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Five (Overly) Bold Big 12 Predictions for the 2020 Season

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma

As we get closer to the Big 12 football season kicking off, it’s time to have some fun and make some (overly) bold predictions for the upcoming fall. No, I don’t think these will be happening. I wouldn’t be the mortgage on it. But they are things that are not out of the realm of possibility if a few things break right. So let’s get right to it.

1. The Oklahoma Sooners Miss the Big 12 Championship Game

For the first time in Lincoln Riley’s OU tenure he is working in one of his own quarterbacks who he has had since his time in high school. And in the (likely) case of Spencer Rattler, the redshirt freshman is raw. He’s also going to be without Kennedy Brooks at running back after he opted out of the upcoming season. Without three non-conference games, Rattler will be thrown into the fire with three of his first four games against the defenses of Iowa State, Texas and TCU. Good luck, young man. As good as Lincoln Riley is, there could be a slip up or two early on that the team can’t overcome and leaves OU on the outside looking in of the Big 12 Championship race. With a quality trio of Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State bringing back more experience at key positions, along with Lincoln Riley possibly using this weird 2020 campaign as a “spring training”-type season, maybe he tries some things he wouldn’t try, as he really keeps an eye on building to 2021. Add this all together and OU will miss the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time since the conference brought it back.

 

2. Chuba Hubbard Won’t Lead the Big 12 in Rushing Yards

Hubbard is the best running back in the Big 12 Conference. There’s no denying that. But Hubbard, who skipped the NFL Draft after a 2,000-yard season and returned for the 2020, will play a huge role this fall, but will not lead the Big 12 in rushing. I could see Gundy and Hubbard agreeing to a carries limit in each game, depending on how the flow of the game is going, which will prevent him from coming close to last season’s production. Hubbard doesn’t really need it for his NFL stock anyway. Plus, when you look at players who could end up with heavier workloads in the conference, I look to Kansas’ Pooka Williams and Iowa State’s Breece Hall as the two who stand out and are most likely to take the top spot for rushing yards in the Big 12.

3. The Biggest Jump in Win Total is… TCU

The Horned Frogs won just three Big 12 games last season and five of their six losses were decided by seven points or less. Now this may be an even bolder prediction because of the news that quarterback Max Duggan is out indefinitely, but Duggan wasn’t all that effective last season anyway. And while we all hoped for strides, why not give Matthew Downing a shot as the transfer QB from the Georgia Bulldogs has received high praise for his time taking the first team reps thus far. Speaking of transfers, the TCU Horned Frogs have a plethora of talent coming in that can help close the game on some of these close games and get Gary Patterson’s team over the hump and back into being a consistent contender in the top half of the Big 12 Conference.

 

4. The Heisman Finalist from the Big 12 is… Brock Purdy

We are used to seeing Oklahoma quarterbacks at Radio City (or likely remotely this year) for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. But this year, it won’t be Oklahoma’s quarterback or even Chuba Hubbard, but Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, who led the second-most efficient offense in the Big 12 last fall behind OU. The offense is a year older and more experienced and brings a lethal tight end duo (Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen) who will give Big 12 defenses fits this fall. Throw in a talented and deep group of wide receivers in Tarique Milton, Landen Akers and Sean Shaw Jr. and Purdy will find himself as the Heisman Finalist representing the Big 12 this winter.

5. Baylor Goes from 8-1 to 2-7 in Big 12 Play

The Bears had an incredible run in 2019 and they were a few plays away from the College Football Playoff. But let’s be honest, things couldn’t have broken any better for Baylor last season. Think about all the close wins: Iowa State (2 points), Texas Tech and West Virginia (3 points), and TCU (6 points in 3OT). The Bears have a new head coach in Dave Aranda who did not have a spring practice due to COVID-19. Then there are all the key players lost off last year’s team, many notably on defense, which was the anchor of the team. The bottom half of the Big 12 keeps getting better and Baylor is going to suffer a major setback, with the close wins turning into close losses, plus the bottom half of the conference (West Virginia, Texas Tech, TCU, Kansas State) steadily improving, it will be a year for Aranda and Co. to forget.

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