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2021 Big 12 Football Preview


Predicted Order of Finish


1. Iowa State- the primary goal for HC Matt Campbell and the Cyclones may be a Big 12 title but with the talent returning a trip to the College Football Playoff is certainly within reach, first team All-Big 12 QB Brock Purdy is back for a fourth year, star RB Breece Hall who rushed for 1,572 yards also returns along with all 5 O-Linemen, the defense is loaded for bear with 9 returning starters that include reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year linebacker Mike Rose


2. Oklahoma- HC Lincoln Riley knows how to coach offense, but adding coordinator Alex Grinch to the staff 2 years ago has brought credibility to the defensive side of the ball, the defense returns 9 starters from a unit that finished 9th nationally in rushing yards allowed and 29 in scoring defense , QB Spencer Rattler may not be Baker Mayfield or Kyle Murray yet but showed great improvement throughout his first season specifically cutting down the interception, the schedule doesn’t do any favors, the Sooners host Iowa State on November 20th, travel to Stillwater the following week, and then likely the Big 12 Championship the week after that


3. Oklahoma St- HC Mike Gundy enters his 17th season in Stillwater, after posting 6 double digit win seasons from 2010-2017 the Cowboys have failed to reach at least 10 wins the past 3 leaving some fans wondering if the ceiling has been reached, Veteran QB Spencer Saunders is back but the offense lost RB Chuba Hubbard and receivers Tylan Wallace, Dylan Stone, and Landon Wolf, the defense a liability at times under Gundy continues to improve under coordinator Jim Knowles finishing 34th nationally in scoring defense in 2020


4. TCU- For years the Horned Frogs dominated Conference USA and the Mountain West under HC Coach Gary Patterson, however since moving to the Big 12 the team has been unable to sustain success and remain at fixture at the top of Big 12 standings, the defense in 2020 was good but not as suffocating as its been in past years under Patterson, linebacker Garrett Wallow along with a pair of safeties in the secondary are gone leaving holes to fill, there is plenty of optimism of offense, QB Max Duggan a threat with his arm and legs returns along with a talented receiving corps


5. Kansas St- last year was a step back finishing 4-6 and losing its final five games, the Wildcats come into this season flying under the radar which historically is exactly where they want to be, senior QB Skylar Thompson returns after suffering a season ending shoulder injury in 2020, he will face competition from Will Howard, and prized recruit Jake Rubley, the defense has big questions specifically the front seven, top pass rusher Wyatt Hubert left for NFL and all three linebackers will be new faces, HC Chris Klieman won 4 FCS National Championships in 5 years at North Dakota St and would not bet against him righting the ship in 2021


6. Texas- Former HC Tom Herman is gone and in comes Steve Sarkisian, “Sark” played a major role in Alabama’s success last season serving as the O coordinator and will have to rely on his offensive expertise to break in a new QB with the departure of Sam Ehlinger, Sarkisian made a solid move to bring in Pete Kwiatkowski who had successful stints at Boise St and Washington serving as D coordinator under Chris Petersen


7. WVU- defense was the Mountaineers biggest strength in 2020, the unit led the country in pass yards allowed and finished 21 in scoring defense, big holes must be filled however with 5 starters gone from last year including All-American Darius Stills up front, QB Jarret Doege returns after throwing for just under 260 yards per game and 14 touchdowns passes a year ago but must receive better protection from the O-Line


8. Texas Tech- HC Matt Wells enters his 3 season in Lubbock after posting a 8-14 record in his first 2, Oregon transfer and former four star QB recruit Tyler Shough is expected to start, Shough helped lead the Ducks to a Pac 12 Championship throwing 13 touchdown passes in just 7 games, the defense gave up its fair share of points and yards in 2020 but returns 8 veteran starters, the schedule is advantageous with 3 winnable games to start the year, getting back to a bowl would be job “Wells” done


9. Baylor- it took HC Dave Aranda all but one year to give back all the progress made under former HC Matt Rhule, after winning 11 games in 2019 under Rhule the Bears were in free fall mode for most of 2020, it wasn’t like the cupboard was bare with either with longtime QB Charlie Brewer running the offense, the good news is 10 starters return from a defense that was a least somewhat respectable, the team travels to Kansas on September 18th in a game that should decide who stays out of the Big 12 basement


10. Kansas- Lance Leipold takes over the dumpster fire that was the Les Miles era in Lawrence, Leipold had success at Buffalo but so did Turner Gill and how did that turn out for Jayhawk fans, it will take Leipold at least a couple years to clean up the mess


Buy-Kansas St

Sell-Texas


Best Bet- Texas UNDER total wins


Coach of the Year- Matt Campbell Iowa St

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