By: Nate Murphy (@bigmurph23)
We have crossed the halfway mark of our tour through the new P4. Our third conference deep dive leads us to Big XII country. Which, if you’re keeping track at home, you’ll notice that it is pretty much the entire country. So who takes home the crown in the Big XII this season? Let’s dig in and find out.
Like the B1G, the Big XII finds itself with a group of newcomers in the fold. The Buffs of Colorado were an exciting addition, sparked perhaps by the overreaching appeal of Coach Prime in real life. Cincinnati will bring in passion, excitement, and whatever the heck a Bearcat is. And we can’t forget about the Baylor Bears. Colorado, just based purely on excitement value, may have the biggest draw of the three new schools in this conference. The three blank slates could lead to a lot of talent flocking to currently empty positions on the two-deep and allow these three teams to shine in season one.
Boise State is the most intriguing team in this conference. From season to season (heck sometimes from game to game) you don’t know what to expect from the Broncos. The boys on the blue lose a lot of talent in key positions including two of their wide receivers and two defensive tackles. While there is talent in the surrounding positions, especially on defense, replacing the production from those four players will go a long way in determining the success of this herd of Broncos.
West Virginia is a team that was historically good last season within the program. Their first-ever four-game winning streak, their first earned playoff spot, and a third-place finish in last season’s SEC. But the Mountaineers lose ten players from that roster. While their QB was one, the most significant loss may be the loss of JPS. The Mountaineers need a quarterback, but their depleted defense will be the focus. If they can not find new starters and depth the Mountaineers may find themselves setting up basecamp below the summit once again.
The very top of the Big 12 is where things get interesting. Texas and Oklahoma State should be the two teams battling it out for the crown. But both must replace big names at the quarterback spot. There is no doubt in my mind that both teams will be able to go out and find gunslingers to lead them. The question is the rest of the roster, in particular the defensive side of the football. Oklahoma State will need to replace five seniors on that side of the ball. Three of them are from the secondary level. Texas is losing four key defensive seniors as well. So how do you tell the teams apart at this point in the off-season? I don’t think you can. So to make my decision I flipped a coin and it landed Horns Down. Here is how I see the Big XII shaking out: