Texas Tech has struggled to stop the run during Kliff Kingsbury's tenure in Lubbock
It has been anything but a quiet offseason for the Big 12. Shifting the focus to on-field matters, here are the most important or interesting stats to know for the 10 Big 12 teams to help get you ready for the upcoming season.
Related: Big 12 Football 2016 Predictions
26: Baylor NFL Draft picks in eight seasons under Art Briles
The once-lowly Bears produced a grand total of six NFL Draft picks in the eight years prior to Briles’ arrival. College football junkies showered accolades on Briles for his offensive acumen, but the program’s biggest strides under his watch came in the talent department. With six draftees in 2016, the Bears will have to fill the shoes of some coveted prospects this fall.
47%: Opponents’ third-down conversion rate versus Iowa State in 2015
Of the Cyclones’ numerous problems last season, the defense’s inability to get off the field was among the biggest. ISU ranked in the bottom 10 in the country in preventing opposing teams from converting on third down. Cutting this number significantly this year will offer a sign that the ‘Clones are on the right track under new leadership.
1.5: Vegas’ over/under for Kansas' total number of wins in ‘16
The Jayhawks slogged through a winless campaign a year ago, so just getting head coach David Beaty his first victory would represent progress. Cashing the over ticket might sound like a pipe dream, but KU has reasons for optimism, starting with gritty quarterback Ryan Willis and tackling machine Fish Smithson at defensive back. A light non-conference schedule should help the cause, too.
17 out of 23: Years in which Kansas State has made a bowl during Bill Snyder’s two stints as head coach
At 77, it wouldn’t shock many in Big 12 country if Snyder decided to call it quits at the end of the year. Adding an 18th appearance in a bowl game in 24 seasons would make a fitting way to go out for the architect of the greatest program turnaround in history.
32%: Sterling Shepard's share of Oklahoma's receiving yards in 2015
The Sooners have a number of important pieces back from last season’s Big 12 title and College Football Playoff run, but Shepard will cast a rather large shadow over the receiving corps this season. The fact that he accounted for nearly a third of OU’s receiving yardage shows his value to the passing game. Now, Baker Mayfield has to either find a new security blanket or count on an array of wideouts to make up for No. 3’s absence.
114: Oklahoma State's national ranking in yards per rushing attempt
The Cowboys’ rushing attack has lost some major pop lately, and last season marked a major low point. The Pokes churned out a meager 3.6 yards per attempt, which put stress on QB Mason Rudolph and the passing game to keep the chains moving. An experienced offensive line might help OSU push the pile forward a little more this season.
0: Number of college snaps taken by Texas' presumed starting quarterback, Shane Buechele
New offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert has a couple of experienced options to run Texas’ offense in QBs Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard. However, it sounds as though Buechele might be the future and the present at the position for embattled head coach Charlie Strong. Starting a true freshman under center rarely bears fruit right away, but it might be the best of a bad lot for Texas this fall.
-21: The difference in turnovers gained by TCU from 2014 to ‘15
The Horned Frogs didn’t have quite the same sting on D last season as in years past. The dramatic decline in forced turnovers from the previous season, from 40 to 19, spoke to TCU’s inability to make the opposing team pay for mistakes.
106: Texas Tech’s average national ranking in yards allowed per rush under Kliff Kingsbury
Defense in general really hasn’t be a strong suit for the Red Raiders in about 20 years. Tech has carried on that tradition under Kingsbury, who could use some wins this year to ease supporters’ concerns about the future. In particular, the Raiders need to figure out a way to keep from routinely getting mauled on the ground.
214: Combined tackles of West Virginia’s starting linebackers in 2015
The Mountaineers lost a number of quality defensive players at the end of last season. WVU’s ultra-active linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski, Shaq Petteway and Jared Barber are leaving an especially glaring hole in the second line of what was a salty D. West Virginia isn’t good enough offensively at the moment to make up for a severe regression on the other side of the ball.
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.