We're starting to see the college football polls come out and odds being set in Vegas. The preview magazines, talk shows and talking heads have all had their say.
All we need to do now is kick off another ho-hum season that is sure to have very few surprises and play out exactly how we think it will, right?
You know that's not how this works.
For better or worse, it's time once again for some OUTRAGEOUS* college football predictions as the 2018 season approaches.
Rounding out our conference series is the Big 12. We saw a lot of star power walk out the door after last season -- including the Heisman Trophy winner. That mass exodus of talent combined with some up-and-coming new blood in the talent pool is sure to make for a wild race in the Big 12.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for the Big 12 in 2018
Kansas starts off 4-0
Despite this program's recent struggles, there is some low-key talent on the roster -- especially on offense. They've got a lot of options in the backfield at both quarterback and running back, some talented, experienced receivers and a couple of returning starters on the offensive line. Defensively, the Jayhawks field a unit full of upperclassmen, including some future NFL players in defensive lineman Daniel Wise and linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. They'll take down Nicholls State, Central Michigan, and Rutgers and then pull off a slight upset at Baylor to start the year.
Oklahoma State goes .500 or worse
For starters, the Cowboys lost three starters on the offensive line. That's a problem for any program. On top of that, they watched the most prolific pass-and-catch duo in school history -- Mason Rudolph and James Washington -- walk out the door. They also are implementing a new defensive scheme in which they don't yet have the ideal personnel to execute. On paper, this team might only be better than four teams on its schedule: Missouri State, South Alabama, Kansas and Baylor.
Iowa State wins 10 games
Something big is happening in Ames. There hasn't been this much excitement around the Cyclones program in a long time. They have a solid quarterback, an elite running back and an elite receiver back on offense. They have some serious talent returning on the offensive line. They have the core of a defense that only allowed 21 points per game back. Perhaps most importantly, they have the energy and swagger of their young head coach, Matt Campbell. The Cyclones will be able to matchup up athletically with every team on the schedule not named Oklahoma, and even then, their coach is good enough to make up a lot of that difference. Look for this team to drop just three regular-season games and win a bowl game.
Texas enters October with a losing record
Tom Herman is doing his best, but the Longhorns are still a work in progress. There just isn't a whole lot of experience on either side of the ball at this point, and Herman continues to tweak his staff. They should be good enough to beat a Maryland team going through a lot off the field right now. After that, they'll host a Tulsa squad that shouldn't be able to hang with them. From there, things get dicey in September. They'll host USC and TCU -- two serious contenders for their respective conference titles -- and then travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to play Bill Snyder's Wildcats. If Herman can pull three wins out of those first five games, I'll be impressed.
TCU wins the Big 12
Gary Patterson has quietly assembled one of the most talented groups of skill players in the country. They'll be led by quarterback Shawn Robinson, who is pure electricity at quarterback -- both on the ground and through the air. He'll be protected by what should be an improved line littered with upperclassmen. The Horned Frogs will be one of more athletic defensive units in the country as well. They get their three toughest conference opponents -- Iowa State, Oklahoma and Kansas State -- at home. Look for TCU to do enough to get into the Big 12 title game and subsequently win it.
*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as “wildly exaggerated or improbable,” and “very bold, unusual, and startling.” These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.