5 Bold College Football Winning Favorites For Big 12

Posted by Eric Williams on Tuesday,August 23, 2016 6:10, EST in

Will the TCU Horned Frogs soar in Year One without superstar quarterback Trevone Boykin? Can anyone stop Oklahoma from winning the Big 12 title? Will the Baylor Bears take step backwards without offensive-minded former head coach Art Briles?

You’re going to find out the answers to these questions and more as I offer up my five bold college football predictions for the Big 12 as the 2016 college football season quickly approaches. Now, let’s get started.

5 Bold College Football Winning Favorites For Big 12

 

 

What Does No Trevone Mean for TCU?

The TCU Horned Frogs must replace graduated superstar quarterback Trevone Boykin, but there’s a ton of talent for head coach Gary Patterson to rebuild with, not to mention the fact that TCU could have the best defense of any Pac-12 title contender. The Horned Frogs will turn over their offense to Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill – hoping their new signal-caller can play like he did early on after replacing Johnny Manziel with the Aggies.

Defensively, TCU returns four starters from last season’s team, while another four key players return from season-ending injuries. If Hill doesn’t struggle at quarterback, TCU could very well ruin Oklahoma’s hopes for back-to-back Big 12 titles.

Oklahoma Wins Big 12?

The Sooners won the Big 12 a year ago by recording 11 wins and they’re the odds-on-favorite to repeat as champs again in 2016 – and for good reason. The Sooners have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield and a pair of running backs that look like future NFL performers in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Oklahoma lost elite wide receiver Sterling Sheppard, but have more talent at the position waiting to replace the now, New York Giants rookie.

Defensively, the Sooners have a trio of outstanding players in defensive end Charles Walker, linebacker Jordan Evans and cornerback Jordan Thomas, but I’m thinking Oklahoma loses two games in 2016 just as they did a year ago. The Sooners face an elite Houston team in Week 1, Ohio State in Week 3, explosive TCU the following week and a pair of matchups against dangerous Texas and Texas Tech over the following three weeks. Oklahoma also hosts Baylor and Oklahoma State with a matchup against West Virginia sandwiched in between. I see two losses coming, but the Sooners still manage to win the Big 12 in 2016.

Baylor to Take Step Backwards?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Baylor Bears are undoubtedly going to take a step backwards in 2016 thanks to the dismissal of former head coach Art Briles. Briles put the Bears on the map and tuned them into a perennial national title contender and I just don’t see that happening under interim head coach Jim Grobe despite the fact that the Bears still have a ton of elite talent.

Baylor has tons of elite talent starting with gifted wide receiver KD Cannon and running back Shock Linwood, but the Bears also need to rebuild both, the offensive and defensive line. Grobe was the ‘smart’ choice to replace Briles and clean up the program but he’s no Art Briles and the Bears will find that out shortly after the regular season begins.

Texas Tech to Surprise!

Texas Tech (7-6 SU, 7-6 TS) was absolutely phenomenal in finishing second in total offense and second in scoring (45.0 ppg) in 2015 while setting a new school record for points scored under offensive-minded head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Red Raiders have a talented, but seriously underrated, quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, a player that threw for a whopping 4,653 yards and 36 touchdowns and could lead the nation in passing in 2016.

Defensively, Texas Tech was a complete mess a year ago in giving up an insane 43.6 points per contest (125th). The Red Raiders surrendered the most points (43.6 ppg) in school history while allowing a mind-boggling 281.2 rushing yards per game.

Still, there is talent on the roster in the form of defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko, linebacker D’Vonta Hinton and safety Jah’Shawn Johnson. Notre Dame defensive end transfer Kolin Hill and Michigan nose tackle transfer Ondre Pipkins are expected to contribute right away this coming season, so the Red Raiders almost assuredly won’t be any worse than they were a year ago.

I’m going on record right now to say that Texas Tech stuns, not one, but two of their higher profile opponents in 2016, whether it’s K-State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Oklahoma State or Baylor.

 

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Baker Mayfield for the Heisman?

Baker Mayfield had a monster season in 2015 by completing a blistering 68.1 percent of his passes for 3,700 yards with 36 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Still, I’ve already gone on record to say that Stanford running back Christian McCaffery is my pick to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy award. Mayfield could win if the Sooners run the table (they won’t) or finish with one loss, but I think a top five finish is more like it.