Hit or Miss: Midseason review of the Big 12
It’s the midpoint of the college football season so it’s time to review what I got right and wrong in my preseason predictions as well as name some standouts and disappointments. Here’s the review of the Big 12.
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WHAT I GOT RIGHT
... I said Iowa State would lose four games, and the Cyclones are on track to do so. I was not as high as most people on them this year, and a lot of people accused me of being a hater. But I've been vindicated. A top 10 ranking was too high.
... I picked Kennedy Brooks to have a bounceback year and he has, pacing the Sooners in rushing and looking like the player he was in 2019 and then some.
... I was pretty sure that Obinna Eze would transition nicely from Memphis to TCU at offensive tackle, and I was spot on. He's been one of the top players at his position in the conference according to PFF, and has allowed only one sack in 131 pass-blocking snaps.
WHAT I GOT WRONG
... Like many others, I did not have much faith in Baylor, picking it to go 3-9. Well, the Bears have already surpassed that win total as they sit at 5-1 and are legit contenders in the conference.
... I wasn't very high on Oklahoma State. I thought the Cowboys would be just over .500, but they enter this week at 5-0 and ranked in the top 12. They're getting it done with smoke and mirrors, but they're getting it done nonetheless.
... Pretty much everything about OU's offense. I had Spencer Rattler as my MVP, and both the receivers and offensive line in my top position groups. I feel OK about the receivers, but Rattler has been benched and the line has been a sieve.
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas - This is among the easiest picks you'll find. Robinson has been an absolute stud for the Longhorns, and he is third in the nation in yards and leads the conference in total touchdowns. He's gotten better each week, and if Texas can run the table from here he has a chance to end up in New York for the Heisman trophy ceremony.
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma - While the Sooners' offense has not lived up to the hype (at least until this past weekend), their defense has picked up the slack, starting with Bonitto. He's graded out as PFF's third-best defensive player in the country, and he has 29 QB pressures, which tops the league. He's been a force off the edge all season.
Transfer of the Year: WR Kaylon Geiger, Texas Tech - Texas Tech is quietly having a nice bounceback year, and Geiger has been very strong for Matt Wells and company. He's up to fifth in the conference in receiving yards and receptions. The former Troy product is averaging more than 15 yards per catch and he has one of the best catch rates of anyone in the conference.
Offensive Freshman of the Year: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas - The conference's leader in receiving yards and touchdowns, Worthy is in line for an All-American nod as a true freshman. He's had one of the best receiving debuts we've seen in a very long time.
Defensive Freshman of the Year: DB Billy Bowman, Oklahoma - Not a whole lot to choose from here, but Bowman gets the nod as he's been the most consistent and has played the most snaps. He's allowing just over 50% of passes thrown his way to be completed, and has been asked to do a lot by defensive coordinator Alex Grinch in his first year on campus.
Coach of the Year: Dave Aranda, Baylor - You could make a very strong argument for Mike Gundy here, but Aranda has done an immaculate job of cleaning up this program and getting it into contention way faster than most people anticipated. The fact that the Bears are now in the conversation for making the conference championship game is almost surreal.
NFL Draft Stock Up: LB DeMarvion Overshown, Texas - He’s a bit undersized, but he’s quick twitch, he can cover and he’s very physical. He could be a safety at the next level or an undersized linebacker who can be in pass coverage packages.