The Big 12 got the shaft last year when the playoffs came around. The Big 12 doesn’t have a title game which hurt both TCU and Baylor last year. It came down to those two teams last year and it should be the same again this year. The game last year between these two was amazing and we can only hope it’s half as good this year.
Baylor will have to go to TCU this year and you know they will want revenge. The game between these two might as well be a Big 12 Championship game. Trevone Boykin is going to put up some big numbers this year, yet again. He set 8 school records last year with his first year being the solo starter. Those records might fall again with another year in this system. He has a lot of weapons back too with his recievers and running backs. Boykin will also have 4 starters back on the o-line as well. The WR core consists of Josh Doctson, Kolby Listenbee, and Deante’ Gray, who can all fly. The running back stable starts with Aaron Greene who almost ran for 1000 yards, and only started in November. The two other backs are Kyle Hicks and Shawn Nixon are very talented backs that will give some sparks.
The Baylor offense returns a lot of starters as well but missing one big key in Bryce Petty. The new man running the Art Briles show will be the 4th year junior Seth Russell. He is a better runner than Petty, which could make this an easier transition. The o-line is back together, especially with LT Spencer Drango leading the way. I think Briles will ride them to a lot of wins, with Shock Linwood running behind them. Linwood had some very very nice numbers last year and his workload should go up with a new QB. Since Russell can run it too, this offense should lean heavy running the ball behind that experienced o-line. Even without all the running plays this offense sets up easy open passes. Russell should be able to make these throws and it will be even easier with the talent he has to use. Corey Coleman and KD Cannon are back and ready to become one the best duos in the country. This offense might start slow with a new QB, but by game 3-4 and on it should be in full swing.
Both these teams can straight up score but the key will be what defense can make the stops or at least one stop. Baylor is returning 9 starters including the whole secondary, and big boys Shawn Oakman and Andrew Billings. Oakman is a God forsaken animal on that defensive line. Last year he had a school record 11 sacks and now is expecting even a bigger season from the big Oak. TCU is a littler bit of a different story on that side of the ball. TCU lost linebacker Paul Dawson, and key safety Chris Hackett. Dawson was their leading tackler and Hackett was their leader in interceptions. The Horned Frogs will roll out a lot of freshman including LB’s Mike Freeze and Alec Dunham, and also freshman corner DeShawn Raymond. The linebackers in Gary Paterson’s defense are a huge key so hose youngsters will have a lot to handle.
In the end only one team can win this conference, well not exactly it can be shared which is dumb. No shared title this year as I think Baylor can run this conference behind a more experienced defense and a talented group of offensive players. Will it be enough for a playoff spot? That’s a question for another time.
Offensive POY: Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU-
His team might not win the conference but that won’t stop him from putting up stupid numbers. He was a favorite in our Heisman preview so take a look why. Also Shock Linwood will be right up there because Baylor will lean heavier on the run this year, which means big numbers for Shock.
Defensive POY: Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma-
Everybody loves a pass rusher and Striker is a good one, also his name is amazing. He had 6.5 sacks his sophomore year, and 9 sacks last year. So you should expect another jump right? Well I am so I would say doubt digits maybe like 12 sacks is in the ballpark. It would definitely put him up for some hardware with another bump up. STRIKER!
Breakout Player of the Year: Seth Russell, QB, Baylor-
Art Briles just grooms big time college QBs over and over and over. In 2011 it was RGIII, then it was Nick Florence and then it was Byrce Petty. All of those guys put up big numbers and RGIII won the damn Heisman trophy, so yea QB’s strive in this system. The next big QB at Baylor is Seth Russell, book it!
Freshman of the Year: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas-
The Charlie Strong era was underway starting last year and he is still cleaning house. There are spots to start on this team for younger players and bet the house Jefferson will be one of them. Malik Jefferson was #1 outside linebacker coming out of High School, the #1 player out of Texas, and the #10 player in the whole country according to 247sports.com. The kid is a beast of a player and now put him in a Charlie a Strong defensive system, forget about it. This kid has stud written all over him and is in a great spot to succeed quickly.
Coach of the Year: Art Briles, Baylor-
I think Oklahoma and Texas have bounce back years but if Baylor wins the Big 12 outright with a new QB then Briles deserves this award hands down.
How you enjoyed the Big 12 Preview, and if you have some thoughts let us know below. Make sure to check out our Big 10 Preview and stay tuned for our Pac-12 Preview next Wednesday.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : George