Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bilo's College Football 2017 Buy/Sell Report: Big 12

The Big 12 Spring season ended last week with Bayor and Kansas State completing their spring practices, so I now have a general idea of what I am expecting to see as we head into fall camp in August for the 2017 season in this conference. Here are the teams that I am buying in on, and who I am selling off:

The Buy List (At least eight wins in 2017)

Kansas State: We are getting close to the end of the Bill Snyder era at Kansas State, as he had a significant health issue this off-season. He will be back coaching the Wildcats in 2017, but is this going to be his final run at K State? That remains to be seen, but as long as he is running the show, you can expect the Wildcats to play above their talent base. Kansas State may be the fourth best team in the league, and will not likely push the leaders, but they are good enough to grab another eight wins in 2017 and head to a decent bowl.

Oklahoma: Despite losing Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, as well as DeDe Westbrook to the NFL, they still have Baker Mayfield fresh off of his off-field shenanigans this spring. If he can get himself back to being focused, Oklahoma can reload from their losses and compete for a national title and a Big 12 championship. If the focus is not there, they could slide, but I believe that OU is the fifth best team in the nation heading into fall camp.

Oklahoma State: The best news ever for Cowboys fans was that both Mason Rudolph and James Washington are returning to form one of the most dynamic pass/catch duos in the nation. This is one of the most talented teams in Stillwater in the last decade, and they have every shot at pushing Oklahoma for a Big 12 title, and if they do that, they could be in for a final four run themselves.

TCU: The Horned Frogs were on the verge of being a sell for me in 2017, but I believe in Gary Patterson and his staff just enough to believe that last season was a blip on the radar in Fort Worth, and I have to believe that they get back to at least eight win territory in 2017. I may be expecting just a bit too much, but I am shooting high on the Frogs.

West Virginia: As much as a I ragged on the Big 12 last season, the top three teams in the league could be as tough as any other top three teams in the Power Five conferences in 2017. West Virginia made a major, and necessary turn last fall, and they get a transfer QB in Will Grier that may light it up for the Mountaineers. This team could push both Oklahoma State and the Sooners for the Big 12 title in 2017, and should they come out on top, it could be them that challenges for a national playoff spot.

The Sell List (Seven wins or less in 2017)

Baylor: I don't have to go on about what a mess this program is, as we all know the stories all too well by now. Matt Rhule was a very strange hire for this program. Not that I don't believe in him, and he has hired a Texas experienced staff, but he has to sell this program as a leader, and he personally has no experience in the state. That will be an issue at the end of the day. The mess in Waco is going to get worse before it gets better.

Iowa State: I saw a lot to like from Matt Campbell's squad in 2016, despite the record. This team played with grit and determination, and fell just short of what would have been some very nice wins. This may be the last year I sell on the Cyclones, as I feel that Campbell is getting very close to making this team into one that will scare the entire league in a year or two.

Kansas: As hyped as I am about the future of Iowa State, there is nothing that has me, or anyone outside of Lawrence, buzzing about this program. I still feel that the David Beaty hire was a mess, and he is now just 1-18 in Big 12 play. This era is no better than the Turner Gill era, or the Charlie Weis era for that matter, and I do not see where the energy is going to come from. Kansas is better than this as a university, and they have the resources to do something about it, but they aren't.

Texas: I will be the first one to say it out loud. I am not overly sold on Tom Herman. I think he is a ton of talk, and a whole lot of hype right now. Maybe Texas needs some energy, but I would have come in a bit more grounded. Houston was a complete disappointment last season in his final season there, and even though there is talent on the roster, I want to know how last season's lack of focus at Houston translates to what will happen in Austin with this program. I need to see a lot less talk and a lot more action before I buy in to the Horns here.

Texas Tech: Why Kliff Kingsbury is still the coach in Lubbock is well beyond my ability to understand. This program has never turned a corner under his guidance, and as a matter of fact, it hit a wall and is reeling backwards. He had Patrick Mahomes III last season and still could not get it done. There is no run game, and they have one of the worst defenses that I have ever seen, and I have been around a long time. There is no way that this program gets it done, and Kingsbury should be shown the door. What he calls coaching football is an insult to the game.

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