It’s been almost 15 years since the Big 12 last had a team win the National Championship (Texas, 2005). In fact, you have to go back to the 2009 season to find the last time a Big 12 program played in the title game.
On the bright side, the conference has had a participant in the 4-team playoff in 3 of the 5 years it’s been in play. Oklahoma being responsible for all 3 trips. Only the SEC (6) and ACC (5) have had more appearances in the playoff format.
With the way Alabama and Clemson are going, it might be a while before a team out of the Big 12 wins it all. The important thing is the conference appears to be getting stronger.
Big 12 College Football Preview & Predictions
As we look ahead to the 2019 campaign, the big question is has anyone in the conference got the goods to put an end to Oklahoma’s run. The Sooners have won the conference title each of the last 4 years, compiling an impressive 34-3 record (2-0 Big 12 Title Game) during this stretch.
On top of that, Oklahoma has produced back-to-back Heisman trophy winners with Baker Mayfield capturing the award in 2017 and Kyler Murray taking home the hardware in 2018.
I’ve went through and studied each team, breaking down who each team lost and who they have coming back, as well as coaching changes and each team’s schedule. Below you can find my projections on how I see the conference shaping up in 2019.
Want to get a head start on opening week? Check out the Week 1 betting odds that have been released. You can also see who I have winning each conference and the national championship in my overall predictions.
2019 Big 12 Projected Standings, Rankings & Betting Odds
|Pos.||Team||Conf||Overall||Big 12 Odds|
As you can see in the table above, Oklahoma is the overwhelming favorite to win the Big 12. I certainly am not going to pick against them. It just feels like head coach Lincoln Riley has an offense that is going to produce no matter who is on the field. If going from Mayfield to Murray wasn’t enough to make the rest of the Big 12 sick to their stomach, this year the Sooners will have Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts under center. Hurts basically got thrown to the curb when Tua Tagovailoa replaced him in the 2017 national championship and guided the Crimson Tide to a remarkable come from behind win over Georgia.
I got a lot of faith in Riley and his system, but it is worth noting that there is some hope for the other teams in the conference. Unlike Murray, who sat out a year and got to learn the offense, Hurts has to try and grasp it all in a short period of time. Hurts also won’t have the luxury of playing behind one of the nations best offensive lines like Mayfield and Murray. Oklahoma has just 1 starter back up front. This is also a team that could have easily had a much worse season in 2018. Oklahoma needed OT to beat Army and had 3 other wins by 5-points or less.
The popular pick to dethrone the Sooners the past couple of years has been Texas. Everyone just kind of assumed that Tom Herman was going to snap his fingers and turn the Long Horns to glory. He’s definitely got Texas on the right track (played in the Big 12 title game last year), but with just 8 starters back for 2019, fans might have to wait until 2020 for Texas to be serious national title contender.
I’m not about to throw the Longhorns under the bus. I got them finishing in a tie for 2nd at 6-3 with Baylor, but I give the edge to the Bears, as I have them winning at home over Texas in late November. I was really high on Baylor last year, as I thought they were going to take a big step forward in year two under Matt Rhule. They did just that, going from 1-11 to 7-6. This year they have 15 starters back and one of the more underrated QBs in the conference in Charlie Brewer.
While I don’t have them picked near the top, Iowa State, TCU and Texas Tech are all teams that could surprise. I don’t think people appreciate the job that Matt Campbell has done with the Cyclones. He’s completely changed the culture in Ames and it’s amazing that he’s not been scooped up by a bigger Power 5 program. ISU will have 16 starters back in 2019, including a future star in the making at quarterback in Brock Purdy. I just don’t think they will be able to overcome the losses of running back David Montgomery and wide out Hakeem Butler.
As for TCU, you can’t ever count out a Gary Patterson coached team. This team went through a rash of injuries in 2018 and still managed to post a winning record at 7-6. Patterson has a knack for getting his team to bounce back after a down year. My big concern is the schedule with 5 Big 12 road games. I also don’t know that K-State transfer Alex Denton is going to be the answer they are looking for at the QB position.
Texas Tech will be in the first year of head coach Matt Wells, who was one of the top coaching candidates at the Group of 5 level. Wells did some impressive things in his 6 years at Utah State and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he had the Red Raiders competing at a high level in year one.
I had a tough time picking Oklahoma State this low, but I just don’t like how the schedule shapes up and there’s a lot of uncertainty on both sides of the ball. It all comes down to red-shirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders. If he plays at a high level, this team is going to probably win a couple more conference games than I got them projected at.
Kansas State is another team that I think is headed for a down year. Legendary head coach Bill Synder is gone and this program has had a hard time winning when he’s not in charge. That’s not to say I don’t like the higher of Chris Klieman, who comes from FCS power North Dakota State, I just think it will take a year or two before he gets the players in place for his systems.
West Virginia is a team that has decent odds to win the Big 12 and I’m not sure why. The Mountaineers lost head coach Dana Holgorsen and must replace two of the school’s all-time best in quarterback Will Grier and wide out David Sills. There’s a lot of hype around new head coach Neal Brown, who comes over from Troy, but only 9 starters are back.
That leaves Kansas, who despite another likely finish at or near the basement of the Big 12, will certainly be one of the more talked about teams in 2019. That’s because the Jayhawks made a monster hire in former LSU head coach Les Miles.
Big 12 Championship Game Prediction:
2019 Big 12 Win Totals
Here’s a link to our win total page.
|Players (Pos, School)||Odds|
|Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)||+900|
|Sam Ehlinger (QB, Texas)||+2000|
|Austin Kendall (QB, Oklahoma)||+3500|
|Tylan Wallace (WR, Oklahoma State)||+8500|
For a full list of Heisman odds, click here.
Playoff Odds (Win National Championship)
Click on the link for a full list of the national title odds.