5 Preseason Big XII Takes Compared with the Midseason Reality – By Lee Wakefield

I’m back again, warming you all up for another big day of college football with another look back at what I predicted prior to the season getting underway – Today I’m looking at the Big XII and there are a few surprises in here.

Let’s get to it!

Take 1 – The Big XII is known for bad defense

This was one that I had down as a given when I wrote my preview back in mid August. However, I feel like I’ve been proven wrong on this score, quite badly in some places. Oklahoma have a great defense and Alex Grinch had the Sooners D flying all over the field last week in the Red River Rivalry game, Texas also played some great defense in that game. Although I guess the biggest surprises for me are both Iowa State, who have conceded no more than 26 points in a game all season (despite being in the Big XII) and even in their two loses they conceded 18 points to Iowa and 23 to Baylor… Which brings me on to my other surprisingly good defense, the Baylor Bears, the 6-0 Baylor Bears to give them their full title. Maxwell, our usual Big XII writer detailed this beautifully here. Really recommend reading that one boys and girls.

Take score – 4/10

Take 2 – Oklahoma are the team to beat

You have to make the easy ones folks.

Yes, Oklahoma have won the last four Big XII championships and they’ve won twelve Big XII championships overall, so calling them the team to beat isn’t a ballsy call but it was correct.

Oklahoma look incredible and have blown out all of their opponents aside from maybe Texas last week, albeit, I do believe the final score could and probably should have been by a wider margin than it was.Oklahoma have one ranked opponent left to face in the Big XII this season and that is the aforementioned Baylor Bears – If Jalen Hurts and the offense has a day against one of the best defenses in college football, it’ll go some way to warming them up for the college football playoff – where they’ll finally face some opponents on the same level as themselves.

Oklahoma is going unbeaten this year, just as I’ve said all along.

Take score – 10/10

Take 3 – Jalen Hurts to win the Heisman whilst rushing for more than Kyler Murray’s 1,001 yards

All this Oklahoma talk brings me on to their QB, Jalen Hurts. Hurts has been fantastic all year. He has improved his accuracy and his decision making, last week in the red zone notwithstanding and he looks absolutely locked in both on and off the field. Hurts wasn’t thought of as an NFL talent previously, but now, he’s executing at an extremely high level both through the air and on the ground. Hurts has gone from Alabama reject to Heisman candidate and borderline first round pick. If it wasn’t for Joe Burrow and his performances, Hurts would be the clear favourite.

In terms of the rushing numbers, Hurts is on course to eclipse Murray’s rushing numbers from last year, with 630 yards through 6 games at 8.5 YPC. Hurts won’t throw for over 4,000 yards but he may end up with more all purpose yards than Murray did last year, which would be some achievement. 

Take score – 8/10

Take 4 – Lucas Niang and Creed Humphrey are the best tackle and interior lineman in the conference

This is held up pretty well. Niang is one of the best tackles in the class, last year he didn’t allow a sack and only allowed 7 pressures, which included stonewalling Nick Bosa and Chase Young last year. The giant TCU tackle is again having a great year and is cementing himself as a top 15 pick.

Creed Humphrey was the only starter that Oklahoma returned this year and despite leading a completely new offensive line, he’s elevated his play and the play of those around him. I may even rank Humphrey above the other star center in this draft class, Tyler Biadasz.

Take score 8/10

Take 5 – Baylor won’t be very good

As I said before, Baylor have one of the best defenses in the whole of college football and have a record of 6-0 so far this season. I had Baylor down for a 7-5 record this year and unless there is some sort of collapse, they’ll go way beyond that record. Tonight, the Bears face another team who I didn’t have down to do so well, Oklahoma State, who I had down for just 3 wins… Another L for me here too since the Cowboys already have 4.

Take Score – 0/10

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Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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