2022 Big 12 Football Preview

Story posted September 2, 2022 in Sports by Jack Dempsky

The Big 12 conference will be undergoing major changes starting in the 2024 season. However, changes started this offseason as TCU, Texas Tech, and most notably, Oklahoma, will start 2022 under first-year head coaches.

This preview of all the Big 12 teams will go in order of projected ranking, including their projected record.

Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)

The Sooners lost head coach Lincoln Riley, quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler, multiple assistant coaches and even more players this offseason. However, they got their former defensive coordinator and Clemson defensive coordinator, Brent Venables,  to head the program. Oklahoma also snatched lefty quarterback Dillon Gabriel from UCF in the transfer portal, as well as highly regarded offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby from Ole Miss. Oklahoma are still the betting favorites to win the Big 12, and for good reason. The Sooners have the best pure athletes in the conference, and in a relatively up-in the-air Big 12, they should be right near the top, even under different leadership.

Baylor Bears (10-2)

The Bears won the Big 12 championship, re-signed head coach Dave Aranda, maintained much of their roster, yet still have the fourth-best odds to win the Big 12. A major storyline for this program in the offseason was letting its quarterback of last season, Gerry Buchanon, leave in the portal and naming Blake Shapen its starting QB. Shapen started the Big 12 championship game and won the job in the offseason. Look for Baylor to continue its winning ways this year.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3)

The Cowboys were one yard away from winning the Big 12 last year, and they return most of their impact players from a year ago. However, Oklahoma State’s biggest loss was its defensive coordinator, Jim Knowles, who left for the same position at Ohio State. Quarterback Spencer Sanders will again be the most important player for this team, and the Pokes’ season rides on his shoulders.

Texas Longhorns (8-4)

Much has been made of the Longhorns’ recruiting warpath, headlined by top 2023 recruit, Arch Manning. However, while the team also snatched former No.1 recruit, quarterback Quinn Ewers from Ohio State, the depth along the trenches might hold Texas back this year. The Longhorns have talent at the skill positions, including star back Bijan Robinson and in the defensive backfield, but the depth is lackluster in those positions. If coach Steve Sarkisian figures it all out, then look out for the Longhorns.

Iowa State Cyclones (7-5)

This time last year, the Cyclones were a Top 10 team in the country, a dark horse playoff team and on top of the world. Just one disappointing season later, the Cyclones lost their veteran quarterback Brock Purdy and star running back Breece Hall to the NFL Draft and are now projected in the middle of the Big 12. Iowa State still has a great coach in Matt Campbell and a star defensive end in Will McDonald IV. It may be more of a rebuilding year for Iowa State, but it should still expect to go bowling.

Kansas State Wildcats (7-5)

Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez comes to Manhattan, Kansas, looking to lead Kansas State to something he could not do at Nebraska: compete at a high level. The Wildcats return star running back Deuce Vaughn and are one of the dark horses in the Big 12. It all comes down to Martinez, though, and how much he can improve in the new system.

TCU Horned Frogs (6-6)

For the first time since the 20th century, TCU will go into Week 1 without Gary Patterson on the sidelines as head coach. The Frogs’ offseason was highlighted by Chandler Morris winning the starting quarterback job and former SMU coach Sonny Dykes taking the reins at head coach. TCU could go through a tough rebuilding year under the new coach, but a bowl bid is still a possibility.

West Virginia Mountaineers (6-6)

Head coach Neal Brown finally has a quarterback he believes he can win with in the former Georgia Bulldog, J.T. Daniels. West Virginia’s defense has improved, but faces a host of high-octane offenses this season.  A bowl appearance would be a win for the Mountaineers this year.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-7)

Coach Joey McGuire comes into Lubbock by way of Baylor with a rebuilding year on the horizon. McGuire has deep recruiting ties in Texas and there is hope that, in the future, he can lead Texas Tech to places they have not been since the Mike Leach era. However, this year is not the future. It could be a tough year for the Red Raiders.

Kansas Jayhawks (3-9)

The Jayhawks upset Texas last year, and still finished with only two wins. Even if they get only one more win than last year, the Jayhawks should be an improved team under coach Lance Leipold. A bowl game might not be in the cards this year, but there might finally be light at the end of the tunnel for Kansas.

Jack Dempsky is a second-year majoring in finance. To contact him, email jmd7563@psu.edu.

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