Brad’s 2022 College Football Preview- Big 12 Analysis and Predictions

Every summer since 2007 I have created an intricate set of college football predictions for each upcoming season.  This year is no exception, as I will be using my blog over the next few hours to publish my 16th annual college football preview guide which will contain 18 entries in all. The records below reflect each team’s predicted regular season overall record followed by their conference record.  These records include conference title games for the two division champions but exclude bowl games which will be previewed later on in a separate column on this blog.  The teams marked in bold font are the ones predicted to gain bowl eligibility.  Without further ado, here are my predictions for the Big 12 Conference in 2022.

1Oklahoma (11-2, 8-1)conference runner-up

Positional Strength: Quarterback

Positional Weakness: Running Back

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Oklahoma State (November 19)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at West Virginia (November 12)

Bottom Line: I am predicting the Big 12 plays out exactly like the Pac-12 with the regular season champion, in this case Oklahoma, beating the overall champion, in this case Oklahoma State, at home during the regular season but then losing the neutral site rematch in December. Despite all the transfers that left town during Lincoln Riley’s departure, this is still the most talented overall team in the league and there won’t be much of a drop off at quarterback with UCF’s Dillon Gabriel coming in to fill Caleb Williams’ shoes.

2Oklahoma State (12-1, 8-1)- conference champion

Positional Strength: Defensive Line

Positional Weakness: Linebacker

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Oklahoma (December 3)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Oklahoma (November 19)

Bottom Line: As mentioned above, I am picking the Cowboys to lose their regular season Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma, and then avenge that defeat in the Big 12 title game. That would give the Pokes a conference crown and put them on the cusp of a playoff bid. This squad lost a lot of key contributors from their all-world defense in 2021, but Derek Mason should still be able to make this unit one of the best in the conference. Meanwhile, their offense should take a major step forward with an experienced Spencer Sanders at the helm.

3Texas (7-5, 6-3)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Baylor (November 26)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. UTSA (September 17)- perfect time for the dangerous Roadrunners to get the Longhorns. Texas plays Bama the week before and their conference opener the week after. Can you say trap game?

Bottom Line: Texas isn’t quite back yet , as they will show improvement in 2022, but will ultimately fall short of contending for the conference crown, as many are expecting.

4West Virginia (7-5, 5-4)

Positional Strength: Offensive Line

Positional Weakness: Defensive Backs

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Oklahoma (November 12)- no one wants to go play in Morgantown in November!

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Iowa State (November 5)

Bottom Line: The Mountaineers were my # 2 surprise team in the country and they burned me by finishing a meager 6-7. I rarely pick a team to surprise two years in a row if they burn me the first time around, but the Mountaineers crack my list again, albeit at the # 8 spot this time around. I really like Neal Brown as a coach and then he can develop J.T. Daniels into the prolific QB he was projected to be at both USC and Georgia. I also like how their schedule sets up, as they only have four conference road games and play a challenging but manageable non-conference slate.

5Baylor (6-6, 4-5)

Positional Strength: Offensive Line

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Kansas State (November 12)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Texas Tech (October 29)

Bottom Line: The Bears went from 2-7 in 2020 to 12-2 in 2021, and I think they will settle right between those two extremes in 2022. This program had a magical season last year, but their inflated turnover margin (+13) and luck in close games (4-1) isn’t repeatable. Baylor also loses its quarterback, top two running backs, top three receivers, and top tackler from last year’s squad. For these reasons, the Bears top my national list of disappointment teams in 2022.

6Kansas State (7-5, 4-5)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Texas (November 5)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Iowa State (October 8)

Bottom Line: Over the last few weeks, I feel like the Wildcats have emerged as a trendy pick to contend for the Big 12 title this season. However, I just don’t see it. No matter how high or low expectations are for K-State, this program always ends up in the land of mediocrity, as each of their last 9 regular seasons ended with this team winning between 4-8 games. I also think there is a clear ceiling on how far you can go with Adrian Martinez at QB, even if he does have a strong running game to rely on in Manhattan.

7TCU (5-7, 3-6)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Defensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Iowa State (November 26)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at SMU (November 24)

Bottom Line: The Frogs will experience plenty of growing pains in 2022 as they adjust to a new coach with new schemes and sort through a legitimate QB controversy. Also, keep in mind that new coach Sonny Dykes has posted a losing season in his first year in each of this three head coaching gigs before gradually improving the on-field product.

8Iowa State (5-7, 3-6)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Running Back

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Kansas State (October 8)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Kansas (October 1)- the Jayhawks are too good not to knock off someone in Big 12 play in 2022, and I think the Cyclones may play them at just the wrong team as their road trip to Lawrence is sandwiched between home games against Baylor and Kansas State.

Bottom Line: The Cyclones massively underachieved in 2022, as they started the season in the top 10 and ended it with a bowl loss and just a 7-6 record. I think the decline will continue in Matt Campbell’s 7th seasons in Ames, as Iowa State loses its starting quarterback (Brock Purdue), its NFL running back (Breece Hall), and four of their top 5 receivers and tacklers.

9Texas Tech (4-8, 3-6)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Baylor (October 29)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at TCU (November 5)

Bottom Line: Despite their sustained success with the Air Raid, the Red Raider program has recently been mired in mediocrity in recent seasons because of defensive shortcomings. I expect that to change under their new defensive-minded head coach Joey McGuire, but it is going to take a few seasons for him to build up that side of the ball. This year, McGuire is taking over the 95th scoring defense in the country while also losing his top three tacklers. The Red Raider schedule is also very tough, as I don’t expect them to be favored in a game from week 2 through at least week 7.

10Kansas (3-9, 1-8)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Defensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Iowa State (October 1)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. TCU (October 8)

Bottom Line: Lance Leipold seems to be generating much more buzz and momentum for this program than all of his predecessors over the past decade combined (Les Miles, David Beaty, Charlie Weis, and Turner Gill). With that being said, the Jayhawks still are by far the least talented team in this league and will likely be a heavy underdog in every game this season aside from their opener against Tennessee Tech and their week 4 matchup against Duke.

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