2018 BIG 12 football projections on the Hour Glass
The finish was gut wrenching – a double overtime loss to Georgia, sent Oklahoma to the house after a thrilling 54-48 ball game and just like that, Oklahoma and the BIG12 was done in the College Football Playoff.
Lincoln Riley’s first year was a magic one in Norman, Oklahoma; but the BIG12 was again left out of the biggest game on the biggest stage.
Since the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014, the BIG12 has had 91 appearances in the CFP 25, and twice they have had a team ranked number one, but both times that was Oklahoma.
TCU over that stretch has 312 points in the CFP 25, and ranks fifth all time in the short history of the poll, but after that you scroll through several teams before finding Baylor, Oklahoma State or another BIG12 team.
The BIG12 is fighting an uphill battle in the Power-5, to keep pace with the likes of the SEC, ACC or BIG10, but the league is stable.
2018 brings somewhat of a face lift to the league as questions abound about quarterback in Oklahoma, coaching at Texas and what will be the fate of Bill Snyder, just to name a few.
What hasn’t changed much, is the power jockey in the conference. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, again rank one and two in our 2018 power rankings, but West Virginia could be the team to beat in 2018.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas and TCU are our BIG12 Power Five, but you have several more teams this year that will make every Saturday a question mark. We saw how well Iowa State played a year ago, and Baylor looks to rebound after a 1-11 season in 2017. Kansas State always plays better as the year goes along and it’s a do or die season in Lubbock, Texas for Cliff Kingsberry.
Oklahoma and Texas are again the only teams inside our realistic National Championship bust line in recruiting. The league has struggled to get great talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, which is why you see the league struggle come post season, especially when they match up with an equal team that plays good defense.
After Oklahoma and Texas, TCU is a distant third, then a serious drop in talent happens in the league as Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Iowa State all recruit well outside our College Football Playoff bust line. If this league is ever going to mirror their brethren in the P5, they will have to recruit better.
Coaching in 2018 will not look any different than a year ago as all coaches return for the 2018 season. Mike Gundy is the established class of the league, but Lincoln Riley and Gary Patterson may have something to say about that. Also 2018 will be a come-about year for West Virginia's Dana Holgerson. Holgerson has had an up and down run at WV, but a ton is expected of him this fall.
Again, don't be surprised to see coaching changes at Kansas or Texas Tech after this year. Also Tom Herman better win and do so "biggley" this year or he could start hearing some groans.
Quarterback play in the league will see new faces at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, possibly Texas and Kansas State as well as Kansas. Gone are the experienced gun-slingers of 2017, but there's one guy who stands above the rest and that's West Virginia's Will Grier.
The former Florida Gator gives the Mountaineer's a shot every week this fall and he could be the reason West Virginia wins their first BIG12 Championship.
Kyle Kempt is expected to grow and be better than a year ago at Iowa State; transfer Drue Brown of Hawaii, could be the answer for Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State and can Kyler Murray finally solidify himself as a big time college football quarterback? The league has a tone of intrigue at the most important position in football and it will be fun to watch it unfold.
Scheduling is always an important part to the success or possible failure of any team, and this year Texas is again
The Longhorns open up on the road at Maryland, a team the lost to a year ago, then plays USC and TCU back to back to close out September. They do get home games against West Virginia and Iowa State, but still play Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma hosts UCLA in week two, Oklahoma State hosts Boise State in week three and West Virginia opens the season against Tennessee on a neutral field.
While there may be better conferences in the Power Five, you may not find one with more intrigue than the BIG12 in 2018.
We have Oklahoma winning the conference, but having to fight off a very good West Virginia team and four teams in the conference with possibly double digit wins. Seven teams going bowling, two New Years Day six competitors, but left out of the College Football Playoff this year.
Final Projected Standings Below: