College Football is now only three months away…not even that if you count Week Zero. The Big 12 Conference is setting up to be one of the most entertaining leagues in the nation with returning firepower for virtually every team. Oklahoma and Iowa State are set to be the top of the standings yet again, but what about the rest of the league? How will things shake out? Who will meet expectations, and who will exceed them? Will anyone fall flat? We have those answers for you today.
Here are our choices for who’s overrated, who’s underrated, and who will flop in the Big 12 in 2021:
This answer may surprise you, but it comes from a trend that I have watched over the last several years. TCU and Gary Patterson are always expected to shake things up in the conference, but more times than not come up short. For the last few seasons, they have had to fight for their bowl lives. This comes on the heels of them being one of the media darlings of preview magazines every single year. That will also be the case this year, and I honestly expect the same results. The Horned Frogs are going nowhere fast with their struggles on offense, and I don’t see a lot of their issues being resolved anytime fast in 2021. Expect Patterson’s Frogs to hover around the .500 mark despite being ranked as a top half of the conference team this summer.
Chris Klieman’s Kansas State Wildcats have been an oddity the last two seasons. Despite strong starts in both 2019 and 2020, they have faltered down the stretch both times. In 2020, they even finished with a losing record at 4-6 despite beating the Sooners in Norman. Something has to give for them, right? Back will be quarterback Skylar Thompson, which will be a tremendous help. Deuce Vaughn is also expected to be one of the best running backs in the conference. If they can get past some inexperience on defense, this team has a real shot to be in contention all the way into November. However, though their ceiling is considerably high, the floor for this team is always extremely low given the track record in Manhattan, Kansas. How will Kansas State hold up in 2021? Only time will tell, but don’t be shocked if they make some noise.
Who will flop?
How easy would it be for me to just put the Kansas Jayhawks here? Pretty damn easy, right? Well, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I am going to go with a team to the south of the Jayhawks in the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Matt Wells has been one of the weakest coaches in the entire nation since he was hired in 2019. His teams have been “meh” in Lubbock, and there was speculation that he was almost fired following the 2020 season. I don’t see Wells getting this ship turned around anytime soon, mostly due to lack of enthusiasm with him being the head coach. I expect Tech to go bowl-less once again in 2021, and for the Red Raiders to be on the search for a head coach next offseason. What a shame it will be for this team to completely waste Oregon transfer Tyler Shough’s talent this year.