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Top Five Big 12 Spring Football Overreactions

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas

Now that the spring portion of the college football season is over, we have a few things to chew on as we enter the summer months.

Of the 14 teams in the Big 12 this upcoming season, 12 of them had a spring game of some sort, allowing the public to get a first glimpse of next year’s squad. Oklahoma State and reigning Big 12 champions, Kansas State, did not have spring games open to the public, but there certainly were new names and faces making plays on the practice field.

Some of the best advice that I’ve ever had concerning college football was never to read into spring games too much. When the offense makes a good play it’s partly due to a lapse defensively, so, spring game success is a zero-sum equation. The best thing you can do as a fan is identify playmakers and roster depth if possible.

 

However, your friends might not see it that way and will inflate their expectations before we ever get to media days in July. Well, I’m here to make sure that some of you don’t overreact to what you saw or heard this spring.

Here are five overreactions from Big 12 spring football that you shouldn’t fall for.

Texas Quarterback Arch Manning is Overrated.

The Texas Longhorns spent a boatload of cash to recruit and land the top overall quarterback prospect in the Class of 2023, Arch Manning. Listed as one of the highest-rated quarterback recruits in history, Manning had sky-high expectations the minute he stepped on campus in Austin. Then, when fans got their first glimpse of him in the Texas spring game, he disappointed. After going 5-13 for 30 yards, many fans are ready to chalk him up to an overrated three-star quarterback that got a recruiting boost thanks to his last name. I’m here to tell you that I would hold off on that narrative. When he was in the game, Manning was surrounded by freshman and inexperienced players, just like himself. Once he gets his footing and catches up to the speed of the college game, Manning will be just fine.

 

Oklahoma’s Offensive Line Will Be Disastrous in 2023.

If you tuned in to the Oklahoma spring game a couple of weekends ago, you likely formed an opinion about the Sooners’ offensive line. Throughout the day, Oklahoma quarterback and running backs were gobbled up in the backfield as the Sooners’ front five couldn’t seem to get anything going. Well, before you chalk up the unit as a major issue for the Sooners in 2023, I will share this bit of knowledge. Several key members of Oklahoma’s offensive line were held out of the spring game out of an abundance of caution. In fact, the Sooners’ offensive line is expected to be a position of strength come fall camp, especially if you ask those around the program who know best (i.e. Jeff Lebby)

TCU’s Offense Won’t Miss a Beat With Chandler Morris.

TCU’s offense in 2022 was among the best in college football, and it carried them to an appearance in the national title game against Georgia. Despite what happened in that game, there’s reason to believe that the Horned Frogs can continue their offensive dominance with what they’ll have in 2023. With an influx of SEC talent coming to Fort Worth and a healthy Chandler Morris at the helm, TCU’s offense should just carry over, right? Well, let’s pump the brakes a little bit. First of all, Garrett Riley’s and Kendal Briles’ schemes aren’t all that similar. There’s going to be a learning curve, and that might cost the Frogs some consistency out of the gate. I do think they’ll be good offensively by midseason, but it could take a bit of adjusting. My other concern is TCU losing its heart and soul in Max Duggan. Can Morris step in a fill that leadership role?

 

Treshaun Ward Can’t Possibly Replace Duece Vaughn.

Don’t get it twisted: Deuce Vaughn was a special talent and one of the best running backs in K-State school history. There were things that Vaughn did with the football in his hands that defied physics. However, believing that Kansas State won’t be able to replace him in 2023 would be a mistake. 2003 Darren Sproles could be in the backfield without a good offensive line and it would be tough to replace Vaughn. However, that isn’t the case. K-State had the best offensive line in the Big 12 last season and returns the top eight contributors from that unit in 2023. So, Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward, who has plenty of juice himself, steps into a terrific situation and one that he can flourish in. Thanks to the big uglies up front, Ward could be the best back in the conference by season’s end.

2022 Was Cool, But Kansas Will Fall to the Back in 2023.

In 2022, we watched Kansas surge to a 5-0 start before Jalon Daniels was injured against TCU and the Jayhawks won just one more game along the way. Once, Daniels returned though, KU’s offense returned in a big way, ending the year with an incredible performance against Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. Daniels returns, as does Devin Neal and a bevy of other playmakers from last season. The general public looks at what Kansas did last season and probably says, “That was fun, but they’ll regress back to being Kansas in 2023.” Well, don’t get caught up in all of that. KU is heading into Year 3 under Lance Leipold, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see the Jayhawks stick around, and maybe even improve in 2023. A healthy Jalon Daniels is key, and if he can stay that way, KU’s offense might be tops in the Big 12.

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