It’s never too early to talk about college football, right? For the next few weeks, we will stir up the college football discussion with some “way too early” predictions. This will range from the Sooners to the national landscape of college football as we head in to the final year of the BCS era.
Today we look at the Big 12 title contenders of 2013. The trophy is up for grabs like never before with no unanimous favorite. However, there are a few teams you can expect to be in the hunt in November, while others are trying to salvage their season by playing spoiler.
Texas Christian Horned Frogs. The Big 12 newcomers did not make the immediate impact they had hoped for in their inaugural Big 12 seasons, but while West Virginia will try to piece together what went wrong in 2012, TCU will be looking for a conference championship. The Horned Frogs bring back a stacked defense, which includes the Big 12′s Freshman Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields. Also, the Frogs will have Casey Pachall back in the fold, but it is unclear whether Pachall or if Trevone Boykin will start at quarterback. Their schedule includes some tough road trips to Norman, Stillwater, Lubbock, and Manhattan. Also, TCU will be challenged the first week of the season against the LSU Tigers inside Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. The Frogs have a legitimate shot at bring home the hardware next season, especially with a solid coach in Gary Patterson.
Oklahoma State Cowboys. Most teams struggle to find that one guy at quarterback. Texas tried going with a two quarterback system, which failed. However, Gundy has three quarterbacks capable of starting. They all return next season, and all eclipsed 1,000 passing yards this past season. Oklahoma State lost their star tailback Joseph Randle to the NFL Draft, but the Pokes should be fine on offense, as well as on defense. They bring back DT Calvin Barnett, who will be one of the leaders of this squad in 2013. Their schedule includes possible tough road trips in Lubbock and Austin, but the Cowboys will get to host Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas State, Kansas, and Baylor. This team has the potential to have lots of success, and with Gundy staying put in Stillwater, Oklahoma State has a chance to capture its second Big 12 title in school history.
Oklahoma Sooners. It will be an interesting 2013 season for Bob Stoops. The Sooners will be not be heavy favorites to win the conference by any means, however, this team will win a few ball games through their offense. Whoever is named the starting quarterback will have plenty of weapons at receiver and loaded stable of running backs, as well as Trey Millard. The defense will struggle this season with plenty of guys being replaced, but the Sooners do get back Aaron Colvin, who considered skipping his last season at Oklahoma. OU’s out-of-conference will show how tough this team is early in the year, and things do not get easy travelling to Stillwater, Manhattan, Waco, and the big one in Dallas. OU will have to fight and scratch for every victory, and are only up here, because of the offense they return.
The Dark Horses:
Texas Longhorns. Mack has to get back to winning one of these days, right? Texas has been down for a few years, but they return the Big 12′s “most-seasoned” quarterback in David Ash. He will need to take care of business under center if the Horns want to contend, but a huge concern is whether the Horns can improve their line play. They will have to give time for Ash, or this could be another rocky year for the burnt orange. As of right now, they have an outside shot, but until they can prove “they are back,” it is hard to put Texas as a favorite.
Baylor Bears. I said it last season, and I will say it again this season, do not be surprised when Baylor does good things under Art Briles. Even after Robert Griffin III left, this team was still one to be reckoned with, and I would not be surprised to see Lache Seastrunk wreak havoc in the Big 12 in 2013. He is a serious candidate for the nation’s best running back, and possibly an outside shot at a Heisman. The Bears are a team on the rise, and they will give problems to teams once again this next season.