WhatIfSports 2016 Big 12 preview: Projected standings and game-by-game predictions

SEE ALSO: SEE ALSO: SEC PreviewBig Ten Preview, ACC Preview, Pac-12 Preview

Three Storylines

Can Oklahoma Navigate Back to the College Football Playoff?

The Sooners’ 2015 season included victories over five ranked opponents, with a loss to Texas as the only blemish on the schedule. The effort earned Oklahoma the fourth and final seed in the College Football Playoff, but the team proved overmatched in a 37-17 loss to Clemson. Oklahoma’s quest to return to the Playoff will be aided by senior quarterback Baker Mayfield and junior running back Semaje Perine.

New Coach in Waco

Former Baylor coach Art Briles was fired in May after a report determined school administrators discouraged students from reporting sexual assault allegations, some involving football players. Jim Grobe, formerly a head coach at Wake Forest and Ohio, has been tasked with righting the ship.

Big 12 Expansion

The Big 12 announced that it will explore expansion and could grow to 12 or possibly 14 teams. All of the candidates to join come from outside the Power 5, headlined by Houston, Cincinnati and BYU. A decision may be made in October.

Three Players to Watch

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma 

Mayfield will start the season on the Heisman shortlist after accumulating 3,700 passing yards in 2015 with 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also generated 405 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground.

College Football Pick 'Em!

QB Seth Russell, Baylor

Baylor was cruising last season with Russell at the helm, starting 7-0 as its quarterback passed for 2,104 yards and 29 touchdowns. After Russell suffered a season-ending injury, the Bears’ season took a turn for the worse (albeit against a tougher schedule). Baylor finished 2-3 without Russell in the lineup, but managed a 49-38 victory over North Carolina in its bowl game.

RB Semaje Perine, Oklahoma

In Perine’s 2015 sophomore campaign, he totaled 1,349 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. It was actually a step back from a freshman season in which Perine rushed for 1,713 yards and 21 end zone excursions. Coupled with the return of Mayfield, Oklahoma’s offense will be tough to slow down.

Three Games to Watch

Oklahoma vs. Houston: Saturday, September 3

In the wake of the Big 12’s expansion announcement, Texas was quick to champion the cause of Houston. The Cougars begin the season ranked 15th in the AP poll and will have a prime opportunity to demonstrate their Big 12 worthiness with a strong showing against the league’s best team. The game will take place at NRG Stadium, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

Oklahoma @ TCU: Saturday, October 1

The Horned Frogs have lost just three games in two years and will challenge the Sooners for the Big 12 crown. In last season’s matchup, a 30-29 Sooners win, TCU outscored Oklahoma 16-0 in the fourth quarter. If not for a failed two-point conversion with 51 seconds remaining, TCU could have pulled off the upset.

Baylor @ Oklahoma: Saturday, November 12

Yes, all three games to watch involve Oklahoma. (And if we included a fourth, it might be the Sooners’ September 17th matchup with Ohio State.) The Sooners avenged losses to Baylor in 2013 and 2014 with a 44-34 victory last season. This will likely be the fourth year in a row the two schools meet as members of the AP Top 25.

To view a team’s game-by-game predictions, select the school below:

2016 Baylor Bears
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 Northwestern State Demons 95.0 51.3-6.8
2 SMU Mustangs 74.3 32.3-23.5
3 @Rice Owls 82.2 35.2-25.0
4 Oklahoma State Cowboys 44.6 29.3-29.6
5 @Iowa State Cyclones 64.4 29.8-24.7
7 Kansas Jayhawks 76.2 33.3-22.6
9 @Texas Longhorns 55.4 27.5-24.9
10 TCU Horned Frogs 50.5 28.0-28.4
11 @Oklahoma Sooners 53.5 28.9-28.5
12 Kansas State Wildcats 55.4 26.9-25.6
13 @Texas Tech Red Raiders 61.4 32.5-29.3
14 @West Virginia Mountaineers 54.5 28.1-27.0
2016 Iowa State Cyclones
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 UNI Panthers 95.0 46.7-8.0
2 @Iowa Hawkeyes 29.7 20.7-29.4
3 @TCU Horned Frogs 26.7 23.8-30.7
4 San Jose State Spartans 55.4 28.9-28.4
5 Baylor Bears 35.6 24.7-29.8
6 @Oklahoma State Cowboys 28.7 25.3-31.9
7 @Texas Longhorns 35.6 24.7-27.0
9 Kansas State Wildcats 37.6 24.6-28.1
10 Oklahoma Sooners 23.8 23.6-31.8
11 @Kansas Jayhawks 60.4 28.9-25.2
12 Texas Tech Red Raiders 34.7 28.4-32.6
13 West Virginia Mountaineers 34.7 23.5-28.9
2016 Kansas Jayhawks
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 Rhode Island Rams 95.0 39.9-7.2
2 Ohio Bobcats 30.7 24.6-29.6
3 @Memphis Tigers 30.7 23.5-28.8
5 @Texas Tech Red Raiders 32.7 27.3-33.5
6 TCU Horned Frogs 19.8 20.2-31.8
7 @Baylor Bears 22.8 22.6-33.3
8 Oklahoma State Cowboys 26.7 22.6-31.3
9 @Oklahoma Sooners 6.9 19.3-35.1
10 @West Virginia Mountaineers 29.7 21.5-28.2
11 Iowa State Cyclones 38.6 25.2-28.9
12 Texas Longhorns 27.7 21.9-28.2
13 @Kansas State Wildcats 28.7 21.5-29.1
2016 Kansas State Wildcats
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 @Stanford Cardinal 44.6 24.9-28.0
3 Florida Atlantic Owls 62.4 26.2-22.0
4 Missouri State Bears 95.0 45.4-8.9
5 @West Virginia Mountaineers 52.5 25.0-24.3
6 Texas Tech Red Raiders 41.6 29.8-30.7
7 @Oklahoma Sooners 32.7 23.5-29.4
8 Texas Longhorns 41.6 24.8-26.0
9 @Iowa State Cyclones 62.4 28.1-24.6
10 Oklahoma State Cowboys 44.6 26.8-28.2
12 @Baylor Bears 43.6 25.6-26.9
13 Kansas Jayhawks 71.3 29.1-21.5
14 @TCU Horned Frogs 38.6 25.3-28.8
2016 Oklahoma Sooners
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 @Houston Cougars 54.5 27.5-26.3
2 Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 88.1 34.1-21.6
3 Ohio State Buckeyes 58.4 27.7-27.2
5 @TCU Horned Frogs 53.5 28.2-27.5
6 @Texas Longhorns 63.4 28.9-24.4
7 Kansas State Wildcats 67.3 29.4-23.5
8 @Texas Tech Red Raiders 73.3 34.2-27.4
9 Kansas Jayhawks 92.1 35.1-19.3
10 @Iowa State Cyclones 76.2 31.8-23.6
11 Baylor Bears 46.5 28.5-28.9
12 @West Virginia Mountaineers 60.4 27.7-25.4
14 Oklahoma State Cowboys 52.5 29.9-27.9
2016 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 Southeastern Louisiana Lions 95.0 50.7-6.9
2 Central Michigan Chippewas 66.3 31.4-25.9
3 Pittsburgh Panthers 44.6 28.9-28.6
4 @Baylor Bears 55.4 29.6-29.3
5 Texas Longhorns 51.5 28.9-26.1
6 Iowa State Cyclones 71.3 31.9-25.3
8 @Kansas Jayhawks 73.3 31.3-22.6
9 West Virginia Mountaineers 58.4 28.7-26.2
10 @Kansas State Wildcats 54.5 28.2-26.8
11 Texas Tech Red Raiders 59.4 33.2-31.3
12 @TCU Horned Frogs 54.5 29.8-28.2
14 @Oklahoma Sooners 47.5 27.9-29.9
2016 TCU Horned Frogs
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 South Dakota State Jackrabbits 95.0 50.6-8.8
2 Arkansas Razorbacks 44.6 27.0-27.2
3 Iowa State Cyclones 73.3 30.7-23.8
4 @SMU Mustangs 77.2 32.5-23.1
5 Oklahoma Sooners 46.5 27.5-28.2
6 @Kansas Jayhawks 80.2 31.8-20.2
8 @West Virginia Mountaineers 62.4 26.9-24.2
9 Texas Tech Red Raiders 52.5 29.9-27.9
10 @Baylor Bears 49.5 28.4-28.0
12 Oklahoma State Cowboys 45.5 28.2-29.8
13 @Texas Longhorns 64.4 29.4-26.1
14 Kansas State Wildcats 61.4 28.8-25.3
2016 Texas Longhorns
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 36.6 27.1-30.5
2 UTEP Miners 72.3 31.4-23.3
3 @California Golden Bears 49.5 28.7-28.6
5 @Oklahoma State Cowboys 48.5 26.1-28.9
6 Oklahoma Sooners 36.6 24.4-28.9
7 Iowa State Cyclones 64.4 27.0-24.7
8 @Kansas State Wildcats 58.4 26.0-24.8
9 Baylor Bears 42.6 24.9-27.5
10 @Texas Tech Red Raiders 57.4 30.0-28.7
11 West Virginia Mountaineers 42.6 24.3-27.8
12 @Kansas Jayhawks 72.3 28.2-21.9
13 TCU Horned Frogs 35.6 26.1-29.4
2016 Texas Tech Red Raiders
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 95.0 49.6-8.2
2 @Arizona State Sun Devils 42.6 30.5-32.0
3 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 58.4 35.8-32.5
5 Kansas Jayhawks 66.3 33.5-27.3
6 @Kansas State Wildcats 58.4 30.7-29.8
7 West Virginia Mountaineers 60.4 31.4-30.0
8 Oklahoma Sooners 26.7 27.4-34.2
9 @TCU Horned Frogs 47.5 27.9-29.9
10 Texas Longhorns 42.6 28.7-30.0
11 @Oklahoma State Cowboys 40.6 31.3-33.2
12 @Iowa State Cyclones 65.3 32.6-28.4
13 Baylor Bears 38.6 29.3-32.5
2016 West Virginia Mountaineers
Week Opponent Win% Avg Score
1 Missouri Tigers 50.5 24.2-23.9
2 Youngstown State Penguins 95.0 45.0-8.8
4 BYU Cougars 45.5 25.9-25.9
5 Kansas State Wildcats 47.5 24.3-25.0
7 @Texas Tech Red Raiders 39.6 30.0-31.4
8 TCU Horned Frogs 37.6 24.2-26.9
9 @Oklahoma State Cowboys 41.6 26.2-28.7
10 Kansas Jayhawks 70.3 28.2-21.5
11 @Texas Longhorns 57.4 27.8-24.3
12 Oklahoma Sooners 39.6 25.4-27.7
13 @Iowa State Cyclones 65.3 28.9-23.5
14 Baylor Bears 44.6 27.0-28.1