The offseason news in the Big 12 was, of course, conference realignment. Texas and Oklahoma will exit the Big 12 for the greener dollar pastures of the SEC on July 1, 2025. In turn, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will leave the American Conference and join the Big 12 in 2023 with each school paying an early exit fee of $15 million each. Independent BYU will join that trio.
Last year, Baylor stopped Oklahoma State inches from the pylon on a 4th-down play with 24 seconds left to preserve a 21-16 upset of the Cowboys at the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington. But the Big 12 was left out of the Final Four as no conference member finished the season with fewer than 2 losses.
With Lincoln Riley gone to USC and Brent Venables stepping in to his first head coaching job, we can honestly say that we don't know what to expect from Oklahoma. The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com have Oklahoma State beating the Sooners in Norman for the third time since 2001 and second since 2014. That win would give the 'Pokes a shot at revenge against Baylor which is picked to win the regular season crown, largely by knocking off OSU in Waco on October 1.
The two other new head coaches in the Big 12 - Sonny Dykes (TCU) and Joey McGuire (Texas Tech) - have their work cut out for them. The Horned Frogs are projected to improve from their 5-7 season of a year ago. Texas Tech is predicted to falter from a 7-6 campaign a year ago to a 4-8 mark in 2022.
Kansas State fans might be happily surprised to see their team is picked to finish 4th, while Texas fans will be disappointed to find their Longhorns at No. 5.
Kansas looks like it will have some basement company from West Virginia as the computer has Neal Brown slipping to a 2-10 campaign after three years of mediocrity in Morgantown.
The big question is whether or not the conference will send a team to the College Football Playoff Final Four. The general answer seems to be that someone will have to emerge undefeated to make that a done deal, but a 12-1 team would surely be in the mix of consideration.
Baylor would presumably be 13-0 if it defeats Oklahoma State in the conference title game.
The computer has Ohio State and Alabama ranked 1-2 and believed to be definite shoo-ins. Georgia's loss to 'Bama in the SEC Championship would be its first of the season and the committee won't let that block the defending national champions from returning to the pool.
If it comes down to a choice between one-loss teams and Clemson is in the mix, our best guess is that the Tigers get the committee nod as the program is recognized as a Playoff 'blue blood'.
|2||7||Oklahoma State||Big 12||90.42||82.89||11||1||8||1||44|
|4||31||Kansas State||Big 12||79.89||59.92||9||3||6||3||22|
|7||80||Iowa State||Big 12||71.33||29.72||5||7||3||6||14|
|8||89||Texas Tech||Big 12||74.00||24.67||4||8||2||7||6|
|9||111||West Virginia||Big 12||69.61||11.60||2||10||1||8||7|
|*Oklahoma State defeats Baylor in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington|