Projecting every Big 12 game in 2015
Preseason camps will begin opening across the Big 12 this week and every player will step on the practice field dreaming of what could await in the always-memorable fall months.
Today, we take a closer look at what will happen. We analyzed and picked every game on the Big 12 schedule. Here's how the standings will shake out.
For reference (and some accountability), here's how we picked last year's season to play out.
I expect the Big 12 to perform very well in nonconference play. Outside of Kansas, I'm picking the Big 12 to lose just two games: Notre Dame at Texas and Texas Tech at Arkansas. When conference play is finished, though, I expect to see eight Big 12 teams making bowl plans.
Let's get to this year's projections.
1. TCU 11-1 (8-1)
The Horned Frogs clinch the Big 12 title with a season-ending win over Baylor, but a November road loss leaves TCU once again sweating on Selection Sunday. The Frogs come up short in a Norman fistfight, but heal their bruises from Samaje Perine by placing an order for championship rings.
Wins: Minnesota, Stephen F. Austin, SMU, Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor
2. Baylor: 10-2 (7-2)
Baylor doesn't capture its third consecutive title after close road losses to Oklahoma State and TCU, but beats Texas to close the season and book a ticket to the Sugar Bowl against an SEC opponent.
Wins: SMU, Lamar, Rice, Texas Tech, Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas
Losses: TCU, Oklahoma State
3. Oklahoma State 9-3 (6-3)
The dream 8-0 start with a soft early schedule never materializes for the Cowboys, but they make up for it with a strong November, going 3-1 over a brutal November stretch, capped by another win over Oklahoma in Stillwater.
Wins: Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, UTSA, Texas, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma
Losses: Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU
4. Oklahoma 9-3 (6-3)
The Sooners recapture a little bit of Owen Field magic with a win over TCU and show promise with an early season win over Tennessee, but the road proves unkind. All three losses come away from Norman and the Baylor loss is once again ugly and leaves the program with some soul searching to do.
Wins: Akron, Tennessee, Tulsa, West Virginia, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, Iowa State, TCU
Losses: Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State
5. West Virginia 9-3 (6-3)
The Mountaineers never log a signature win, but emerge as the Big 12's surprise team, courtesy of a strong secondary and more breakout stars at receiver in Shelton Gibson, who helps push Skyler Howard to a 3000-yard passing season.
Wins: Georgia Southern, Liberty, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State
Losses: Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU
6. Texas 6-6 (4-5)
I've seen this movie before. Charlie Strong's team struggles on offense for most of the season but rebounds from a 2-4 start to reach a bowl game. Once again, Texas goes into the offseason without a clear vision for the future at quarterback.
Wins: Rice, Cal, Kansas State, Iowa State, Kansas, Texas Tech
Losses: Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Baylor
7. Texas Tech 6-6 (4-5)
The improvement isn't dramatic after defensive nightmares in 2014, but the Red Raiders are back in a bowl game and have an impressive win over OSU on their resume.
Wins: Sam Houston State, UTEP, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
Losses: Arkansas, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas
8. Kansas State 6-6 (3-6)
K-State has more talent than you might think and a strong defense headlined by Dante Barnett, Danzel McDaniel and Elijah Lee keeps the Wildcats in weekly wrestling matches. Still, a lack of offensive experience keeps K-State from sniffing the top half of the conference.
Wins: South Dakota, UTSA, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas
Losses: Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia
9. Iowa State 4-8 (1-8)
Iowa State reaches 4-0 with a huge win over Iowa, but the realities of a difficult schedule bring the Cyclones to Earth. Paul Rhoads doesn't get his signature upset this year, but comes close on two occasions.
Wins: Northern Iowa, Iowa, Toledo, Kansas
Losses: Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, West Virginia
10. Kansas 1-11 (0-9)
David Beaty's team is still motivated and improving in November, but the depth and talent gap between the Jayhawks and the rest of the conference is glaring nearly every Saturday.
Wins: South Dakota State
Losses: Memphis, Rutgers, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, West Virginia, Kansas State
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