The Big 12 should once again feature high-flying offenses and defenses lacking in stopping power. Here are projected win totals for the Big 12 in 2013.
Baylor 8 (+105 over/-135 under) – Lache Seastrunk could be a Heisman candidate this season at running back but the big question is about QB Bryce Petty and whether or not he is ready to handle the load. The defense is never very good and relies on takeaways. The Bears have an easy non-conference schedule but finish the season at OK State, TCU and home with Texas. I think eight is the right number here.
Iowa State 5.5 (+160 over/-200 under) – I think the Cyclones and Paul Rhodes take a step back in 2013. They have to replace key players and leaders at QB,WR and LB. Non-conference schedule includes Northern Iowa, Iowa and Tulsa which very well leave them at 1-2. They have road trips to Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia. I’m going with the under in Ames.
Kansas 3.5 (-125 over/-105 under) – While the Jayhawks were within a TD in five losses, the other six were blowouts in a 1-11 year. Things will be better but I’m not show how much. They should get wins over the three non-conference opponents and manage a win or two in conference play behind year two of Charlie Weis. I like the over in Lawrence.
Kansas State 8 (+135 over/-165 under) – Bill Snyder and the Wildcats must replace Collin Klein at QB but should be OK elsewhere. The offense was 11th in the nation in scoring and a respectable 28th in points against. The non-conference schedule should be an easy 3-0 but those games are followed by road trips to Austin and Stillwater. I really feel like eight is the right number.
Oklahoma 8.5 (-160 over/+130 under) – Dual-threat QB Blake Bell takes over for Landry Jones at QB for Bob Stoops who needs a big season in Norman. The Sooners have road games at Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor plus the Red River Rivalry in Dallas. I think Bell could be a star but I’m going with the under due to the road schedule.
Oklahoma State 9.5 (-115 over/-115 under) – The Cowboys prolific offense returns Clint Chelf at QB. OSU opens with a tough Mississippi State team but has a very favorable schedule the rest of the way with the only potentially tough road game at Texas. They get TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor at home. If they can find a replacement for Joseph Randle in the backfield I like the over.
TCU 8 (-150 over/+120 over) – The Horned Frogs were an uncharacteristic 7-6 last year but the Big 12 is a different league than the Mountain West was. They open in Dallas with LSU and have road games at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and K-State. I’m not convinced the Frogs have settled in just yet so I’m going with the under.
Texas 9.5 (-130 over/EVEN under) – To say Mack Brown is on the hot seat is an understatement. He needs a winner and he needs it now. Many teams would kill for a 9-4 record but not in Austin. The good news is the offense returns 10 starters. Bad news is they have some playmakers to replace on defense. There is too much talent and athleticism not to be great but I think the Horns will be. Texas plays at BYU, Baylor and in Dallas against OU but I think the over is the play.
Texas Tech 7.5 (+135 over/-165 under) – The Red Raiders were second in the nation in passing but were near the bottom in the nation in points allowed. So what else is new in Lubbock? Former Tech QB Kliff Kingsbury returns to coach and will keep the offense humming. The D does return seven starters, but they have their fifth coordinator in five years. The schedule isn’t horrible with road games at Texas and Oklahoma but I still think the over is a tall order this year. Take the under.
West Virginia 6 (-115 over/-115 under) – The Mountaineers were one of the hottest teams in the country to start out last year but faded fast because of a porous defense. WVU will get three wins in non-conference play but the conference schedule features trips to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State. Replacing Geno Smith and Tavon Austin will not be easy either. That said, I think the Mountaineers manage seven wins.