2022 Last Word Big 12 Predictions

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The competition should be fierce in the Big 12 for the 2022 season. In fact, it should be the most competitive conference in college football. The gap between teams 1-9 is very small. And even the basement program of the conference is rising up, shrinking the competitive gap between last and second-to-last place. The SEC continues to boast (and who can blame them) about being the best conference in the land. But the 2022 SEC title race is about as predictable as the sun rising and setting every 24 hours. The Last Word staff was asked to make their Big 12 predictions for the upcoming season. The results are as about as all-inclusive as a four-meat sampler plate from Rejino Barbeque.

Big 12 Predictions

The Last Word writers made it clear that there are three programs that all stand a good chance to finish atop a wide-open Big 12. First place votes are noted in parenthesis.

  1. Baylor (5)
  2. Oklahoma (3)
  3. Oklahoma State (3)
  4. Texas
  5. West Virginia
  6. Kansas State
  7. Iowa State
  8. Texas Tech
  9. TCU
  10. Kansas

Going Inside The Numbers

The Big 12 is going to be giving off major ACC Coastal division vibes this year. In case you are unsure what that reference is, from 2013-2019 a different member team in the ACC Coastal division won the division title that year. Meaning each of the seven teams won the division title one time across those seven seasons. If you still feel like an old man who is trying to understand the music of the yutes today, it means to expand sheer chaos in the Big 12.

Top Three Teams A Cut Above The Rest

One thing that remained fairly consistent was the top three teams in the conference. Both Oklahoma schools did not receive any vote lower than third, while the Baylor Bears only garnered two votes lower than third (both were for fourth). Baylor returns great continuity on both sides of the line (including NFL talent on both offensive and defensive lines) and is the defending Big 12 champion. Oklahoma State, while working in a new defensive coordinator, still has the best returning quarterback in the conference and could/should have been the defending Big 12 champions. Oklahoma, even with Brent Venables taking over for departed head coach Lincoln Riley, still has the fourth-best blue-chip ratio in the entire country. In layman’s terms, on paper, they have the fourth most talented roster in the country.

Texas Is Getting A New Head Coach Or Playing For The Title

After the top three, there was only one thing that was just as consistent. Kansas received all 11 votes to finish last in the Big 12 for what would be the 15th consecutive season. The Jayhawks still should be scrappy for much of Big 12 play. After all, in their first season under Lance Leipold, Kansas very easily could have finished off the season with wins against Oklahoma and TCU to go with their upset over Texas. The rest of the Last Word Big 12 predictions had their fair share of variety when it came to determining the order. However, one team, in particular, had the widest range of selections. The Texas Longhorns received votes to finish second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and as low as ninth. The most surprising team was West Virginia. The Mountaineers were picked to finish eight in the official Big 12 preseason poll, while the Last Word staff pegged them to finish fifth.

Big 12 Championship Predictions

While there were almost equal first-place votes spread out between three teams, it didn’t mean the champions were clear-cut. Three Last Word writers actually pegged the second-place finisher to win the Big 12 championship. All three of those writers selected Baylor to finish first in the conference, but lose to either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. This means Baylor only received two votes to defend their Big 12 crown. Oklahoma State garnered the second most votes with four. But even amongst all the changes that have happened in Norman, the Oklahoma Sooners received the most votes (five) to get back to the Big 12 mountain top.