Published July 31, 2019

By William Whisler

After examining the ACC last week, the Whiteboard shifts its focus from the ACC to the Big 12.

The league where defenses often go to die, and yards are put up by the truck load will feature yet again some of the top offenses in the nation.

The conference also has some big questions, including the Longhorns resurgence, how Jalen Hurts will fare for the Sooners and what can Les Miles do to try and change the fate of the Jayhawk program?

Here’s a look at the Big 12.

2018 Order of Finish (Conference, Overall)

  1. Oklahoma 8-1, 12-2*
  2. Texas 7-2, 10-4
  3. West Virginia 6-3, 8-4
  4. Iowa State 6-3, 8-5
  5. Baylor 4-5, 7-6
  6. TCU 4-5, 7-6
  7. Oklahoma State 3-6, 7-6
  8. Texas Tech 3-6, 5-7
  9. Kansas State 3-6, 5-7
  10. Kansas 1-8, 3-9

*Conference champion

2018 Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma 39, Texas 27

2018 Bowl Results

2018 Big 12 Bowl Record: 4-3

Liberty Bowl: Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 33

Cheez-It Bowl: TCU 10, California 7 (OT)

Texas Bowl: Baylor 45, Vanderbilt 38

Camping World Bowl: Syracuse 34, West Virginia 18

Alamo Bowl: Washington State 28, Iowa State 26

Sugar Bowl: Texas 28, Georgia 21

Orange Bowl (National Semifinal): Alabama 45, Oklahoma 34

Oklahoma

2018 Record: 11-2, 7-2 Big 12

2018 Offensive Ranks: 48.1 PPG (1st in Big 12), 247.4 rushing yards per game (21st in the Big 12), 322.9 passing yards per game (3rd in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 33.3 PPG allowed (10th in the Big 12), 159.8 rushing yards per game (6th in the Big 12), 294.0 passing yards per game (10th in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Jalen Hurts (Transfer), RBs Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks

Defensive Key Returners: LB Kenneth Murray

Toughest Games: Sept. 28 Texas Tech, Oct. 12 vs Texas, Nov. 23 TCU, Nov. 30 at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma enters the 2019 season having to replace its Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in Kyler Murray. Enter Jalen Hurts.

The graduate transfer quarterback knows quite a few things about leading a team to championships, having played at Alabama and having lost just two games as a starting quarterback. Hurts now has a second chance after being benched for Tua Tagovailoa. Oklahoma will once again have a dynamic offense that will look to carry it through the Big 12 and into the College Football Playoff for the fourth-straight season.

Prediction: 11-1 (loss to Texas)

Texas

2018 Record: 10-4

2018 Offensive Ranks: 31.1 PPG (5th in the Big 12), rushing yards per game 153.1 (8th in the Big 12), 258.5 passing yards per game (6th in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 25.9 PPG allowed (4th in the Big 12), 131.4 rushing yards per game (2nd in the Big 12), 261.4 passing yards per game (7th in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Sam Ehlinger, WR Collin Johnson

Defensive Key Returners: S Brandon Jones

Toughest Games: Sept. 7 vs LSU, Oct. 26 at TCU, Nov. 29 vs Texas Tech

Texas made its first run at returning to greatness in 2018 and with star quarterback Sam Ehlinger returning after a 41-touchdown campaign the Longhorns have a shot to build on a 10-win season under Tom Herman a season ago.

The Longhorn offense was fantastic a year ago and an impressive win over Georgia at the end of the season gives the Longhorns some confidence entering 2019. Texas has a tough schedule that includes LSU in Week 2 and the annual Red River Shootout with Oklahoma to contend with. The Longhorns will also face TCU.

If Texas can navigate those three games, the Longhorns may be on the bubble when it’s time to select the college football playoff field.

Prediction: 10-2 (Losses to LSU and TCU)

West Virginia

2018 Record: 8-4

2018 Offensive Ranks: 40.3 PPG (2nd in Big 12), 160.9 rushing yards per game (5th in the Big 12), 351.3 passing yards per game (2nd in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 27.2 PPG allowed (5th in the Big 12), 147.7 rushing yards per game (4th in the Big 12), 259.0 passing yards per game (6th in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Austin Kendall (Transfer), WR Marcus Simms

Defensive Key Returners: LB VanDarius Cowan

Toughest Games: Oct. 5 Texas, Oct. 19 at Oklahoma, Nov. 23 Oklahoma State

West Virginia enters 2019 after a disappointing 8-4 season a year ago. The Mountaineers had a ton of talent, including quarterback Will Grier and found it hard to get past some of the top teams in the Big 12.

Enter in new coach Neal Brown who comes from a history of winning, having led Troy to three consecutive 10-win seasons and Brown is all of a sudden a coach of interest in the Big 12. Expect the Mountaineers to name Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall their starting quarterback and rely more so on the run than in past seasons.

The Mountaineers will have their work cut out for them with a tough schedule and a young roster, so expect some growing pains for WVU in 2019.

Prediction: 6-6 (Losses to Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU)

Iowa State

2018 Record: 8-5

2018 Offensive Ranks: 26.8 PPG (7th in the Big 12), 130.1 rushing yards per game (10th in the Big 12), 240.9 passing yards per game (7th in the Big 12)

2018 Defensive Ranks: 22.9 PPG (Led the Big 12), 115.0 rushing yards per game (Led the Big 12), 234.2 passing yards per game (2nd in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Brock Purdy, WR Deshaunte Jones

Defensive Key Returners: DE JaQuan Bailey, LB Marcel Spears Jr.

Toughest Games: Sept. 14 Iowa, Oct. 19 at Texas Tech, Nov. 9 at Oklahoma, Nov. 16 Texas

Iowa State unraveled its second straight eight-win season a year ago and it returns 16 starters from last year’s team. The Cyclones’ defense was the best in the Big 12 last year and with eight starters returning including sack master JaQuan Bailey and a great linebacker in Marcel Spears, the Cyclones defense could be lethal again.

The Cyclones offense was led by quarterback Brock Purdy who returns for his sophomore season after throwing for 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman. The Cyclones’ face a brutal month starting mid-October, where they will face Texas Tech and Oklahoma and Texas later in back-to-back games. The Cyclones may pull a big upset or two in 2019 and a prestigious bowl game isn’t out of the question.

Prediction: 8-4 (Losses to TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas)

Baylor

2018 Record: 7-6

2018 Offensive Ranks: 29.5 PPG (6th in the Big 12), 169.1 rushing yards per game (4th in the Big 12), 290.0 passing yards per game (5th in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 31.7 PPG allowed (8th in the Big 12), 183.5 rushing yards per game (9th in the Big 12), 242.1 passing yards per game (3rd in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Charlie Brewer, C Sam Tecklenburg

Defensive Key Returners: DE James Lynch

Toughest Games: Sept. 28 Iowa State, Oct. 12 Texas Tech, Nov. 16 Oklahoma, Nov. 23 Texas

Baylor comes into 2019 with perhaps the most talented roster it has had under head coach Matt Rhule. The Bears finished 7-6 a year ago, but return starting quarterback Charlie Brewer who put up big numbers last season and proved to be a good dual-threat quarterback.

The Bears return 15 starters including all of their receivers except Jalen Hurd. The offense could see a significant jump and if the defense can improve, Baylor could be in store for a six or seven-win season.

Prediction: 6-6 (Losses to Iowa State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma, Texas)

TCU

2018 Record: 7-6

2018 Offensive Ranks: 23.5 PPG (9th in the Big 12), 156.2 rushing yards per game (7th in the Big 12th), 211.5 passing yards per game (8th in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 23.1 PPG allowed (2nd in the Big 12), 138.6 rushing yards per game (3rd in the Big 12), 199.6 passing yards per game (Led the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: WR Jalen Reagor, RB Sewo Olonilua

Defensive Key Returners: CB Jeff Gladney

Toughest Games: Oct. 26 Texas, Nov. 2 Oklahoma State, Nov. 23 Oklahoma 

TCU fought through a season where injuries ravaged what could have been an otherwise solid team a year ago. The Horned Frogs will have a new quarterback under center next season and Gary Patterson will look to led TCU in a season where it should be a strong contender in the Big 12.

If TCU can navigate the final month of the season where it has key games against Texas and Oklahoma, the Horned Frogs could reach a New Years Six Bowl. I believe that TCU is set for a comeback season.

Prediction: 9-3 (Losses to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma) 

Oklahoma State

2018 Record: 7-6

2018 Offensive Ranks: 38.4 PPG (3rd in the Big 12), 190.3 rushing yards per game (2nd in the Big 12), 309.8 passing yards per game (4th in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 32.5 PPG allowed (9th in the Big 12), 185.4 rushing yards per game (Last in the Big 12), 267.1 passing yards per game (8th in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: RB Chuba Hubbard, WR Tylan Wallace

Defensive Key Returners: CB A.J. Green, S Malcolm Rodriguez

Toughest Games: Sept. 21 at Texas, Oct. 5 at Texas Tech, Oct. 26 at Iowa State, Nov. 30 Oklahoma

Oklahoma State comes into the season having lost offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich to Ohio State. The Cowboys offense has been their calling card for the last decade and now a redshirt freshman quarterback, Spencer Sanders, enters the fold.

The Cowboys finished 7-6 a season ago and will look to improve defensively against the run where they were gashed by opponents. The Cowboys have a tough schedule that concludes with rival Oklahoma. Oklahoma State should reach a bowl game in 2019.

Prediction: 7-5 (Losses to Texas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma)

Texas Tech

2018 Record: 5-7

2018 Offensive Ranks: 37.3 PPG (4th in the Big 12), 132.6 rushing yards per game (9th in the Big 12), 352.6 passing yards per game (Led the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 31.1 PPG allowed (7th in the Big 12), 160.6 rushing yards per game (7th in the Big 12), 288.3 passing yards per game (8th in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Alan Bowman, WR T.J. Vasher

Defensive Key Returners: LB Jordyn Brooks

Toughest Games: Sept. 28 Oklahoma, Oct. 5 Oklahoma State, Oct. 19 Iowa State, Nov. 29 at Texas

Texas Tech enters 2018 in a very unique spot. Quarterback Alan Bowman enters his sophomore season after glimpse of greatness in the Air Raid offense last year, throwing for 2,638 yards and 17 TDs in just seven starts a season ago. He also broke Patrick Mahomes’ school and Big 12 single-game passing record with 605 yards against Houston.

The offense returns seven starters and the defense returns six. Texas Tech needs to improve against the pass and survive a key stretch in early October to contend in the Big 12.

Prediction: 8-4 (Losses to Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State and Texas)

Kansas State

2018 Record: 5-7

2018 Offensive Ranks: 22.5 PPG (Last in the Big 12), 182.6 rushing yards per game (3rd in the Big 12), 162.1 passing yards per game (Last in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 25.4 PPG allowed (3rd in the Big 12), 157.7 rushing yards per game (5th in the Big 12), 245.8 passing yards per game (4th in the Big 12).

Offensive Key Returners: QB Skylar Thompson

Defensive Key Returners: LB Justin Hughes

Toughest Games:  Sept. 28 at Oklahoma State, Oct. 19 TCU, Oct. 26 Oklahoma, Nov. 9 at Texas 

Kansas State enters 2019 with junior quarterback Skylar Thompson returning after a decent sophomore season as a dual-threat quarterback. The Wildcats will have their first season with someone other than Bill Snyder as the head coach.

Changes are coming in Manhattan and there are not many expectations for the Wildcats in 2019.

Prediction: 4-8 (Losses to Mississippi State, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State)

Kansas

2018 Record: 3-9

2018 Offensive Ranks: 23.8 PPG (8th in the Big 12), 158.6 rushing yards per game (6th in Big 12), 192.3 passing yards per game (9th in the Big 12).

2018 Defensive Ranks: 30 PPG allowed (6th in the Big 12), 171.8 rushing yards per game (8th in the Big 12), 246.8 passing yards per game (5th in the Big 12)

Offensive Key Returners: RB Pooka Williams, QB Thomas MacVittie

Defensive Key Returners: S Bryce Torneden

Toughest Games: Oct. 5 Oklahoma,Oct. 19 at Texas 

Kansas enters a new season with head coach Les Miles facing a difficult task of turning a team that hasn’t had any kind of success in the past decade into a winning program. Miles enters with a career record of 142-55 but the Jayhawks haven’t had much success on the football field.

Running back Pooka Williams Jr. had a stellar season in 2018, rushing for 1,184 yards and returns to man the Jayhawk backfield. Kansas will have a long road ahead if it is going to be relevant in the Big 12.

Prediction: 4-8 (Losses to West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor).

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma 45, Texas 39