Oklahoma football: Projecting the expanded 2023 Big 12 football order of finish

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Big 12 conference logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Big 12 conference logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

In the next few days, the Big 12 will be issuing its 2023 Preseason Football Poll, which has been dominated during the past decade by the Oklahoma football program.

Before last year’s annual preseason media poll, the Sooners had been voted the preseason favorite in the six previous polls and seven of the last 10. In short order we will find out who the media representatives who follow and report on Big 12 football believe is the team to beat this season as well as the primary challengers.

In the meantime, yours truly has done his own assessment of how the Big 12 season will play out, which this year includes four new conference members. Fourteen teams will play a total of 105 regular-season games. I have examined all 105 games, including 63 conference matchups, and come up with a preseason projection of what the final conference standings could look like.

Spoiler alert: Texas and Oklahoma will spend their final season in the Big 12, sending a parting message that will most likely be viewed as disrespectful by the rest of league: A one-two conference finish and a Red River Showdown for the Big 12 Championship.

I project the Sooners to reach the 10-win level as Brent Venables predicted and because, as the OU head coach also predicted, of an improved defense. OU will be 5-0 heading into the annual Red River rivalry game with Texas, but the Sooners will lose to the Longhorns for a second straight season, although by a much closer margin than last year’s 49-0 blowout. The Sooner will lose just one more in the regular season, to Oklahoma State in what could be the final Bedlam game for a while.

Here is how I project the 2023 Big 12 football final standings (ties have been decided by tiebreaking rules):

                                                         Conference Games Only        All Games

1. Texas Longhorns                                       8-1                                     10-2

2. Oklahoma Sooners                                  7-2                                      10-2

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys                     6-3                                        8-4

4. Kansas State Wildcats                           6-3                                        8-4

5. TCU Horned Frogs                                   5-4                                       8-4

6. Baylor Bears                                             5-4                                       7-5

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders                         5-4                                       7-5

8. BYU Cougars                                            4-5                                       7-5

9. Cincinnati Bearcats                                4-5                                       5-7

10. UCF Knights                                          4-5                                       6-6

11. Iowa State Cyclones                           3-6                                       5-7

12. Kansas Jayhawks                                3-6                                       5-7

13. Houston Cougars                                3-6                                       4-8

14. West Virginia Mountaineers            2-7                                       3-9

Texas (10-2, 8-1)

Wins: Rice, Wyoming, @Baylor, Kansas, OU in Dallas, @Houston, BYU, Kansas State, @Iowa State, Texas Tech

Losses: @Alabama, @TCU

Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2)

Wins: Central Arkansas, SMU, @Tulsa, @Cincinnati, @Iowa State, UCF, @Kansas, @West Virginia, @BYU, TCU

Losses: Texas in Dallas, @Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State (8-4, 6-3)

Wins: Central Arkansas, South Alabama, Kansas State, Kansas, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, @Houston, BYU

Losses: @Arizona State, @Iowa State, @West Virginia, @UCF

Kansas State (8-4, 6-3)

Wins: Southeast Missouri State, Troy, UCF, TCU, Houston, Baylor, @Kansas, Iowa State

Losses: @Missouri, @Oklahoma State, @Texas Tech, @Texas

TCU (8-4, 5-4)

Wins: Colorado, Nichols State, @Houston, SMU, West Virginia, BYU, Texas. Baylor

Losses: @Iowa State, @Kansas State, @Texas Tech, @Oklahoma

Baylor (7-5, 5-4)

Wins: Texas State, Long Island, Texas Tech, @Cincinnati, Iowa State, Houston, West Virginia

Losses: Utah, Texas, @UCF, @Kansas State, @TCU

Texas Tech (7-5, 5-4)

Wins: @Wyoming, Tarleton State, @West Virginia, Houston, Kansas State, TCU, UCF

Losses: Oregon, @Baylor, @BYU, @Kansas, @Texas

BYU (6-6, 4-5)

Wins: Sam Houston, Southern Utah, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, @West Virginia, Iowa State

Losses: @Arkansas, @Kansas, @TCU, @Texas, Oklahoma, @Oklahoma State

Cincinnati (5-7, 4-5)

Wins: Eastern Kentucky, Iowa State, UCF, Houston, Kansas

Losses: Pittsburgh, Miami (Ohio), Oklahoma, @BYU, Baylor, @Oklahoma State, @West Virginia

UCF (6-6, 4-5)

Wins: Kent State, Villanova, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Houston

Losses: @Boise State, @Kansas State, @Kansas, @Oklahoma, @Cincinnati, @ Texas Tech

Iowa State (5-7, 3-6)

Wins: Northern Iowa, @Ohio, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas

Losses: Iowa, @Oklahoma, @Cincinnati, @Baylor, @BYU, Texas, @Kansas State

Kansas (5-7, 3-6)

Wins: Missouri State, Nevada, BYU, UCF, Texas Tech

Losses: Illinois, @Texas, @Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, @Iowa State, Kansas State, @Cincinnati

Houston (4-8, 3-6)

Wins: University of Texas-San Antonio, Rice, Sam Houston, West Virginia

Losses: TCU, @Texas Tech, Texas, @Kansas State, @Baylor, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, @UCF

West Virginia (3-9, 2-7)

Wins: Duquense, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati

Losses: @Penn State, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, @TCU, @Houston, @UCF, BYU, @Oklahoma, @Baylor