This season is going to be special. 2017 will feature the return of the Big 12 Championship game, for better or for worse. So who might play for the title? Well, football is still months away and no one has played a lick of anything, but hey, why let that keep us from making some way, way too early predictions?
Oklahoma vs West Virginia, because the Big 12 thinks it’ll be OU vs OSU again, and to avoid back-to-back games they moved OU-OSU to the middle of the season. I think the bad karma this conference has will result in a back-to-back game anyway.
I like Oklahoma and K-State.
I like OU because the defense continued to get better last year as the season progressed. I think that carries over into 2017. I also like the O-line they are bringing back. That is going to take a lot of pressure off Mayfield, especially early as they find one or two go-to receivers..
As far as Kansas State, I just do not see a lot of holes on the roster. Plus, everybody seems to think that this is Snyder’s last rodeo. I think these guys would literally run through a brick wall to have him go out as Big 12 champ and possibly more.
Oklahoma State is going to be good on offense. That defense though, even with the grad-transfers, scares me. But for me, the bigger deal is the mental block that has been the OU game. Gundy has beat the Sooners just twice. One of those wins was because Stoops decided to re-punt the ball to the most dangerous punt returner I have ever seen. I think Bedlam will decide who plays for the championship, but OSU will have to show up and prove it.
Let’s go through the process of elimination here, and rule out the obvious first. It is not going to Kansas, Iowa Sate, Baylor, or Texas Tech.
This takes us the middle of the conference in TCU, UT, and West Virginia. In short on I’m selling my Frog Stock. The TCU spring game created more questions than it answered and they are still without a proven product at QB. I know there are people who will want to say that Texas is back, and its tempting to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Texas succeed, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them struggle. WVU is a dark horse, but they have lost a fair amount of offensive production, and until we see Will Grier deliver, there isn’t a proven option at QB. Their schedule could also be more favorable.
This brings up Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is not going to play in the revived Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma State is going to knock them out of it in the Bedlam game. This will give OU one more loss than K-State, which will pave the pave the way for the Wildcats to play the Cowboys in the Big 12 Championship. K-State quietly had a 9 win season last year and they have been the picture of consistency. Smart, disciplined, Snyder football is going to win more than it losses. They get the meat of the Big 12 at home as well.
Oklahoma State might just mess around and go on a 2011-esque run. Keep this in mind, OK State was a 10 win team last year and they were a couple of fumbles against Baylor and a miracle play against CMU away from being a 1 loss team in 2016.
Man, this is so hard, my head hurts. First, I think OU has the best team and more importantly, the switch to the 4-3 will improve their defense. In addition, I think they have the most favorable schedule. Their only back-to-back stretch of tight games is versus Texas and then at Kansas State on October 14 and October 21, respectively.
The second slot is very difficult to predict. K-State has the most favorable schedule of the contenders. They catch Texas the week before OU, and OU the week after Texas. That could be bad, but could be the best time to catch both teams. They get space between WVU and OSU and are a part of the brutal stretches for both. I don’t think they are the second best team, but they are good enough to take advantage of the most favorable schedule.
That is my best guess. If ISU or Tech, or both, get 4 league wins, then one or a couple of the contenders will pay the price. If Texas corrects a few things, they will knock off someone too. This is a year the Big 12 needs a playoff spot, but I fear they will feast on each other.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have become the early favorites, but they both won’t make the championship game. K-State didn’t garner the attention that OSU and OU have this spring, but that does not make them any less of a contender. In fact, it may work to their favor to stay underrated and under the radar.
Like Jay, I believe it’s going to come down to schedule, but unlike Jay, I don’t think the Sooner’s is favorable at all. It’s clear that Tom Herman is going to bring the fight to OU in the Red River Showdown, and I expect OU will be equally as focused as they look to show Texas exactly how far they still have to climb before they are “back”. Having to go to Manhattan the very next week is pretty much a worst-case scenario. K-State is always gritty game, and they will make it a knock-down, drag-out fight. Combine that with they expectations for K-State, and give me the Wildcats in that one.
The Sooners also travel to Stillwater this year, and this season has a distinct 2011 feeling for the Cowboys. While Gundy hasn’t fared well against Stoops, in 2011 the Cowboys handled OU 44-10 at home.
So here is my scenario. At the end of the season Oklahoma State is a 1-loss team or better. Oklahoma and Kansas State are tied with two losses, each. Oklahoma’s losses to OSU and K-State, and the Wildcat’s losses to Oklahoma State and either Texas, West Virginia or TCU. If that happens, then the Sooners would be left out, as K-State would have the heads-up tie-breaker.