense wins championships!” This year, Oklahoma might have a top 10 defense in college football and it’ll easily be the best in the Big 12. This is a team that forced so many turnovers last year. They also led the Big 12 in sacks and have most of their defensive starters returning.
At this point, Oklahoma is the clear favorite to win the Big 12.
Iowa State’s going to be taking on Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship this season. Don’t go betting Texas as a long shot to win the conference. It’s not worth it. Steve Sarkisian was a solid hire for the Longhorns but that offense is going to struggle at times. Plus, both games against Oklahoma and Iowa State are on the road.
Good luck, Texas.
Iowa State will return nearly a full roster and this is a team that literally almost won the Big 12 last season. Expectations are high but it’s justified.
Brock Purdy will stick around at quarterback for the Cyclones. The man has three years of starting experience and has thrown for 9,000 yards in collegiate football with 62 touchdowns including 18 rushing.
Having Purdy under center helped the Cyclones convert n third downs while also averaging 436 yards per game and 33 points per game. Experience can only help these numbers elevate.
The offensive line of the Cyclones will also keep Purdy healthy. They’ve got two players on the line that have All-Big-12 honors and the rest of the guys on the line have potential as well. They’ll also block for an emerging running back in Breece Hall who ran for 1,572 yards last season and 21 touchdowns. Hall was talked about during the season as a Heisman candidate. That’s how good he was. With the best offensive line in the Big 12, he can repeat that type of performance.
On defense, the Cyclones will also bring back 12 of their top 15 tacklers. This was a defense that led the Big 12 against the run and allowed just 240 yards per game along with only 21 points per game. Iowa State has an elite defense.
The secondary will need to improve a little bit but they’ll hold their own. Iowa State could struggle against the wide receiver depth of Oklahoma but for the most part, they’ll make plays when they have to.
If they find themselves in the title game, the experience of this team could lead them to a Big 12 victory.