Here are our picks for the most surprising and most disappointing team in Big 12 football this season. The most disappointing could come to a team that’s consistently been great in the conference lately, and don’t call us homers too much for the most surprising team.
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Most surprising: Iowa State Cyclones
Yeah, I know. Oh, what a surprise, the Iowa State blog picks Iowa State to be the biggest surprise in the Big 12!
Hear me out. First off, there’s really only three teams that should be in this category: Kansas, West Virginia, and the Cyclones. While the top two (Oklahoma, Baylor) are the serious title contenders, the other five are in a jumbled pack in the middle. Would you be surprised if someone like TCU or Texas Tech finished at 3rd? Me neither.
So, based on that curriculum, I have to side with the Cyclones. West Virginia is also a good pick (I actually had them typed in first), but I think there’s less question marks with Iowa State. Everyone has picked them to finish in the bottom three, but unless we have a similar year to 2012 when damn near everyone was 6-6 in the conference, I do believe the team will be closer to a bowl berth than not.
Iowa State’s offense will be much improved even if Sam Richardson can’t stay under center, the talent at both running back and wide receiver that produced consistency last year is all back. The defense is still a big question mark in a lot of areas, but if the offensive line can hold him, this team could finish in the middle of the back and go bowling.
Most disappointing: Oklahoma State Cowboys
This might be going out on a limb as the Cowboys are one of the more consistent teams in the conference, but this has the makings for a rough year even with all the Tyreek Hill hype.
Hill is only one guy, and he doesn’t replace all the losses on defense. Seven starters are gone from a unit that was good, but not lights out. And there will be the ongoing question of who will be the right guy at quarterback. One has a hunch that there will be some rotation in at the position through the season.
Lastly, the schedule is backloaded and brutal. There’s Florida State to open things up which will be obviously tough, then there’s four straight home games (2 against some incredibly soft cream puffs). However, here’s how the final four games plays out: at Kansas State, vs Texas, at Baylor, and at Oklahoma. With more Big 12 road games, there’s always a chance of tripping up at Kansas or TCU.
There’s easily six losses that could be obtained, which is definitely much lower than people have been used to — the last time the Cowboys had six losses was back in 2007.