Why Big 12 teams make the College Football Playoff

Joe Broback
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Remember when the Big 12 was done? They couldn’t make the playoff, and the conference was falling apart. Now, they’ve made the last two playoffs and produced two of the best quarterbacks in college football those two years. Things have changed for this conference. There are also things that aren’t new. Defense still isn’t played in this conference, and the offenses are just as lethal as ever.

OTHERS: Sun Belt, CUSA, MW, AAC, IND, PAC 12, B1G, ACC, SEC

Oklahoma Sooners

If someone’s going to make the playoff from the Big 12, it’s Oklahoma. They’ve done it the last two years, and produced two Heisman Trophy winners in the process. Lincoln Riley’s team is loaded again, and the Sooners are the team to beat. Jalen Hurts takes over at quarterback, and will face defenses not nearly as good as the ones he saw in the SEC. Oklahoma’s path to the playoff is blocked seemingly by just Texas and Iowa State.

Kansas Jayhawks

Hey, at least Les Miles will make losing interesting.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Matt Wells must fix what Kliff Kingsbury couldn’t. Maybe it wasn’t broken since Kingsbury got a head coaching job out of that situation. Wells comes to Lubbock from Utah State, where his Aggies exploded last year. Can he bring that same success to the Red Raiders program? We’ll wait to see for now.

Texas Longhorns

Oklahoma presents the biggest challenge for this team within the conference, but the Longhorns can’t look that far ahead. LSU appears on the schedule in Week 2, giving this team a make or break game. Win and the playoff is a possibility. Lose and it’s a tough road (maybe even impossible). Tom Herman’s program is ready to play, but can they be elite?

Kansas State Wildcats

Chris Klieman takes over for Bill Snyder, and that’s not an easy task. Klieman’s success at North Dakota State should give fans confidence that he can build something. It’s not going to happen overnight, but his track record is pretty good.

Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State finds themselves as a top tier team in the Big 12, which is new for them. Matt Campbell’s teams typically play the role of spoiler, and overachieve. It remains to be seen if they can make a playoff run (maybe a Big 12 title run) yet, but this is a team that makes things interesting every week.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Mike Gundy’s looking for answers. This could very well be a 6-6 team, and it seems that the Cowboys have underachieved a lot lately. They’ve only beaten rival Oklahoma two of the last 16 meetings, which isn’t a great trend. Tylan Wallace will be a threat for opposing defenses again this year, as long as the Cowboys can find a quarterback to get him the ball.

TCU Horned Frogs

Gary Patterson’s team seemingly needs just a quarterback. Get one to stand out and thrive, and the Horned Frogs are in business. Nearly every other position is set and returns experience. TCU’s nonconference schedule is less daunting than it was last year, which helps them get to conference play with confidence. No one should be surprised if TCU’s a tough team to beat this year.

Baylor Bears

Matt Rhule’s work to turn around Baylor’s program is incredible, and not just on the field. Fixing an image is tough to do, but Rhule has shown fans where his priorities lie. Now, he’s got a good football team to go with the off the field image. Baylor should head into conference play at 3-0, and it’s all up to them how high they go from there.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Dana Holgorsen made the right move by leaving for Houston. Last year, his team underachieved, and it’s highly likely he would get fired this year. It was time for both sides to move on. Enter Neal Brown from Troy. He’ll need some time to get the Mountaineers up and running, but it was a good time for a new coach to enter the picture.

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