The game of football is a war, and going into battle without a strong, dependable front line leads to defeat more times than not. Any good coach, no matter what position he favors or played back in his heyday, will not hesitate to say that games are won and lost in the trenches. An offensive line is not only just there to protect the quarterback, but also to create lanes for the running game. Whether you call them the “Big Uglies”, “Hog Mollies,” or just fat guys in shoulder pads, these hard-nosed young men are the foundation of any dynamic offense. So, as you sit at home or work counting down the days until kickoff, I have countdown of my own for you… the top five offensive lines in the Big 12 Conference.
Also, if you missed it, here are the other categories we have ranked thus far:
1. Baylor Bears
Projected Starters: LT Connor Galvin, LG Mose Jeffery, C Jacob Gall, RG Grant Miller, RT Khalil Keith
The Bears return four starters up front going into the 2022 season. This line has plenty of experience and has two All-Big 12 players in Connor Galvin and Jacob Gall. They did a great job last season paving lanes for the running backs and I expect that to continue once again this season. Baylor will be a force in the trenches on both sides of the ball in 2022.
2. Oklahoma Sooners
Projected Starters: LT Anton Harrison, LG McKade Mettauer, C Andrew Raym, RG Chris Murray, RT Wayna Morris
On paper alone, this appears to be a very talented group. Several of them having staring experience and adding Cal transfer McKade Mettauer was a key addition as well. Plus, I really like center Adrew Raym and Wayna Morris should be better in his second season in Norman as he was a former five-start recruit coming out of high school. Without a doubt, this line will be better than they were a year ago.
3. West Virginia Mountaineers
Projected Starters: LT Wyatt Milum, LG James Gmiter, C Zach Fraizer, RG Doug Nester, RT Brandon Yates
It’s not often a team has their entire offensive line coming back but West Virginia will have that going into this season. With a new quarterback (JT Daniels) and a new offensive coordinator (Graham Harrell) it will be interesting to see the changes on offense. Expect this group to pass block more and this unit has some athletic guys up front. Left tackle Wyatt Milum is excellent and center Zach Fraizer is an All-Big 12 caliber player.
4. Iowa State Cyclones
Projected Starters: LT Tyler Miller, LG Jarrod Hufford, C Trevor Downing, RG Darrell Simmons, RT Jake Remsburg
We keep talking about Iowa State improving up front and I think we are finally starting to see that more and more as the years pass under Matt Campbell. Jake Remsburg is back after missing last season due to an injury and Trevor Downing is an all-conference player who is moving to center. This unit held their own in the Cheez-It Bowl against a talented Clemson team and did a good job in pass protection last year. The strength of Iowa State’s offense has typically been the run game and that’s where this group should excel.
5. Kansas State Wildcats
Projected Starters: LT Cooper Beebe, LG Dawson Delforge, C Hadley Panzer, RG Taylor Poitier, RT Christian Duffie
There will be a few new faces in the middle, but the good news is that Kansas State should be solid on the edge with tackles Cooper Beebe and Christian Duffie. Cooper is an All-Big 12 selection and Duffie is no slouch either. The question will be the middle three, but Kansas State always seems to find the right guys on the interior. Hadley Panzer at center missed last season with an injury and it is also possible that Cooper Beebe could move inside as well. No matter what, Kansas State will find the right five guys.