Big 12 Conference Football Preview

Brian Vornberg kicks off his conference previews with the conference facing the most change going into the 2012 season. See who he thinks will come out on top, who will surprise and who is sure to disappoint.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Big 12 Conference Preview

With all of the moving, shaking and uncertainty that the Big 12 Conference has experienced recently, it is great to see the conference back in the spotlight where they should be; thanks to the addition of two powerhouse football programs in West Virginia and TCU.  Despite the losses of Missouri and Texas A&M and consisting of just ten teams this season rather than the indicated number of twelve, the Big 12 Conference should be more potent than ever.  Also, per usual for this conference, there will be plenty of offensive star-power to go around with guys like Landry Jones, Kenny Stills, Joseph Randle, Geno Smith, Collin Klein and Malcolm Brown all possessing All-American potential.  Look for a ton of shootouts and plenty of offensive fireworks once again from one of the nation’s premiere conferences.


Predicted Order of Finish:

1.     Oklahoma

2.     West Virginia

3.     Oklahoma State

4.     Texas

5.     TCU

6.     Kansas State

7.     Baylor

8.     Iowa State

9.     Texas Tech

10.  Kansas


All-Big 12


QB- Landry Jones, OKLAHOMA


RB- Lache Seastrunk, BAYLOR


WR- Terrence Williams, BAYLOR

TE- Travis Tannahill, KANSAS STATE


OL- Gabe Ikard, OKLAHOMA

OL- Leonard Johnson, OKLAHOMA


OL- Mason Walters, TEXAS

PK- Michael Hunnicutt, OKLAHOMA

KR- DJ Monroe, TEXAS


All-Big 12


DE- Jackson Jeffcoat, TEXAS

DT- Stansly Maponga, TCU

DT- Jordan Phillips, OKLAHOMA

DE- Alex Okafor, TEXAS

LB- Arthur Brown, KANSAS STATE


LB- Jake Knott, IOWA STATE

DB- Brodrick Brown, OKLAHOMA STATE

DB- Kenny Vaccaro, TEXAS

DB- Nigel Malone, KANSAS STATE

DB- Ty Zimmerman, KANSAS STATE




Team Most Likely to Surprise:

TCU – The Horned Frogs won’t be taking anybody by surprise this year and they won’t be winning the conference either.  However, don’t expect this team to finish in the bottom half of the league like some are predicting.  True, TCU did lose a wealth of defensive players and they are still feeling the loss of Andy Dalton some as well, but this team consistently over-achieves and out-performs even the loftiest of expectations.  Their first year in the mighty Big 12 could unveil some surprisingly great results.

Team Most Likely to Disappoint:

Oklahoma State – The Cowboys are being predicted by many to finish very near the top of the league this season.  These expectations, it seems, are solely based off of the last couple of years in which OSU has skyrocketed into the national spotlight mainly due to the otherworldly play of quarterback Brandon Weeden (now with the Cleveland Browns) and his teammate, wide receiver Justin Blackmon (now with the Jacksonville Jaguars).  We must remember that in 2012 the Cowboys are breaking in true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt who will feel the pressure to fill Weeden’s clown-sized shoes immediately, not to mention their defense is still pretty vulnerable along the front seven.

Best Offensive Player:

QB Landry Jones, OKLAHOMA Jones will come into this season as one of the overwhelming favorites to win the Heisman Trophy thanks to a bevy of talented options to throw to at wide receiver and a great offensive line in front of him.  He consistently throws for a ton of yards, piling up 4,463 last season to go along with 29 touchdowns.  The one thing that Jones has had some troubles with in the past is his decision-making which can be a burden at times.  If he can cut down on his interceptions just a bit this year he should walk away with a lot of hardware come season’s end.

Best Defensive Player:

DE Alex Okafor, TEXAS – You could probably just as easily plug in the Longhorns' other defensive end — Jackson Jeffcoat — here and no one would argue.  They are both extremely versatile, athletic defensive ends who simply man-handle their opponents at the point of attack.  I will give Okafor the nod purely due to higher overall natural instincts and talent.  Okafor combined with Jeffcoat for 14 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss overall.  The young Okafor also forced two fumbles and led the Longhorns (by a wide margin) in QB hurries with 13 of them in 2011.  The pure edge-rushing speed and technique that Okafor possesses is very hard to find and he will help to lead one of the better defenses in the country in 2012.   

First-Year Impact Player:

RB Lache Seastrunk, BAYLOR – After deciding to transfer from a loaded Oregon Ducks backfield last year, Lache Seastrunk could think of no better place than home.  After attending high school in nearby Temple, Texas, the former star recruit came back to the Lone Star state and now hopes to lead Art Briles and the Baylor Bears to continued success in the Big 12.  With Baylor’s question marks at the quarterback position for 2012, Seastrunk is sure to get a lot of touches and prove that he is worthy of the acclaim he established in high school after rushing for 4,217 yards and 52 touchdowns in his four years there.

Photo Credit:
By: Jackson Laizure
Getty Images Sport
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