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2015 College Football Preview: The Big Twelve
One of the problems the Big Twelve Conference faces is that they have no championship game, as they only have ten teams in the conference. Last year, the conference named both Baylor and TCU as co-champions, even though Baylor beat TCU in their head-to-head meeting. There was some talk that the reasoning was to get the higher ranked TCU into the four-team playoffs, but ultimately no Big Twelve team made it in, the only Power Conference omitted from the playoffs last year.
Baylor coach Art Briles probably still has a bit of a chip on his shoulder after not being selected for the playoffs last year. Seth Russell is the heir apparent at quarterback, replacing Bryce Petty, who threw for 8,055 yards and 61 touchdowns last season. Spencer Drango and the entire starting line is returning as well as running back Shock Linwood. Shawn Oakman returns at defensive end as well as all four starters in the secondary. They are Xavien Howard and Ryan Reid at cornerback, with Terrell Burt and Orion Stewart at safety.
TCU Horned Frogs
TCU has a lot of offensive weapons returning from last year. Quarterback Trevone Boykin returns after setting eight school records last year, throwing for 3,901 yards and 33 touchdowns. Also returning is running back Aaron Green who ran for almost 1,000 yards. The offensive line is also returning four starters. The defense has to contend with the loss of leading tackler Paul Dawson, and safety Chris Hackett who led the team in interceptions and declared for the draft.
Bob Stoops needs to replace four starters on the Oklahoma offensive line and they need to find a quarterback. They have four candidates: Baker Mayfield, Trevor Knight, Cody Thomas, and Justice Hansen, but no one has been selected. At linebacker, Eric Striker returns to shore up the middle while the secondary needs improvement
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State Cowboys had its worst season since 2007, finishing 7-6. Quarterback Mason Rudolph came into the game late in the season due to injury, but managed to beat Oklahoma last year. He also has two returning receivers Brandon Sheperd and James Washington. Decimated a year ago, The Cowboys defense looks healthy with a deep bench
Charlie Strong's first year as the coach of the Texas Longhorns was not a complete disaster as they managed to become bowl eligible. This year, two quarterbacks are competing for the starting job: Tyrone Swoopes and redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard. Swoopes went 5–7 in 2014 with 13 TD passes and 11 Interceptions, but they may start both men at quarterback. The defense lost the team’s top two tacklers from last season: Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State's coach Bill Snyder is trying something different at quarterback, starting someone who has never started as quarterback before at any level. Joe Hubener played other positions in high school and walked on as an athlete. He may not have anyone to throw to, as they lost receivers Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. The defense retained many good players like Dante Barnett and Travis Britz but also lost players as well like Jonathan Truman.
Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads has a record of 5-19 for the last two seasons. They look to structure their offense around experienced quarterback Sam Richardson. He'll have Quenton Bundrage to throw to. He tore his ACL in the 2014 opener but is set to return at full strength. They have to patch up a offensive line that was hampered by injury last year. Last season the Cyclones ranked 125th in total defense. They're going to have to find a way to stay healthy if they want to compete
It looks like another fight between Baylor and TCU for the Conference Championship. Perhaps the conference learned their lesson and will only award the championship to one team. Also, Kansas is still paying former coach and Chris Penn lookalike Charlie Weiss to not coach football, a job for whichNotre Dame is also paying him.
Next week: The Pac-12 Conference, which as far as I can tell has the correct number of teams