2019 NCAAF Big 12 Power Rankings
2019-2020 NCAA Football Season
Cover The Spread 365 2019 Big 12 Power Rankings
The Big 12 is always one of the most competitive conferences in college football, 2019 should be no different. With Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all figuring to be in the mix, I’ll lay out where I think each team ranks as the season approaches.
Bill Snyder has finally retired and it sure looks like he took his 215 career wins with him. Bowl eligibility appears to be a stretch for a team that won just five games in 2018. Fans in the ‘Little Apple’ hope that transfer running back James Gilbert can tap into the talent that made him a 1,300+ yards rusher in 2016 for Ball State.
Kansas football has been a joke going on nine years now. The Jayhawks have consistently been the worst power-five team in the country. This year looks like it has the potential to be different. New coach Les Miles has the pedigree to turn the program around though year one still projects to be a struggle. Winning just six games in the past four years combined means there is plenty of room for improvement.
While Baylor is a far cry from the RGIII days, many feel they have the potential to compete after winning seven games in 2018. I don’t buy it. Last year’s team benefited from a fairly weak schedule. They were 91st (91st!) of 130 teams in scoring defense. That’s just not going to cut it in the Big 12. The high flying top-tier teams will have a field day against Baylor, and for that reason, I have them slotted into the bottom third of the conference.
The Mountaineers made a bowl game in six of Dana Holgorsen’s seven seasons in Morgantown. That success might be fleeting as Neal Brown takes over West Virginia. The Mountaineers impressed last year beating Texas in a shootout and coming within single-digits of beating Oklahoma in another shootout. And therein lies their problem. Without Will Grier at the helm, the Mountaineers will need one of Jack Allison, Trey Lowe, or Austin Kendall to replicate his 71 touchdowns from the past two years.
The Horned Frog won seven games in 2018, thanks in no part to what was an abysmal offense. The Horned Frogs didn’t struggle moving the ball, averaging a respectable 368.1 yards a game, it was holding onto the ball where they ran into trouble. If TCU is to exceed expectations, they need to cut their 2.0 turnovers per game way down.
Big 12 Power Ranking NCAAF 2019
Oklahoma State is your classic Big 12 team. High-flying offense paired with a shaky-at-best defense. The 2018 itteration of the Cowboys averaged just a tick under 500 yards a game (499.4) but allowed almost just as much (452.5). Mike Gundy will need his defense to step up. Luckily, Oklahoma State brings in the 38th ranked recruiting class to bolster its defensive unit.
Iowa State is beginning to become a staple at the top of the Big 12 standings. This year projects at their best chance at crashing the Big 12 Championship Game in Dallas, however I don’t think they make it there. Their intrigue stems from the fact that that they have built a defensive powerhouse in the offensive-friendly Big 12. While they certainly have the defense to disrupt offenses, I don’t see them crashing the top-two.
The Red Raiders lost their final five games in 2018. Not exactly what you want to hear about a team I’m projecting to finish top-three in a power-five conference. However, Texas Tech has an excuse for their horrendous finish. Starting quarterback Alan Bowman went down with an injury against Oklahoma (a game Texas Tech had a lead in). If Bowman can stay healthy, and everything falls into place, the Red Raiders could go on a similar run to their basketball team and make some noise on a national stage.
Is this the year Oklahoma can be dethroned in the Big 12? I think yes. After back-to-back Heisman trophy winners, Oklahoma will need a huge season from Jalen Hurts. While Hurts proved at Alabama he’s no slouch, he’s not the same spark plugs that Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray were under center. Is Oklahoma still a national powerhouse? Absolutely. Is Oklahoma still the best team in the Big 12? I don’t think so.
Texas. Is. Back. For real this time. We may have gotten it wrong when the Longhorns beat Notre Dame in 2016 en route to five wins, bit this year the team is legit. Returning star quarterback Sam Ehlinger is a Heisman candidate heading into the year. The Longhorns reached 10 wins last year despite a slow start. If they can play a complete season in Austin, I believe the Ehlinger is talented enough that when coupled with the Longhorns’ stout defense makes Texas the front runner in the Big 12.