The 2013 Big 12 college football conference leads with Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. The season will prove to be reminiscent of 2012 with a lack of a front-runner and with no single team realistically capable of finishing the season undefeated and playing for a national title. Although lacking that golden team, the league will have strength with more than half the conference poised to reach bowl eligibility. Of course the big team to watch will be Texas but TCU won’t be too far behind as Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs went 7-6 in its first Big 12 season.
Who will win– Texas
It’s been a struggle for Longhorn fans to watch Texas disappoint in previous seasons. Last year, the team was expected to dominate without the existence of A&M in their division following their move to the SEC. However, they went 9-4 in 2012 due in large part to an ineffective defense. That defense gave up 48 points to West Virginia, 63 to Oklahoma, 50 to Baylor, and 42 to Kansas State. Shoring up the defense will be the top priority for Mack Brown, as the best offenses in the league will be looking to exploit them on their way to the top this year. With their experience and talent, Texas should see nothing less than 10 wins and finish in the top two in the Big 12, but there are a few teams that will be looking to contend with the Longhorns for the conference title.
Surprise Team– TCU
TCU joined the Big 12 conference just last year and in addition to being the top defense in the league, they were in the top 35 nationally in total defense. They will return nine defensive starters, including defensive end Devonte Fields and Jason Verrett, for what should be an exceptional defensive line and secondary. TCU will have a lot to look forward to with Casey Pachall returning as quarterback for a potential full season. The running game should be much stronger with Senior Waymon James returning from a knee injury that occurred in the second game last year. Last year’s leading receiver Brandon Carter will also be one to watch as he will start the season recovering from a hand injury during a scrimmage that led to minor surgery.
Disappointing Team– Kansas State
Kansas State had an exceptional 2012 season finishing 11-2, with an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon. However, 2013 will be a year of transition for the team as they lost a few of their key defensive players like defensive end Meshak Williams and linebacker Arthur Brown resulting in an inexperienced defensive line for the upcoming season. While their defense was ranked tops in the Big 12 last season in points allowed per game, the challenging part this year will be that only two starters, Ty Zimmerman and Randall Evan, will be returning.
Their offense will also be losing their pride and joy, Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, who led the Wildcats to 21 wins over the last two seasons. Sophomore David Sams will likely be named as replacement, but don’t count out junior college quarterback Jake Waters, who will be looking to give him some compteition.
Conference Player of the Year– David Ash (QB Texas)
Ash will be returning this season as the Big 12’s most experienced quarterback. He worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman after starting out as third-string quarterback, and he became the full time starter last year. The junior is prepping for his second full season in the starting lineup and many observers are expecting him to finally have a breakout year. His performance as a freshman was solid but crucial mistakes against better teams is the chief concern for Texas fans. This year he should be more prepped and secure with his role on the team, and as a result will be the front runner for conference player of the year.
Who do you think will win the Big 12 this year? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Written by Pamela Maldonado