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Final Preseason Thoughts: Big 12 Edition

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NCAA Football: Texas Bowl-Baylor vs Vandebilt Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor – I think the success of the Bears 2019 season will be determined by one question. Will the Bears have the horses on defense to push for a possible Big 12 title game appearance? I think fans will be fed up with the excuses if the defense fails to improve. Because how many years does it take to “learn the system?” The defense has to be able to pick up the pieces if the offense is sputtering. It’s too much pressure for Charlie Brewer and the offense to feel like they must be perfect in every game in order to win. Last year, Baylor was only going to go as far as Charlie Brewer could take us; hopefully that is not the case in 2019.

Iowa State – It’s crazy to think that the Cyclones are the only team in the conference since its inception (1996) to not make a BCS or NYE6 bowl game. This past off-season, they were arguably the most hyped team in the Big 12. That could come back to bite them, however. Although they will start the season in the top 25 AP poll, it will ensure that they will get everyone’s best shot. I’m curious to see how the Cyclones do with a target on their back.

Oklahoma State – I still cannot believe that Mike Gundy was not willing to let either Spencer Sanders or Dru Brown play in 2018. And with the new red-shirt rule it would have been really easy to accomplish. The coaching staff and Cowboy fans would have a lot better idea on what each one was capable of. As it stands now, I would not be surprised if OSU runs both QBs out there for the first few games, if not longer. It would not be unusual for Mike Gundy to do that; J.W Walsh split time with both Clint Chelf and Mason Rudolph in recent years.

Texas/Oklahoma - Both teams are in very similar situations going into the 2019 season. They each have a preseason Heisman contender and have the same goals; make the Big 12 title game and be in the discussion of the CFP late in the year. Similarly, both teams also have glaring weaknesses. Oklahoma needs to replace 4 starters from the offensive line and Texas must replace several play-makers on defense. If either team fails to make it to Arlington, it will be a disappointing season for that program.

TCU – I think they’re the biggest unknown in the whole conference. If they can’t figure out the QB situation they may be fighting for bowl eligibility like last year, but if they can find their guy the sky is the limit. I’m anxious to see what Alex Delton looks like in the TCU offense. It’s no secret he struggled at times at Kansas State, but because of how unique their offense is, especially compared to other Big 12 schools, one doesn’t truly know what to expect from the transfer.

Kansas/Kansas State/Texas Tech/West Virginia – In speaking strictly in terms of entertainment value, I think the Big 12 took a hit with the coaching changes in 2018. We lose a lot of personality and only gain 1 established character. Snyder, Kingsbury, and Holgorsen all had personal attributes that made them fun to follow. And although the Big 12 gets one of the most eccentric personalities in all of college football (Les Miles) back, the other 3 replacements seem somewhat generic. Again, this is on entertainment value only and not football. In football terms, all of them were intriguing and well-deserved hires.

Both FBS week zero games came down to the last drive, making for a fun appetizer to the first real week of games. It’s shaping up to be another exciting season of Big 12 football.