2013 Football Conference Review: Big 12

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Long live the fundamentals.

Overall, there was a lot of disappointment this year in the Big 12. The best story was the great season from Baylor who won their first outright conference championship since 1980 and their first league title in the Big 12.

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TEXAS LONGHORNS

Predicted: 10-2 (7-2)

Actual: 8-4 (7-2)

The season didn't start very well with out of conference losses to BYU and Ole Miss and the Horns lost 2 out of their last three to finish the regular season. They did squeeze in a 6-game winning streak to boost hopes into mid-November. Still, it just wasn't good enough. Mack Brown may have finished his career going 30-19 over his final 4 seasons in Austin.

The Longhorns will face Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Predicted: 10-2 (7-2)

Actual: 10-2 (7-2)

The Cowboys had a chance to win the conference, have a sneaky great season (maybe a top 5 finish when it was all said and done), but they blew Bedlam to the Sooners. On the bright side after an 8-win season in 2012 Gundy Co. have reached 10+ wins for the third time in four years. The program is basically at a historical peak right now so enjoy it Okie State fans!

Oklahoma State will face Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.

OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Predicted: 9-3 (7-2)

Actual: 10-2 (7-2)

OU doesn't seem to be getting much respect these days. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the first time in the Bob Stoops era the Sooners went 2 seasons without winning the Big 12? Nevertheless, ho hum it's only Stoops' fifth straight season with at least 10 wins. I'm sure they'd like that Texas game back but what are you going to do?

Oklahoma will play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

TCU HORNED FROGS

Predicted: 8-4 (6-3)

Actual: 4-8 (2-7)

The Frogs must be listening to the Black Keys right now because things ain't like they used to be. Gary Patterson led this program to 10+ wins in 8 out of the 10 seasons from 2002 to 2011 but life in the Big 12 hasn't been so fun. They won 7 games in 2012 but took a 3 game slide this fall only beating Kansas and Iowa State in league play. Overall, TCU is winning just 33% of its Big 12 games over the past two years.

BAYLOR BEARS

Predicted: 8-4 (5-4)

Actual: 11-1 (8-1)

You have to give Baylor credit for improving their defense which had always been their Achilles heel during the last few seasons. In the three seasons from 2010 to 2012 the Bears gave up 30.5, 37.2, and 37.2 points per game on defense. This season they cut that back to 21.2 points per game AND reached a school-record 53.3 points per game on offense. That's how you win the conference and put up the best season in school history.

Baylor will play in the Fiesta Bowl against UCF.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Predicted: 6-6 (3-6)

Actual: 7-5 (4-5)

Talk about flying high, starting hot, and then fading into the abyss. Tech under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury raced out to a 7-0 record and then promptly lost their last 5 games---the final four by an average of nearly 24 points per contest. Their offense should settle in nicely with some more experience and another year under Kingsbury but this defense is going to have to make some big strides. Once they got into the thick of their league schedule Tech had one of the worst defenses in the country.

Texas Tech will play Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

Predicted: 5-7 (2-7)

Actual: 7-5 (5-4)

Things looked really bleak for Bill Snyder's troops when they opened the season with a loss to FCS North Dakota State and defeats in their first 3 conference games. Give them credit though, the Wildcats rallied and took care of business as favorites and grabbed bowl eligibility while winning 5 out of their last 6 games.

Kansas State will play Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

Predicted: 4-8 (2-7)

Actual: 4-8 (2-7)

Like many, I didn't project a very pretty season in Morgantown and that's exactly what transpired. Somehow they beat Oklahoma State and TCU, but their only other wins were William & Mary and Georgia State. Their offense which averaged nearly 40 points per game last year tumbled all the way down to 26.3 PPG this season and it cost them dearly. Holgo is now 6-12 in league play over the past two years the same record as Gary Patterson at TCU.

IOWA STATE CYCLONES

Predicted: 3-9 (1-8)

Actual: 3-9 (2-7)

The Cycolones salvaged something this season by winning their last two against Kansas and West Virginia to avoid a last place finish in the conference. Defense is going to be the focus of the off-season as only 4 other major conference schools gave up more points per game.

KANSAS JAYHAWKS

Predicted: 2-10 (0-9)

Actual: 3-9 (1-8)

Look at Charlie Weis out there exceeding expectations. I have no idea if things are pointing up in Lawrence but at least they snapped their super long league losing streak. Weis has entered the JUCO way of winning so we'll see how that plays out. He'll need to improve by another game or two next season to make it worth the lack of freshmen recruits.

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