Every season of college football starts out the same way. We have all of these things that we think are knowns — lead-pipe locks as one popular radio host calls them. Then, by midseason, we're all wrong, sitting around wondering what happened to all that we thought was written in stone.
It shouldn't surprise us, considering that we are dealing with young men in their late teens and early 20s, but it always does.
Talk to almost anyone in the country — fan or media member — and they'll all probably tell you the same thing about the Big 12 Conference in 2015: It's a two-team race between non-traditional powers. They'll tell you that the winner of the game between Baylor and TCU will probably end up in the College Football Playoff on the back of an outright conference title and likely an undefeated record. That sounds like reason enough to make some outrageous predictions about the Big 12 that go against the grain in 2015.
Kansas won't win a single game
First-year head coach David Beaty has a serious uphill climb in 2015. The cupboard was left bare and his roster is made of guys who had little else but Group of Five offers to play FBS football. There are underclassmen all over the field on both sides of the ball — many of them with very little playing experience. They won't play a game all year where they have more talent than the opponent, including the opener against FCS power South Dakota State. It'll be one of the longest seasons in Lawrence in a long time — and that's saying a lot.
Iowa State will be bowl eligible
Unlike Kansas, Iowa State returns a wealth of experience and upperclassmen throughout the depth chart. They also have a fairly manageable non-conference schedule, highlighted by an Iowa team that the Cyclones have been more than capable of competing with in recent years. They could be 5-0 by the time they play TCU and still have very winnable games against Kansas State and Oklahoma State on the schedule. And let's not rule out an upset at home over Texas.
Baylor will lose four games
There is a lot of hype around the Bears in 2015, but looking at how their ‘14 campaign ended, the writing is on the wall. The defense gave up more than five touchdowns an outing over the last four games — including the Cotton Bowl meltdown against Michigan State. The defense didn't magically improve over the past eight months, and the team's elite signal-caller from a season ago now gets dressed in the New York Jets’ locker room. In addition to TCU, Baylor is going to have a rough go of it in games with Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia — all of whom should be considerably better teams than they were a season ago.
Aaron Green, not Trevone Boykin, will get an invite to the Heisman ceremony
TCU became a more dangerous and complete team after Green took over as the primary ball carrier. The former 5-star recruit from 2011 transferred in from Nebraska a couple of years ago after he couldn't wrestle the starting role away from some guy named Ameer Abdullah. Green put up a total of 607 yards on the ground in six games from Nov. 1 through the Peach Bowl. He averaged nearly 6.4 yards per carry in that stretch and looks like he could be the Horned Frogs’ very own version of Ezekiel Elliott.
Oklahoma will win the Big 12
Bob Stoops didn't forget how to coach or recruit overnight. The Sooners are loaded with as much talent as any team in the conference. They boast two of the conference’s most explosive offensive playmakers and are anchored on defense by what is arguably the Big 12's best front seven. They play TCU to open conference play and will be the stiffest competition the Horned Frogs will have played since opening the season against Minnesota. They get Baylor at home on Nov. 8 and should be favored in every other game on the conference schedule.