2016 Big 12 Preview

Submitted by Alex Cook on July 28th, 2016 at 2:42 PM

baker mayfield

Star Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield could lead the Sooners back to the playoff

Previously: Pac-12 North, Pac-12 South, ACC Coastal (and Notre Dame), ACC Atlantic

I wrote about the Big 12 and its possible future expansion last week, and while that stuff is compelling in terms of the long-term impact on certain programs, the games themselves are why we follow the sport. Regardless of what may or may not happen with Houston, BYU, Cincinnati, etc., there’s still football to be played on the field, and thank goodness for that.

2015 big 12 standings

In 2015, Oklahoma withstood a bizarre upset at the hands of Texas and eventually won the conference outright, becoming the first Big 12 team to make the playoff in its brief history. TCU and Baylor had been expected to duel it out at the top again, but the injury bug struck both teams – Baylor was playing a WR as a wildcat QB because they didn’t have any left, TCU lost tons of players on the defensive side of the ball. Oklahoma State bounced back nicely from a down year and won their first ten games before losing their last three (which were their three toughest). Texas didn’t take a step forward and Charlie Strong now sits at 11-14 overall in Austin, squarely on the proverbial hot seat. The Dana Holgerson era in West Virginia might have already stalled as well.

The Big 12 is sort of expected to play out much like it did last year: Oklahoma is the favorite, returning quite a bit of a potent offense, while Oklahoma State, TCU, and Baylor are expected to challenge the Sooners – though Baylor has been thrown into turmoil because of unreported sexual assault claims (they already fired Art Briles, the only great football coach they’ve ever had because of his role in the scandal). Some team will probably surge forward from the middle of the pack, but each have unresolved questions that could submarine their seasons. Predicting history to repeat itself in a sport as volatile as college football is a fool’s errand, but that might be what it looks like on paper.

[Team previews after the JUMP]

samaje perine

RB Samaje Perine holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a game

Oklahoma

Bob Stoops shuffled the deck a little bit after suffering a disappointing five loss season in 2015; new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley struck gold with Baker Mayfield (and his connection with then-senior WR Sterling Shepherd) and things clicked for Oklahoma again. Ultimately a not-that-competitive loss in the playoff semifinal to Clemson was a disappointing end to the season, but the Sooners were playing as well as anyone in November and had – by all reasonable measures – what amounted to a pretty successful year in Norman. With the experience returning on both sides of the ball, OU should again contend for a playoff bid, but this time their merits will be determined fairly early: they play at Houston (in the Texans’ stadium) to open the year, host Ohio State, and travel to TCU within the first month of the season (the game against TCU is technically on October 1st).

While Oklahoma does have some substantial personnel losses, quarterback Baker Mayfield should ease the transition. The former Texas Tech Red Raider transferred within the conference and had a surprising debut season for his new school – 3,700 yards passing and 36 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions is impressive enough, but they came with 405 rushing yards (including sacks) and 7 more touchdowns on the ground. He thrived in Riley’s wide-open, pass-happy offense, and even though he’s breaking in some new receivers, Dede Westbrook has the look of a guy who could possibly replace former #1 target Shepherd. They have the luxury of having two great running backs in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon – Perine is a strong, capable workhorse back who’s put up gaudy numbers in Norman, Mixon would start for most teams in college football. OU does replace two key interior linemen, but returns two promising, young starting tackles.

The defense is less certain. Several cornerstones of a very good pass defense – edge rushers Charles Tapper and Eric Striker (who combined for 29 TFL and 14.5 sacks last year), and Zack Sanchez, a multi-year starter who had 7 interceptions at corner in 2015) – have departed, leaving Oklahoma likely to have a much less fearsome pass rush than they did a year ago. That should produce ripple effects over the rest of the defense, which will be forced to play some inexperienced linebackers. The defensive tackle tandem of Charles Walker and Matt Dimon is very solid – the strength of the Sooner defense – and they should be able to hold up decently against the run. The secondary returns almost everybody outside of Sanchez, though they’ll be leaned on more heavily unless a legitimate pass rush option emerges.

As long as Mayfield is playing, OU will be an extremely tough out. Even if the defense can’t quite get it together right away, which is a distinct possibility, they have to avoid getting run off the field by one of the high-powered offenses they face early in the year. Still, the Sooners will likely have one of the best offenses in college football, and that’s a great place to start if you’re gunning for a Big 12 title. Oklahoma really challenged itself with its non-conference schedule in 2016, so it would be quite a feat to match last year’s one-loss regular season. If they make it through that tough first month unscathed, they’ll be on the fast-track to a consecutive playoff bid.

travin howard

Former safety Travin Howard was forced to move to linebacker, where he excelled

TCU

In TCU’s first two seasons in the Big 12, they went a combined 11-14 and Gary Patterson, who’s one of the longest-tenured coaches in the country at this point, hired two new offensive co-coordinators – Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie – to build an offense to complement his typically stingy signature 4-2-5 defense. The move worked out wonderfully: they almost (and arguably should have) come out of nowhere to get a playoff bid in 2014 and posted a combined 23-3 record in the past two seasons combined. Considering that Patterson led TCU to eight double-digit win seasons (and an undefeated 2010 with a Rose Bowl win) before entering the Big 12, it almost feels like he picked up where he left off after that early transitional blip.

While the Frogs ultimately fell short of very lofty aspirations in 2015, they still finished just a game behind Oklahoma – after losing a late-season heartbreaker in Norman (TCU came down from 30-13 to get it to 30-29 with a two-point conversion pending in the last minute, and didn’t get it). According to Wikipedia, they played without star QB Trevone Boykin and star WR Josh Doctson as well as “4 of their 6 top wide receivers, 2 of their 6 top offensive linemen, one starting defensive end, two starting linebackers, their starting free safety, one starting cornerback, and their starting long snapper. Additional early-season losses had also depleted the Frogs' depth.” Their injury luck pretty much killed any shot they had of following up that stellar 2014 season with an even better one.

They kept Meacham and Cumbie, which is pretty important considering the turnover on the offensive side of the ball. Their top three skill position players – dynamic QB Trevone Boykin, solid RB Aaron Green, and electric WR Josh Doctson – are gone, as well as four starting offensive linemen, three of whom earned some form of All-Conference honors. They add former Texas A&M starting QB and erstwhile September Heisman winner Kenny “Trill” Hill and the fit should be great, as Hill can add a nice complement to the running backs much like Boykin did. TCU, like many others in the conference, loves to air it out, and their best receiving option might be sophomore slot KaVonte Turpin. Of course, the offensive line needs to answer its many questions, though they do return two tackles with starting experience (RT Aviante Collins started mostly back in 2012 and 2013 before being beaten out).

The defense should be great. The silver lining of last year’s spate of injuries is that the Frogs have experience across the two-deep at most positions – they have two defensive ends in Josh Carraway and James McFarland that can harass the passer, they have a ton of linebackers to fit in that 4-2-5, and they have seasoned players as the box safeties and corners. The defense had some terrible games last year – conceded 52 to Texas Tech, 49 to Oklahoma State, 45 to Kansas State, and 41 to Oregon – but TCU won three of those four. TCU will likely flip from having an offense to having a better defense, but if Hill excels in his new setting, they’ll probably be in the playoff conversation. A week two game against Arkansas – a great matchup – should be a valuable litmus test.

mike gundy

“I’m a man! I’m [now forty-eight]!”

Oklahoma State

Dyed-in-the-wool Oklahoma State Man* Mike Gundy is entering his twelfth season as the head man in Stillwater – he continued Les Miles’s program-building and has established OSU as something more substantial than they’ve been for most of their football history. It seemed as if his breakthrough – a conference title in 2011, a year in which Oklahoma State was passed over for the SEC’s second-best team in the BCS title game – was in the rearview mirror: the Cowboys went a combined 25-14 from 2012-2014, good, but below Gundy’s standard. They rebounded nicely for an unexpected runner-up season in the Big 12 in 2015 and earned a New Year’s Six bowl appearance, although they were smoked by hated rival Oklahoma in the season finale and then smoked again by Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. Still, 2015 was definitely a step in the right direction and an affirmation that Gundy gets [goat emoji] status in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State deployed a quarterback tandem last season: essentially Mason Rudolph threw the ball, and J.W. Walsh was a dual threat (13 touchdowns passing, 13 touchdowns rushing). Since Walsh was such an integral piece of the running game – and since he graduated, leaving Rudolph as the clear-cut #1 – it’s easy to project Oklahoma State as an extremely pass-heavy team (the run offense was terrible), especially with the lack of proven running back options. Barry Sanders Jr. didn’t make much of an impact in his four years at Stanford, but he was stuck behind Christian McCaffery and other good backs for most of his career. Two of the three most heavily-targeted receivers will be back, and James Washington and Marcell Ateman could be the best receiver tandem in the conference. With a very experienced offensive line, Oklahoma State might be even better on offense this year, though Walsh is a big loss in terms of dynamic playmaking.

All-American pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah (and valuable complement bookend Jimmy Bean) are gone to the NFL, so the strength of what was OSU defense’s best attribute by a wide margin – their ability to pressure the QB – will be greatly diminished. DT Vincent Taylor got decent numbers for the position, but the attention given to Ogbah probably helped him a ton. The good news is that most of the rest of the defense is back, so if the Cowboy’s can improve on the back end, they shouldn’t have much of a drop-off in sum. LB Jordan Burton and safeties Jordan Sterns and Tre Flowers were the most productive back seven players for Oklahoma State last season. OSU faces Pitt and Baylor in weeks three and four so they likely won’t be ripping off a 10-0 start to the season again, but they should be hanging around the Big 12 race until the Bedlam game in December against OU.

*Do other schools do this too?

kd cannon

The explosive KD Cannon will see plenty of targets as Baylor’s #1 receiver

Baylor

At Baylor, football seems secondary to larger issues. Over the last few months, as a particularly disturbing sexual assault cover-up scandal emerged, the university president and athletic director were removed, as was Art Briles – the coach who’d carried Baylor to its greatest heights on the field and evidently didn’t take sexual assault claims seriously enough off the field. It’s not within the NCAA’s scope of limited powers to punish Baylor for its transgressions, so the show must go on for a team that was projected to be the most serious challenger to Oklahoma before the fallout from the Hamilton report. Jim Grobe – the former longtime Wake Forest coach – is in as the interim head coach and he retains his assistant coaching staff (though if they’ll be around for more than this upcoming season is still an open question). Much of the incoming freshman class fled to other schools. Some players have transferred out. Baylor seemed like a pretty stable program before all of this came to light, but now their future is obviously quite uncertain.

Last season seems like a distant memory, but it wasn’t a pleasant one for Baylor – they suffered a ton of injuries, particularly at quarterback, and wound up finishing 10-3, which was somewhat short of expectations. If the offense can stay healthy this season, it will be potent: Seth Russell was putting up video game numbers early on before suffering a neck injury, Shock Linwood is probably the best running back behind Perine in the Big 12 and his backup Johnny Jefferson is a great complement, and even though sensational receiver Corey Coleman is gone to the NFL, K.D. Cannon will surely provide some of the game-breaking ability at receiver. Even though offense was Briles’s background, his son Kendal is still the offensive coordinator, so there should be continuity there. The most uncertain element of the offense is the line, where there will be four new starters.

The Bears’ cornerstone on defense was an amazing nose tackle, Andrew Billings, and he’s now off to the NFL. There’s not much experience up front, which could prove to be a huge problem with the amount of snaps each defensive lineman will likely be playing. Baylor’s defense has improved over the last couple years from really terrible to pretty decent, and the secondary should be a strength in their 4-2-5 alignment. If the defensive line can hold up against the run and generate a pass rush (big ifs), Baylor could very well be in for a Big 12 title run – their offense should be great again, and they have enough playmakers at the second level of the defense (linebackers and box safeties) to get the ball back to that high-powered offense. The scope and magnitude of the scandal is what should be getting our attention, but Baylor could have an underrated team on the field.

charlie strong

The Rich Rodriguez parallels with the Charlie Strong era are too strong to ignore

Texas

After going 23-3 over two seasons at Louisville, Charlie Strong was one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country; eventually he took one of the elite jobs in college football – though he might have severely underestimated the comprehensiveness of the rebuilding process. In his two seasons at Texas, the Longhorns have gone 11-14 and the inevitable “hot seat” talk swirls incessantly around Strong. It’s been a disappointing tenure thus far – with severe dysfunction on the side of the ball opposite Strong’s expertise – but he’s a good coach and could salvage things. If every blue-blood program goes through their down cycles, Texas is going through one right now.

Strong isn’t to blame for all of it, but if there isn’t significant improvement this year, it wouldn’t be a shock to have them fire Strong and set up a successor with a much better roster in 2017 than there’s been in Austin in a little while now. Not taking a meaningful step forward in year two is what leaves him in this position. 2015 was a bizarre year for Texas: they gave Oklahoma their only regular season loss and they beat Baylor (who was down to a WR at QB because of injury, but still); they narrowly lost two shootouts at home to Cal and Texas Tech; they were obliterated by Notre Dame, TCU, and Iowa State(!) by a combined score of 112-10. They finished 5-7 and didn’t get invited to a bowl game.

Fixing the disastrous offense will require finding a quarterback: the candidates are Jerod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes, big dual-threat QBs with some experience, and true freshman Shane Buechele – that Buechele could very well win the job should tell you a lot about Heard and Swoopes. A new offensive coordinator, one of many in Strong’s tenure, should improve things, because it was pretty terrible last year. An inexperienced defense was so-so last year and while there are a few notable losses, there are some young returning starters who could potentially develop into stars in time – like sophomore LB Malik Jefferson. With Notre Dame on the schedule again, Texas will have a season opener that should tell us a lot about Texas – last year, it portended doom. Since they also face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in consecutive weeks to open Big 12 play, the offense needs to improve quickly.

 Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Predictably, Texas Tech has a QB (Patrick Mahomes) that can really sling it

Texas Tech

SBN Nation’s Ryan Nanni recently called Indiana “Texas Tech with a puffy coat” and since a Big Ten fan is probably more familiar with Indiana’s insane, pants-on-fire brand of great, open offense and no defense whatsoever, it’s an accurate comparison. Texas Tech went 7-6 in 2015 and the point totals surrendered in losses were absurd: 55, 63, 63, 70, 31 (great job), and 56. Granted, Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid rung up some numbers as well, but a defense as poor as last season’s is simply untenable for a team aspiring for more than a middle of the pack finish. They have a new defensive coordinator and even though they’re replacing a lot in the front seven, a regression to the mean has to be on the horizon. If not, they’ll be the Big 12 stereotype typified once again – elite offense, horrendous defense.

The Red Raiders will have a phenomenal offense in 2016, mostly because of QB Patrick Mahomes, who threw for over 4,500(!) yards last season and accounted for 46 total touchdowns. He will be without running back DeAndre Washington and slot receiver Jakeem Grant – both of whom accounted for well over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, respectively – but Justin Stockton did well in limited carries last season and Mahomes has a solid rapport with several returning receivers. The offensive line will be without 1st-Team All-Big 12 left tackle Le’Raven Clark as well as some other starting linemen, but the scheme that Tech employs can often mitigate inexperienced or weak offensive lines by getting the ball into space quickly. Mahomes is perhaps the best under-the-radar quarterback in all of college football (and would surely be a great pick in a college fantasy football league), but he can only do so much; with a decent defense, Texas Tech could get to ten wins, which would require unfathomable improvement.

skyler howard

QB Skyler Howard will be crucial to the Mountaineer offense

West Virginia

WVU in the Big 12 might be the oddest fit of any team in a major conference; every league foe is over a half-day’s drive away and there’s no history between the Mountaineers and any other Big 12 team. In their last season before the Big East crumbled (also Dana Holgerson’s first season in Morgantown), they went 10-3 and won a BCS bowl. Since joining the Big 12, it hasn’t been as easy – 26-25 total (15-21 in conference play) over four years is enough to cast serious doubt on Holgerson’s ability to be competitive in the conference. In 2015, West Virginia suffered the misfortune of having their four toughest games in their first four weeks of conference play – they lost all four, including three blowouts at the hands of Oklahoma, Baylor, and TCU. An exciting shootout win against Arizona State in the bowl game provided some good feelings headed into the offseason, especially because of QB Skyler Howard’s 532 passing yards and 5 touchdowns.

Any Holgerson team will need success in the passing game, and Howard is a seasoned dual-threat starter – though one who threw 14 interceptions and took 31 sacks a year ago. He’s joined by Rushel Shell in the backfield, a now-senior who’s waited his turn to be the number one option at running back. Shelton Gibson, Daikiel Shorts, and Jovon Durante were the most heavily targeted receivers in 2015 and they all return. Four of five offensive linemen return and even though they conceded quite a few sacks, WVU was able to effectively run the ball so there’s some trade-off there. Former Michigan assistant Tony Gibson is Holgerson’s DC and runs an attacking 3-3-5 scheme. The defense wasn’t great after star safety Karl Joseph was hurt and they must replace all three starting linebackers and both starting corners. WVU’s schedule sets up more favorably this year, but progress seems to have stagnated in the program and Holgerson probably needs to have a surprisingly successful year to feel secure.

bill snyder

Legendary coach Bill Snyder had a rough 2015 season

Kansas State

After starting the season 3-0 against weaker teams, Kansas State dropped its first six Big 12 games en route to a 6-7 season capped by a blowout bowl loss to Arkansas. That the Wildcats needed to eke out narrow wins over Iowa State and West Virginia at home (by a combined four points) was alarming – Bill Snyder’s been solid at KSU but there’s always the lingering wonder if a one-year slide signals The End for him.  They couldn’t pass the ball last season – Joe Hubener completed fewer than half of his passes, threw more touchdowns than interceptions, and even though he led the team in rushing, there’s still quite a bit of concern there. The offensive line is losing a lot, and there weren’t any notable skill position playmakers last season. The defense gave up a ton of big plays, but they do have some more experience this season. It would be nice to see KSU surprise to the positive – it’s just hard to find evidence to suggest that they might. Of course, that’s how Snyder’s done it for most of his career.

* * *

Since this is running long, I won’t dwell on Iowa State and Kansas. ISU hired Matt Campbell, formerly of Toledo, to undertake a significant building process in Ames. Kansas went 0-12 last season, and are still Kansas.

Comments

Blue Sharpie

July 28th, 2016 at 2:54 PM ^

If they were absorbed by the other conferences. Let's take Kansas & Oklahoma ( or Texas but is too messy with longhorn network) and let the rest go to the other power 5.

Hornsgoblue (not verified)

July 28th, 2016 at 10:59 PM ^

I've never liked the Big 12. It has never felt natural.

I always liked the old SWC and while adding Nebraska was great and cold weather games in Colorado were neat, I could never get used to Kansas, K. St., or Iowa State.

getsome

July 28th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

maybe.  but i love big 12 action - majority of the programs have been decent to great and they play an entertaining brand of ball.  many might attempt to keep the same schemes / styles in play in other conferences but id miss some of those big 12 games.

always interesting to watch ex-wolverines so ill be looking for pipkins at tech and bosch and ferns (whos likely to steal some FB reps) at wvu

Tuebor

July 28th, 2016 at 4:24 PM ^

The only problem with that is ISU, KSU, and TTU are on nobody's radar for expansion.  If the Big XII were to break up those schools would likely end up in the AAC or MWC.  You could probably add Oklahoma St to this list since nobody is interested in them by themselves. 

 

WVU would probably be a target for the ACC if they weren't already at 14 teams already, same with the SEC and Big Ten.  So any expansion of the ACC to 16 teams including WVU would need to add another school otherwise WVU could end up in the AAC as well.  Maybe the ACC would go for adding WVU and Cincy as a pair.  That would certainly add some nice rivalries for their recent acquisitions (WVU vs Va Tech, Syracuse, and Pitt; and Cincy vs Pitt, and Louisville). 

 

Kansas is only desireable because of their Basketball and basketball doesn't drive conference realignment.  I don't think any conference wants to take Kansas and Kansas St (Assuming politics forced both schools to be a package deal) just to get Kansas basketball. So I don't see Kansas being a major single target.   The ACC is already at 14 teams so would they really prefer Kansas/Kansas St over WVU/Cincy?  Kansas basketball would certainly add to ACC basketball prowess.  Otherwise the pac 12 might be interested in Kansas and Kansas St if they could get Texas and ??? or Oklahoma and Okalahoma St.  Either way Kansas isn't going anywhere by themselves.

 

Oklahoma and OK ST are totally different. I think the other major conferences would be willing to take both schools in order to get Oklahoma football. Heck I'd love to see the Big Ten add both those schools to balance out the West and move Purdue to the East.

 

Then you have the two private Texas schools of Baylor and TCU. Both owe their recent success to the current head coaches (Or recently fired in the case of Baylor).  It will be interesting to see if that success is sustained once their head coaches leave (which will be this season in the case of Baylor).  The SEC is already in Texas with TAMU so they aren't looking to expand in texas just for texas' sake.  The Pac 12 and Big Ten are primarily filled with public universities so they don't really fit the conference profile.  That leaves the ACC.  I could see the ACC going after one or both if they whiff on the bigger school in Texas.

 

I think every conference would be willing to take Texas, even with the Longhorn Network deal as a potential issue but some conferences would be more willing than others.  I don't see the SEC or the Big Ten all that desparate but the ACC and Pac 12 might be willing to negotiate on the long horn network deal much more favorably to Texas than the SEC or Big Ten would be.

 

So that is how I see it.  Only Texas and OU are real targets in realignment.  Everyone else is just baggage.  Maybe you could make a case for the ACC targetting Baylor and TCU if the wanted to expand into Texas without getting involved in the longhorn network.  But otherwise that conference is a bunch of leftovers that nobody wants.

 

Blue Sharpie

July 28th, 2016 at 4:32 PM ^

For more than just basketball, they are one of the few Big 12 teams with AAU membership which has been a prerequisite for Big 10 expansion in the past and it would provide a contiguous footprint if they took Oklahoma. I believe Oklahoma would be the only non AAU school the Big 10 would still take from the Big 12 for obvious reasons, like Notre Dame.

Tuebor

July 28th, 2016 at 5:05 PM ^

Iowa St is an AAU member and they are within the Big Ten footprint.  I doubt we have any interest in them whatsoever.  Same story with Pittsburgh.

 

Nebraska lost its AAU membership due to the lack of an on campus medical center (The medical center for the nebraska system is at nebraska-omaha not nebraska-lincoln) and due to the AAU no longer counting USDA fudned research in its metrics.

 

Kansas is an AAU member and they are contiguous with the current footprint but I can't see them moving the needle in Football prestige like Nebraska did or in media market access like Rutgers (NYC) and Maryland (Baltimore/DC) did.  Plus there is the possibility that politics prevents Kansas and Kansas St from breaking up. 

 

Contiguous expansion is something that I'm sure can be overcome.  I'd much rather have the Oklahoma schools than the Kansas schools if you had to take the package deal.  Ideally you would get Kansas and Oklahoma but I doubt the politics of the situation would allow it to happen.

 

 

 

Blue Sharpie

July 28th, 2016 at 5:46 PM ^

Contiguous footprint has been more of a tradition than a must have, but it still is a factor. Nebraska did have AAU membership when they were vetted, but they likely would have been taken even without it. Just as Notre Dame would have been taken without it. Iowa st and pitt have the same kiss of death: bigger big 10 brothers in the same state with overlapping/underwhelming tv market. Missouri was begging to get into the big10 but then they were invited to the SEC. Doubt they would ever want to leave the SEC. Because of OK politics, i could only see the big 10 considering Oklakoma State in a 4 team expansion that involved Texas and Oklahoma, where it was an all or none package deal.

Tuebor

July 29th, 2016 at 9:04 AM ^

The Big Ten has 14 teams, if they add 4 more that puts them at 18. Then you have 2 divisions of 9 teams each which might as well be two seperate conferences at that point.  I doubt you see conferences go above 16 total teams.

Mr Miggle

July 29th, 2016 at 10:46 AM ^

that they have zero interest in taking both. Politics might get involved to the point of asking for a package deal, but with no leverage, it's not happening. The board has a fiscal responsibility and there's too much money involved, especially with KU joining the BTAA. I suppose they could decide to pool their TV revenue if they wanted to protect the school getting left out.

Maybe the SEC would consider adding KSU. It's possible KU is the school that could be left out. Other than OU and Texas, what schools would the SEC want, Ok St, KSU, WVU?

Mr Miggle

July 28th, 2016 at 8:07 PM ^

conferences. Schools like Iowa St, Baylor, Texas Tech and WVU would be in the same position those AAC teams hoping to get into the Big 12 are now. A couple will probably get lucky. The rest may end up in the AAC. ESPN and Texas will make a deal to end the Longhorn Network. There's more money for them to make without it if they go to the SEC or Big Ten. Along with Kansas, they are the most natural fit for the Big Ten.

Mr Miggle

July 29th, 2016 at 9:55 AM ^

could happen if the Big 12 implodes. Missouri would love to make that move and the SEC might just prefer to grab someone else.

My feeling on how Big Ten looks at possible expansion stemming from a Big 12 collapse, ranked in order of desirability:
1. Texas and Oklahoma - OU is the only non-AAU school they'd consider from Big 12
2. Texas and Missouri - I think OU lands in the SEC, maybe with OSU and one more
3. Texas and Kansas - the most likely scenario
4. Oklahoma and either Kansas or Missouri - least likely, but acceptable

I don't think any scenario without Texas or Oklahoma will happen. The Big Ten already diluted their football with the last expansion. I don't see it happening again.

Richard75

July 29th, 2016 at 11:42 AM ^

Oklahoma and Texas would make sense. But if Texas can't work, might as well sit tight and wait out Notre Dame.

If you take KU and OU, you likely set in motion the Big 12's demise. That leads to a 16-team superconference landscape...and Notre Dame landing elsewhere.

Say what you want about ND and Texas being insufferable, but it would be nonsensical to expand to 16 yet miss out on by far the two biggest possible fish.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Blue Sharpie

July 28th, 2016 at 4:45 PM ^

The ACC now has an ACC Network deal and grant of rights set up for decades and nobody will leave the ACC because they are going to move well ahead of the Big 12 in money and stability.
The Big 12 is now the only power 5 conference without their own network ( not counting longhorn network).
Will the next ESPN deal for the big 12 get worse if they dilute the conference with 2 or 4 subpar teams? (In the current ESPN deal any teams added to the big 12 are supposed to get the same money as the other members.)

Mr Miggle

July 29th, 2016 at 10:07 AM ^

rivalries, better and longer TV deals, more desirable geography, much better academic association and no Longhorn Network. They're superior to the Big 12 is every meaningful way other than being roughly equal in football strength. The last item is something that the Big 12 is poised to water down.

WolverineHistorian

July 28th, 2016 at 3:52 PM ^

A blue blood program going through a down cycle is common, yes. But Texas the last few seasons looks a lot like the Texas I saw growing up, where they ranged between awful and mediocre. It was that way for about 25 straight years before Mack Brown finally turned things around there. I'm kind of enjoying them being bad again, what with them destroying the Big 12 with the Longhorn Network and being responsible for so many teams switching conferences and the destruction of many rivalries across the country. But please beat Notre Dame when they visit you. If there's one day you don't suck, please let that be the one.

And on September 17th, I'll be cheering 'Boomer Sooner!' when Oklahoma welcomes the Buckeyes. That game will start about an hour after we finish up with Colorado at the big house so most people should have time to make it to a TV.

Hornsgoblue (not verified)

July 28th, 2016 at 11:27 PM ^

Its not been all doom and gloom.

Dont forget Texas won the 1st Big 12 Championship in 1996 thanks to Mackovic's gutsy 4th down call against Nebraska and with Mackovic, Texas won or shared 3 conference titles during his 6 years. He had great ideas on Offense, and knew how to use his tight ends and fullbacks. Defense was always the problem with Mackovic.

As far as the last 2 years of bad records, it is not entirely Charlie Strong's fault.

When he came in 2014, he had an uphill battle as one of the largest boosters would not support him and he had to dismiss close to 10 players from the team because they did not follow team rules. This hurt the depth chart and ultimately wore down the team as the season progressed. He also lost his starting senior QB (David Ash)  and starting center at the start of 2014 so it was a tough start for him.

Last year they gave away a game to Cal because they missed an extra point at the end of the game to lose 45-44 and also gave away a game to Ok. St. when the punter fumbled the snap deep in his own territory near the end of the game (sound familiar).

This year they have more playmakers than in past years, and 2 super bruising running backs

in Warren and Foreman.

The big issue (which has always been the issue since Colt McCoy graduated) is QB.

Heard is a running back trying to play QB and Swoopes is a tight end/fullback trying to play QB

Buechele on the other hand looked liked like a real QB in the Spring game.

Unfortunately he is a true freshman with no game experience, but If he can be careful with the ball, be a game manager and not make mistakes, then it will be an interesting year in Austin.

Beating Notre Dame, on the other hand, will be a tough task.

late night BTB

July 28th, 2016 at 3:54 PM ^

This conference stinks.

I don't see the appeal of UT.  I live in Dallas, and the stadium is forgettable, crowd and atmosphere seems tame, ads all over the place, games are presented by corporate sponsors, and they haven't been good in forever.

Catchafire

July 28th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

Please OU, just smash tOSU in the face please.  That is all I ask from you.  Give tOSU a good smashing; I am tired of all the Urban hype, the read option hype, the JT Barret hype.  Furrgadssakes beat ohio state please!

ST3

July 28th, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

These two sentences mean very different things:

"they already fired Art Briles, the only great football coach they’ve ever had because of his role in the scandal"

"because of his role in the scandal, they already fired Art Briles, the only great football coach they’ve ever had"