Big 12 Football Conference 2023 Preview. The Big 12 has four new teams entering the conference, but even without them, this league will see many changes from last season. Most programs are in a turmoil of change, either attempting to rebound from a disappointing season or starting the growth cycle. If your bettors are focused on the Big 12, keep your limits in. It could be a bumpy ride.
Kansas State Wildcats
TCU Horned Frogs
Texas Tech Red Raiders
UCF Golden Knights
Iowa State Cyclones
Oklahoma State Cowboys
West Virginia Mountaineers
Texas Stands Out as the Favorite, But Not by Much
Coincidentally, the two teams departing the Big-12 after this season are also the top two teams in the over/under picks. Both Texas and Oklahoma will be moving to the SEC and hope to do it after winning the conference title. They may even meet in Arlington for the final decision.
Over/under 9.5 wins
Texas has not been able to live up to projections for the last few seasons, but coach Steve Sarkisian thinks he’s got all the right pieces in place to go for double-digit wins this season. Quinn Ewers will return as starting quarterback with an elite group of receivers to work with, including All-American Xavier Worthy and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders. All five offensive line starters will be returning. Ewers completed 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns against six interceptions in ten games for 2022.
On defense, Texas showed significant improvement last season by cutting their average points against per game from 31.1 to 21.6. They lost starting linebacker DeMarvion Overshown but have six starters returning. Their defense should still be one of the best in the Big 12.
Oklahoma Has a Lot to Prove
Over/under 9.5 wins
The Sooners had their first losing season since 1998 (6-7) in coach Brent Venable’s debut. He gets assistance with a relatively easy schedule avoiding Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas Tech, which they lost to in ’22. They have a solid foundation with quarterback Dillon Gabriel and running backs Gavin Sawchuk and Jovantae Barnes on offense. Venables relied on the transfer portal to replenish all the openings left by vacating players. That’s a lot of variables to contend with. Be sure and put your limits in or use your layoff account to cover, as many of your bettors will probably take the under on this team.
Kansas State Returning Champs
Over/under 8.0 wins
The Wildcats surprised all the sportsbooks last year to win the Big 12 Championship. They’ve lost some talent but aim to surprise again. They have returning quarterback Will Howard leading the offense with an impressive group of running backs and wide receiver Phillip Brooks. And their offensive line is one of the best in college football. Their only weak point is their secondary, which needs to be replenished. If coach Chris Klieman is successful, the Wildcats may be able to surprise everyone again.
TCU’s Defense is Still Their Strength
Over/under 7.5 wins
The Horned Frogs have accumulated an incredibly talented roster under coach Sonny Dykes, who has done well to replace the outgoing talent. But there is a question mark over quarterback Chandler Morris. If he can match the skill of Max Duggan, who was drafted by the Chargers, TCU can challenge the top three teams.
Texas Tech Looks Like an Interesting Team This Year
Over/under 7.5 wins
Coach Joey McGuire did well in his first season with the Red Raiders in 2022. The team had its first winning season since 2009 and defeated Oklahoma and Texas, a first for Texas Tech. They won their last four games of the ’22 season, including the Texas Bowl against Ole Miss. Quarterback Tyler Shough will be returning, as will receiver Jerand Bradley who had 51 receptions for 744 yards. Shough won all five of the games he started last season. He was the MVP in the Texas Bowl.
McGuire will be looking to fix the offensive line, which allowed 41 sacks last year. That’s his biggest priority.
The New Kids in Town Entering the Big 12 Race
UCF Golden Knights, Cincinnati Bearcats, Houston Cougars, and the BYU Cougars are the four new teams entering the Big 12.
BYU is transferring from the Independents (FBS) conference, while the other three come from the American Athletic Conference. Of the four new teams, UCF is the front-runner.
The BYU Cougars have an over/under set at 7.0 wins. Leading their offense will be quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, with support from receivers Kobe Hudson and Javon Baker and running back RJ Harvey. They have a tough schedule that will add a headwind to their season.
The Remaining Teams Will Keep the Contenders Working for Each Win
- Baylor has been a yoyo of a team these last two years going from champions to 6-7. Are they on a comeback? Over/under 6.5 wins.
- Unlike Baylor, Kansas has improved over ’21, going from a 2-10 record to 6-7. With 17 starters returning, they can focus on improving the defense, which allowed 35.5 points a game last year.
- Even though Oklahoma State tanked last year, they still had a winning season, just like every season since 2005. In many ways, they are starting over.
- 2022 marked Iowa State’s first losing record (4-8) since 2016. Their defense had the fewest points allowed per game (20.3) in the conference. They should rebound soon as they focus on offense.
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