“Failing to hold someone accountable is ultimately an act of selfishness.” – Patrick Lencioni. Here at Last Word, we are here for the people. So no selfishness for us! Before the 2022 season kicked off, everyone’s favorite Big 12 correspondent with Last Word offered up some zesty takes. The good news; none of them failed spectacularly. However, it doesn’t mean they all were correct. Out of the five, which of the 2022 Big 12 bold predictions were a direct hit and which were a “close, but no cigar”?
2022 Big 12 BOLD Predictions Revisited
Nine Teams Will Go Bowling
What does it say about the Big 12 that the team that finished last also finished fourth nationally in total defense? Iowa State very easily would have gone bowling if, quite literally, only three-to-four plays in two games go their way. West Virginia (more on them later) was the least competitive team in the conference, even though they finished with one more win than Iowa State. But just like the Cyclones, the Mountaineer’s fortunes could have been much different if they don’t volleyball set an interception in their week one game in the fourth quarter.
So, yes, this one was not correct. That said, our first of the 2022 Big 12 bold predictions highlighted just how closely contested played out weekly. Coming into the season, trying to pick the teams in this conference that would miss bowl season would have started and ended with a certain school in Lawerence, Kansas. But the Jayhawks had something else in mind for the 2022 football season.
Kansas Will Beat A Ranked Team This Season
When Kansas head coach Lance Leipold took over after coaching at Buffalo, expectations to turn this program into just a competitive football team ranged anywhere from three-to-four seasons. But there was evidence down the stretch of his first season in 2021 to think Kansas might be ahead of schedule. This included having a then-#10 Oklahoma Sooner team down by three in the fourth quarter of that season. So all of the ingredients were in the cupboard for the Jayhawks to finally take down a ranked opponent.
This season turned out to be a year of “…since 2008.” That included first-time bowling and taking down a ranked opponent. It was in week 10 of the season and Kansas was in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Enter the then-ranked #18 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Jayhawks defended their home field with a convincing 37-16 win. Sure, the Cowboys sputtered down the stretch and finished the season unranked. But that does not take away from the achievement of week ten and what it meant to Kansas.
West Virginia Wins Backyard Brawl
The Mountaineers had the college football world all to themselves as they kicked off the season on a Thursday night. They renewed one of the great rivalries of the sport squaring off against Pitt. In the latest edition of the Backyard Brawl, it was a back-and-forth game that West Virginia was leading 17-14 entering the fourth quarter. Pitt and West Virginia traded scores, and West Virginia took the field with under four minutes remaining as the score was tied at 31.
On the second play of the drive, Pitt intercepted college football journeyman JT Daniels and ran the interception back for 56 yards for the game-winning touchdown. West Virginia came close to answering the pick-six but came just short. This had the potential to really catapult West Virginia off to a great start. But here was another one of the 2022 Big 12 bold predictions that came up short.
Two Big 12 Running Backs Make All-American Team
Texas running back Bijan Robinson and Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn came into the year as two of the best players in all of college football. Both of them had high expectations entering the 2022 season and neither one of them disappointed. Robison landed on the first-team All-Big 12 team, while Vaughn was on the second team. However, the all-world running backs both found themselves on the All-American first team. Robinson was selected as the running back, while Vaughn was selected as an all-purpose player.
Both players were the focal points of each team’s offensive attack. And even with being game planned for weekly, they both put up tremendous numbers. Robison finished with 1580 rushing yards, 314 receiving yards, and 20 total touchdowns. Vaughn ended the year with 1558 rushing yards, 378 receiving yards, and 12 combined touchdowns. This bold prediction was nailed square on the head.
Sarkisian Wins Big 12 Coach of the Year
The Texas Longhorns had a good season, regardless of what some of the delusional fans might say. However, Texas never had a true statement win to give Steve Sarkisian real momentum to earn coach of the year honors. Sure, they delivered the biggest beatdown in the Red River showdown, but they needed to finish the job against Alabama to make this prediction come true. In the first half of the year, it appeared it was going to be Leipold’s to lose. But once the Jayhawks started sliding, the Hypnotoads became unavoidable.
TCU exceeded all expectations, even those that were held in the buildings of Fort Worth. After week 11, it was clear that Sonny Dykes was going to be the runaway winner. Not only did Dykes win the coach of the year honor in the Big 12, but he also won it nationally. All said and done, Last Word was two-of-five on the 2022 Big 12 predictions. Out of the three incorrect ones, really the coach of the year pick was the one furthest from holding true. But hey, going .400 gets one into the baseball hall of fame unanimously, so it’s safe to say this round of bold predictions was hall of fame worthy.
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