We’re getting closer to the start of the 2022 college football season when one of my favorite things to do is picking over/under win totals for each team. Now this is always a tight rope to walk as every fan base believes that their team will hit the over. But we all know that’s just not how it works.
So with all that being said, let’s get to it and pick the over/under on win totals for each Big 12 football team heading into the 2022 season.
Baylor Bears: OVER 7.5 Wins
Baylor loses a lot of pieces from is Big 12 Championship team, but there are plenty solid players coming back and ready to take that next step. First off, Baylor may be the most balanced and experienced in the trenches, on both sides of the line. Then, they have Blake Shapen at quarterback, who will be an upgrade for a full season over Gerry Bohanon. As for the schedule, at worst this team is 2-1 in the non-conference (a road game at BYU). That means 6-3 in Big 12 play does it to hit the over. The even-year schedules are always tougher for Baylor as they have to go to Oklahoma and Texas, however both those teams are relatively unproven heading into the season. Coin-flip games against Oklahoma State, TCU and K-State are all at home. Plus, with their Thursday night game on Oct. 13 vs. West Virginia, they get two mini-bye weeks as a result on either end of that game. All in all, not a bad deal, and fans are overlooking at Baylor program Dave Aranda has in outstanding shape.
Iowa State Cyclones: OVER 7.5 Wins
Sometimes a group stays together one year too long. One can make the case that is what happened in 2021 with Iowa State. After a magical 2020 ride to the Big 12 Championship Game and a NY6 win, the program didn’t live up to the hype last season.
But turning over a new leaf to the “next” wave in Ames may be just what the team needs. Anyway, can you answer me this question: Does Matt Campbell finally beat Iowa? If you can answer that, it makes this pick so much easier.
That being said, the schedule is very favorable. Outside of a short road trip to Lawrence in early October, the Cyclones don’t leave the state of Iowa until they play Texas on October 15th. And then they have a bye before hosting Oklahoma. That’s a really nice stretch. There’s no road trip to Morgantown, always a pain for any Big 12 team. Their conference road games are in Lawrence, Austin, Stillwater and Fort Worth. The toughest of those by far is Stillwater, the rest aren’t the road atmospheres that keep most coaches and fans up at night. That’s the biggest case for the over, plus I have so much faith in QB Hunter Dekkers, the depth Matt Campbell has built in the program, along with Will McDonald leading a defense under Jon Heacock.
Kansas Jayhawks: OVER 2.5 Wins
Here’s the non-conference: Tennessee Tech, Houston and Duke. Can they win two? Likely Tennessee Tech and Duke. If so, the over is a lock, because Lance Leipold is actually building this program in the way Les Miles should have done. I don’t know if this is the year Kansas jumps to 4-5 wins. Actually, it probably isn’t. But with the talent and depth Leipold’s staff is quietly adding, Kansas will be in more games than they’ve been in in more than a decade, and a 2-1 non-conference record means one Big 12 win hits the over. Even if they go 1-2 in the non-con, this team will keep getting better and could easily find itself two wins over nine league games.
Kansas State Wildcats: OVER 6.5
The schedule is often times the make-or-break reason a team hits an over (or an under). And for K-State football, they should be 3-0 after the non-conference, especially given the fact that all three games (South Dakota, Missouri, Tulane) are at home. Also, their bye week is perfectly situated in mid-October between two road games (Iowa State and TCU). Oklahoma State and Texas back-to-back at home set up nicely as well, for a split, hopefully, at worst. Importantly as well, they get teams with new quarterbacks early in the season, such as Oklahoma and Iowa State. If West Virginia and Kansas are struggling down the stretch with little motivation, those two games to wrap up the season could be easier than they look now on paper.
Don’t overlook this K-State team in general, with arguably the league’s best player in Deuce Vaughn, underrated line play, and an experienced QB in Adrian Martinez, they could end up being the dark horse of the 2022 Big 12 football season.
Oklahoma Sooners: PUSH 9.0 Wins
I know you didn’t come here for the cop out of a push, but when the over/under isn’t a “.5”, then guess what, I have to call it like I see it. And I see Oklahoma as a 9-3 team this season in Brent Venables‘ first year as head coach. I think there will be growing pains, albeit by Oklahoma standards. That’s OK and should be expected. This can still be enough to put Oklahoma into the Big 12 Title game this season. Nebraska on the road is no cake walk given the pressure on Scott Frost, their re-tooling on both sides in the transfer portal, and Oklahoma still working in a lot of new pieces.
Meantime, you know Texas has loads of talent and will want revenge from last season’s Red River Rivalry, while traveling to Ames followed by Baylor at home is a tough back-to-back. In fact, that back stretch of the season, at Iowa State, vs. Baylor, at West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State after a long road trip, then back on the road to West Texas for the Red Raiders is brutal for any program, even Oklahoma.
There will be some bumps in the road and 9-3 feels like the right number for OU this season.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: OVER 8.5 Wins
The Cowboys should roll through their non-conference schedule against Central Michigan (I know, OSU fans, I know), Arizona State, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The October 1st conference opener at Baylor, a re-match of the 2021 Big 12 Championship Game, will set the tone for the season for the Pokes. If they can get revenge, then the Cowboys are off and running with games to follow against Texas Tech, TCU and then a home match up against Texas. The Cowboys also avoid road trips to Morgantown and Ames, two of the harder road trips to make in the league, especially considering they play both teams in November this season. The biggest issue with the Oklahoma State schedule is the fact that their bye week comes before conference play, meaning nine-straight league games. That’s tough, but I still believe Vegas is selling the Pokes short.
TCU Horned Frogs: UNDER 6.5 wins
TCU can certainly get to a bowl game at 6-6, but to hit the over, the Horned Frogs will need some breaks along the way. TCU should be able to handle Colorado Week 1, then dominate Tarleton State in Week 2, but then it’s Sonny Dykes heading back to SMU for the Iron Skillet on the other side of the rivalry. That’s far from a guaranteed W. Also, let’s factor in TCU’s awful scheduling draw with a bye week in Week 3, September 17th. That is absolutely terrible. It means 10-straight weeks of games against Power 5 competition to end the season. TCU does get favorable home match ups against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, K-State and Iowa State, but I don’t see that being enough in Year 1 under Sonny Dykes to get to seven wins.
Texas Longhorns: UNDER 8.5 Wins
Alabama is almost a guaranteed loss in Week 2. So then we’re talking 9-2 the rest of the way. That would mean a 7-2 Big 12 record. It’s do-able with the talent Texas has, but how many times have we said that about a Texas football team? Texas’ stretch against Oklahoma, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, with two of those games away from Austin, will determine whether or not Texas can hit the over. The schedule does ease up slightly in November, with TCU and Kansas back-to-back, but the final game of the regular season against Baylor could have Big 12 Championship game implications.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: UNDER 5.5 Wins
The problem for Texas Tech is that the non-conference is really tough, and when you’re a team under a first-year head coach, that’s currently in a quarterback battle, the last thing you want is a tricky first three games. Houston in Week 2 is going to be one of the best Group of 5 teams this season, while NC State in Week 3 is a team a lot of people think can be the surprise of the ACC. Even if you split those games, Texas Tech needs to go 4-5 in the Big 12 to hit the over. Conference play begins at home vs. Texas then road games at K-State and Oklahoma State. That’s a brutal start for the new regime and while I love the hire of Joey McGuire and believe he will turn around the Red Raiders, Year 1 will be the start of the rebuild.
West Virginia Mountaineers: UNDER 5.5 Wins
There is no prediction I’d rather be more wrong on than this one, as I would love to see Neal Brown get this thing turned around. But his schedule doesn’t make it easy with Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech in the non-conference slate. If they lose both and go 1-2, that means a 4-5 Big 12 record is required to hit the over. The good news is WVU does have five Big 12 home games vs. four Big 12 road games, but given that they might only be favored in home games vs. Kansas and TCU, the Mountaineers will have to pull off multiple upsets. I genuinely hope they can do it, but right now, I can’t predict that.