Iowa State Cyclones

ESPN’s Biggest Question for Big 12 Football Teams Ranked in Top 25

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas

The college football season is months away, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t already anticipation. ESPN put together a list with the “biggest question” for each team ranked in their way-too-early Top 25. That list included three Big 12 teams: Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma.

Below is the biggest question each listed for those three teams with my thoughts below.

21) Texas: Growing pains for Steve Sarkisian?

ESPN Says: “The Longhorns have talent. And Steve Sarkisian has proved his mettle as a playcaller. But coaching changes aren’t always an instant success. … After a 7-3 season last year, can Sarkisian break in a new quarterback and hit the gas?”

HCS’ take: I want to be all in on Steve Sarkisian. He’s off to a great start. But how many times have we played this game with Texas? We’re excited by changes on the staff, big recruits coming in and more, yet the results rarely change. For Sarkisian, I’m impressed thus far, but with the way his tenure ended at USC, it’s fair to still have some concerns as he steps into the biggest pressure cooker in all of college football.

 

9) Iowa State: Can the passing game provide more big plays?

ESPN says: “The Cyclones’ offense was wonderfully efficient in 2020 and should be again with the return of quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Breece Hall and the entire starting line. But if Hall wasn’t creating a chunk play, no one was: Purdy averaged only 11.3 yards per completion, and ISU managed just 1.3 passes per game of 30+ yards (71st in FBS).”

HCS’ take: This is not a big concern for me. Brock Purdy is back with a bunch of weapons and everyone is a year older. I want to see the offensive line provide more time for Purdy and he will use his great vision to find even more open guys down the field, with Charlie Kolar and Xavier Hutchinson leading the way in 2021.

 

3) Oklahoma: Can they win a College Football Playoff game?

ESPN says: “This might be the complete package Lincoln Riley has hoped to see since getting the keys to the Sooners’ machine. So, then, is this the team to break through and get his first win in the College Football Playoff?”

HCS’ take: Yes, and it’s because of what Alex Grinch is doing on defense. Sure, Spencer Rattler and the offense worked through some kinks last year that had not been the norm in prior seasons since OU was always working with a veteran QB. But that side of the ball is fine. However, what Alex Grinch continues to build on defense (which was one of the best defensive units in America in the second half of 2020), is what will get OU over the hump and into a College Football Playoff national championship game. It can definitely happen.

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