WhatIfSports 2015 Big 12 Football Projected Standings
Which team will take the Big 12 crown this college football season? WhatIfSports.com played every game of the 2015 season 101 times to generate game-by-game predictions for each Big 12 team, as well as projected conference standings.
All games were played using WhatIfSports' college football simulation engine, which uses its highly sophisticated algorithms to simulate every play of the game. The conference standings table displays the most likely outcome for each team, whereas the team-by-team schedules display absolute records.
A prominent storyline of the 2014 season was the Big 12’s absence from the first College Football Playoff. Despite two worthy candidates in TCU and Baylor, the selection committee opted for Big Ten champion Ohio State. Though the Buckeyes were ultimately crowned champions, their inclusion at the expense of the 11-1 Horned Frogs and 11-1 Bears was not without controversy.
As the only Power 5 conference not represented in last season’s College Football Playoff, the narrative has naturally shifted to whether or not a Big 12 member can navigate to the playoff this year. Unlike the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, the Big 12 lacks a conference championship game, which prevents its members from an extra opportunity to impress the committee. Exacerbating the problem a season ago, the Big 12 declared TCU and Baylor – each 8-1 in conference games – to be co-champions. The league has since amended its rules to prevent a tie from occurring again.
With TCU and Baylor each positioned as the flagships of the conference, which is favored in 2015? WhatIfSports predicts the Horned Frogs to sit atop the conference standings this December. The two schools go head-to-head in Week 13 in Fort Worth, and the simulation tabs TCU as the early favorite.
The TCU vs. Baylor debate is a discussion that’s divided some experts, including Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel. Feldman is on the side of Baylor:
"Andrew Billings and Shawn Oakman anchor a nasty D-line. Just like TCU, Baylor has speed everywhere. Expect Seth Russell, a 225-pound QB who runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, to emerge as a Heisman candidate behind a good line and surrounded by game-breakers led by WR KD Cannon. The Bears do have to go to TCU this November, less than a week after traveling to Oklahoma State. Then again, TCU will be coming off a road game against the Oklahoma Sooners. My hunch is the Bears run the table in the regular season."
Mandel, meanwhile, sees TCU capturing the Big 12 title:
"TCU, for its part, is replacing more starters on defense, but I don’t worry much about Gary Patterson reloading on that side of the ball. The secondary is a bit concerning, especially against the Big 12’s high-powered offenses. But like Baylor, few have a chance of outscoring the Horned Frogs. TCU, after all, scored 58 points in its only loss last season. What heights will that offense reach this year what with not only QB Trevone Boykin, but nearly every key starter returning?"
To view a team's game-by-game predictions, select the school below: