Oklahoma has won or shared 5 of the last 7 conference titles and is the computer's clear favorite for another crown in 2014. According to the Congrove Computer Rankings' preseason simulation of games, the Sooners are poised to go undefeated.
Oklahoma gets Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State at home. Texas Tech appears to be the only threatening away game as Oklahoma's road opponents are all projected to finish 5th or lower in the conference race. Oklahoma is favored by at least 7-1/2 points in every game, and is a double-digit pick in 9 games.
Baylor and Kansas State are the closest contenders with each getting 7-2 conference forecasts. The Bears are 6.37-point favorites over the Wildcats to break a second-place tie.
Oklahoma State slides slightly backward to an 8-4 projection after going 10-3 a year ago. Meanwhile, Texas Tech notches upward to 5-4 in the Big 12, but 8-4 overall with the aid of a lightweight non-conference slate.
There appears to be no hope for West Virginia, Kansas or Iowa State as those 3 schools will open the year at least 19 power points behind Oklahoma, and 9 points or more behind each of the top 6 schools. The trio was a combined 10-26 a year ago and just 5-22 in conference games.
TCU looks to be headed toward its first back-to-back losing seasons since 1996-97. After a 4-8 effort in 2013, the Horned Frogs are projected to go 5-7 this year.
Texas, under first-year head coach Charlie Strong, gets a 7-5 forecast from the computer.
Strong makes the move from Louisville to Texas, armed with a 5-year, $25 million deal to supplant Brown who was forced out on December 14 amid heavy pressure from the administration. Brown stayed on to coach the Longhorns for one last swan song, but lost 30-7 to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl and his final year in Austin ended with an 8-5 record. He was 158-48 at Texas, including 98-33 in Big 12 games. His teams went bowling every year except 2010 and were 10-5 in those bowl games. He also led the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship and a return trip in 2009 that came up short against Alabama. His career coaching record of 244-122-1 trailed only Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech among active coaches.
Brown's departure is the only head coaching change in the conference.
Strong comes onto the burnt orange and white scene after four years at Louisville. But before that, he made his mark as one of the top defensive coordinators in the country, spending seven seasons in that position at Florida. As head coach at Louisville, he compiled a 37-15 record that included marks of 3-1 in bowl games (1-0, BCS) and 20-9 in conference games. He also served as Florida's interim head coach in 2004, falling to Miami 27-10 in the Peach Bowl.