Here are the most important and interesting stats you need to know about the Big 12 in 2015:
4: Top 15 finishes between 1961-2010 for
Between 1961 and 2010, the Baylor Bears finished ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll just four times. The No. 9 postseason ranking in 1951 had been the best finish in school history until last year. Over the last four seasons, the Bears have finished in the top 15 three times, including a program-best No. 7 ranking last fall.
6-foot-4: Average height of the Cyclones' top three WRs
If there is an area of strength for Iowa State entering 2015 it’s the wide receivers. A trio of massive targets gives the Clones one of the best sets of pass catchers in the nation. Sophomore Allen Lazard (6-5, 218) stared in 12 games as a freshman last year. D’Vario Montgomery (6-6, 236) was the leading receiver last year and Quenton Bundrage (6-2, 195) returns from injury and might be the best of the group.
5: Returning starters for
Only UTSA (3) has fewer returning starters in the nation. Certainly, some of that might be addition by subtraction considering the record. However, it’s hard to replace your top three receivers, the left side of the offensive line and 10 of the top 13 tacklers, including the three best players on the unit. David Beaty was hired for his ability to rebuild a roster but it may take a while.
185 and 2,574: Combined receptions and yards from Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton
Tyler Lockett (106 rec., 1,515 yards) and Curry Sexton (79 rec., 1,059 yards) are the only two Kansas State receivers to ever top 1,000 yards in the same season and both are gone from Manhattan. The duo combined for 185 of the team’s 250 total receptions and 2,574 of the team’s 3,235 passing yards. Bill Snyder has big shoes to fill on the outside, especially without his quarterback or tight end as well.
371.9: East Carolina’s passing yards per game
Bob Stoops shook up his coaching staff after one of his worst seasons in Norman by hiring East Carolina’s Lincoln Riley to run the offense. The Pirates were third nationally last year in passing offense at 371.9 yards per game. Riley's offense completed 63.1 percent of its passes for 4,835 yards in 13 games. He is charged with picking a quarterback at Oklahoma that best fits the overhauled offense.
lowest scoring output of the Gundy era
The Cowboys scored just 20.2 points per game in 2005, Mike Gundy’s first as the head coach. Last fall, Oklahoma State scored its fewest points per game (27.6) since Gundy’s first season. In fact, until 2014, only once since then had the Pokes even averaged less than 34 points and that was in 2009 (28.4). With seven starters back on offense, including Mason Rudolph under center, Gundy’s squad should be back above 30 points per game in ’15.
5: All-Big 12 defensive selections no longer on
The Horned Frogs' biggest concern heading into what could be a magical year is the big voids left by the best defensive players on the team. Gary Patterson will be without the services of two first-team All-Big 12 picks in Paul Dawson and Chris Hackett and three second-team picks in Chucky Hunter, Sam Carter and Kevin White. TCU must replace the team’s best defensive lineman, the team’s best linebacker (and leading tackler) and three all-conference defensive backs.
5: Times Tyrone Swoopes' QB rating was under 100
Texas' Tyrone Swoopes finished his first full season under center with a quarterback rating of 116.46. That number ranked 90th in the nation behind players like LSU’s Anthony Jennings, Michigan's Devin Gardner and Virginia Tech’s Michael Brewer. Five times Swoopes failed to post a QB rating of at least 100 and his play has to improve for the Horns to have any chance in the Big 12.
penalty yards per game
Two signs of an undisciplined team are turnovers and penalties. Texas Tech hasn’t been good at either since Kliff Kingsbury’s arrival. The Red Raiders finished 128th — that’s last — in the nation with 89.2 penalty yards incurred per game. Baylor (9.8) was the only team in the nation charged with more penalty flags per game than Tech’s 9.3. Tech was 117th in giveaways as well with 28.
average passing yards per season under Dana Holgorsen
Clint Trickett was much better than expected for West Virginia last season, leading the Mountaineers offense to 4,121 total yards. It was the third time in four years that Dana Holgorsen’s offense tallied more than 4,100 yards in a season. Over his four years, WVU has averaged 4,015 yards passing per game — a number brought down by the well-below average 3,145-yard season in 2013. In the three years prior to Holgorsen’s arrival, the Mountaineers threw for 2,403 yards per season.