This normally is a feature we unveil weeks prior to the season opener, but with five contributing writers now active here at BOTC, it proved to be a little more challenging than expected to get everyone on the same page.
But that's all in the past, so here's the long-awaited season-preview roundtable we've been promising.
Follow the jump for predictions from TB, Panjandrum, BracketCat, K.S.B. and Ahearn Alley regarding:
- Projected Overall Record
- Projected Conference Record
- Best Chance for an Upset
- Best Chance to Be Upset
- Team MVP
- Offensive MVP
- Defensive MVP
- Offensive Newcomer of the Year
- Defensive Newcomer of the Year
Projected Overall Record
Ahearn Alley: 7-5 (wins against the noncons, Baylor, Kansas, ISU, and a surprise)
BracketCat: 7-5 (losses to Miami, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas/Texas A&M)
Projected Conference Record
Ahearn Alley: 4-5
Panjandrum: 5-4 (Well, he wrote 5-3, but I'm assuming no sane person thinks we will go 6-3 against the Big 12.)
Best Chance for an Upset
Ahearn Alley: Texas
Panjandrum: Texas A&M
BracketCat: Missouri (if you consider that an upset)
Best Chance to Be Upset
Ahearn Alley: Baylor (because Robert Griffin III can win games by himself)
Panjandrum: Baylor (Tough to call that a real "upset", but it's a home game, so I'm going with it.)
K.S.B.: Collin Klein
Ahearn Alley: Collin Klein
TB: Collin Klein
Panjandrum: Collin Klein
BracketCat: Angelo Pease
K.S.B.: Arthur Brown
Ahearn Alley: David Garrett
TB: David Garrett
Panjandrum: Arthur Brown
BracketCat: Arthur Brown
Offensive Newcomer of the Year
K.S.B.: Bryce Brown
Ahearn Alley: Bryce Brown
TB: Bryce Brown
Panjandrum: Angelo Pease
BracketCat: Angelo Pease
Defensive Newcomer of the Year
K.S.B.: Arthur Brown
Ahearn Alley: Arthur Brown
TB: Arthur Brown
Panjandrum: Arthur Brown
BracketCat: Arthur Brown
My analysis consists of pretty much "chalk", as it were. From what I've been reading, a prediction of 7-5/6-6 is pretty much what most people are saying. I base getting there on losing to Miami, which is looking like more of a win, which would bump me up to a perhaps overly optimistic 8-4 prediction.
The game at KU really scares me for some reason. It's the second year in a row in Lawrence, but that didn't help them much last year, so that can't be it. I guess maybe it's just the pessimist in me coming out.
The rest of it seems pretty obvious to me, particularly the Brown brothers as newcomers of the year on offense and defense, and Arthur as defensive MVP.
I'm sure my selection of Klein as overall MVP and offensive MVP might be less than unanimous, though. I just can't get past that UT game last year, and the potential he flashed in the spring.
We're going to see a lot of new faces on the offense, but it seems like there's still enough talent (and enough tricks in Bill Snyder's bag) to make it run fairly smoothly and put up some big numbers.
Junior Braden Wilson won't be doing anything flashy or putting up many of those numbers, which is why I didn't want to make him my offensive MVP.
But with an inexperienced offensive line that has a whole lot of meshing to do, Wilson's proven ability to clear holes for Brown, Klein, or anyone else with the football in their hands is going to be absolutely essential.
Is it a stretch to make him team MVP? Sure. But I'm just not ready to give it to anyone who took part in that defense last year or any of the offensive skill players who didn't even start the majority of games.
I'd love to be able to give postseason MVP honors to Arthur Brown, who hopefully can turn K-State's defense from an uninhibited superhighway for opposing running backs to something at least respectable.
Even if Collin Klein can show the passing potential that many believe he has, it's really the defensive unit that will have to turn a corner if K-State's going to pull off any surprises or finish in the top half of the Big 12.
Well, we might be able to beat Texas anyway, I guess. The point is, this defense has a lot to prove. Count me among the skeptics. A final thought: David Garrett gets the MVP nod partially because he was so under-appreciated for most of last season. All he does is tackle people.
I guess I'll play the pessimist of the bunch. Too much time reading the national pundits.
Or maybe that's just my M.O. Longtime readers, not to mention Pan and Bracket, can attest that my preseason expectations usually are the lowest of the bunch.
And while I see the tools for the offense to be just as prolific as last year, I also can't help but have my doubts about the replacement for Daniel Thomas at running back, Collin Klein's ability to throw against an actual defense (our second string doesn't count), the health of Brodrick Smith and Tramaine Thompson, and most of all, the depth at offensive line.
And that's to say nothing of the defense, which even with modest improvement will be one of the worst in the league and toward the bottom nationally.
Now, I actually do think we go 3-0 in the non-conference, with a win at depleted Miami. But once we get into Big 12 play, I can't predict a win over anyone other than Baylor, KU and Iowa State.
The optimist in me looks at Ahearn's picks and thinks there's a pretty good chance we pull a surprise somewhere and get to 7-5 (4-5), but I don't see one game where I can pull the trigger on that.
I guess this would be a good point at which to explain why I chose the No. 1 team in the country as my upset pick. While the odds that we actually pull one out against the Sooners are remote, I have a few reasons.
First, the game is in Manhattan, and we should have a good atmosphere for it.
Second, if the Sooners have a weakness, it's their defense, and in particular, their run defense. I know, I know, even if it is a supposed weakness at the elite level, it's still probably more than adequate to stop K-State.
But K-State's ground game should be its strength and, if it turns out the Sooners struggle to stop the run, the Cats have a fighting chance.
Finally, OU's offense will be prolific, but it's going to be based on a passing attack. K-State was most vulnerable to the run last season, and with a solid linebacking corps and defensive backfield, there's at least a chance we could slow the Sooners down. A little. Maybe enough. Probably not, but maybe.
I think this season is going to be a pretty good one. Offensively, I think KSU has a lot of weapons, especially in the backfield, that they can use to really win some games. The fact that we'll be able to run the football well should help mitigate what is anticipated to be an average-at-best defense.
I think most people think that OU, OSU and A&M are the class of the league this year, but I think KSU can beat Aggie at home because, well, beating Aggie is something we've done well lately.
Also, I think that game has the potential to be a pretty vicious one at BSFS, given how much we've grown to hate them in the past year for being Aggie.
In terms of being upset, there aren't many games on the schedule that look like we'll be really favored too greatly, and there aren't many "middle-of-the-road" games, so I'll go with Baylor. I think KSU should be able to beat them at home, and if they don't, I'd be surprised and upset.
One of the things I'll say is that I believe in Collin Klein. I saw a lot of things out of his prep video that I liked, and obviously, I was very much on his bandwagon last year due to his ability to run the football.
Until proven otherwise, I think the offense will do well under him, and I think his ability to run, as well as who will be running with him, gives us a lot of options in the backfield and one of the most potent running games in the Big 12.
On defense, I'm going to say that Arthur Brown will be our MVP. I just have a gut feeling that the guy is going to be a tackling machine. It's really hard because I want to say Ty Zimmerman, but I'll go with Arthur due to the fact that being a hyper-athletic linebacker could mean some very gaudy tackle numbers.
I'm somewhere in between TB and Panjandrum in terms of guarded optimism. A lot of people are jumping on the we'll-beat-Miami-now bandwagon, but they'll only have three players suspended. That's still a talented team.
I don't see any way we lose fewer than four conference games, but I think we can keep it at four. Our history against the Texas twins suggests we'll get either Ron Prince Stomp Redux in Austin or an upset win over aTm.
Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State are must-wins if we want to get back into a bowl game without having to log crazy upsets against a team from Oklahoma. Texas Tech is winnable, but we've been a pretty bad road team for the past seven years or so (especially in Lubbock). Winning at both KU and Texas would be monumental for us.
However, seeing what Baylor did Friday night to TCU scares the crap out of me. Even with only two returning starters, TCU's defense should have been light-years ahead of ours. Looks like we're destined for another shootout with the Bears. On the flip side, Missouri's injury woes have me convinced that streak will end at five.
Arthur Brown and Angelo Pease are the two players I highlighted. The first is obvious; the second is flying under the radar, but shouldn't be. He's a faster, slightly less physical version of Daniel Thomas, only without the academic problems causing him to miss most of fall camp.
I think the Cats will be potent on offense (Klein will surprise the national pundits and Tyler Lockett will become a household name by October), but that defense still will be a concern. It'll be better, but I don't know if it will be enough to win some of those tough road games we've got lined up. Look for 7-5ish and a minor bowl game.
How do you think the Cats will fare in conference play?
6-3 or better (21 votes)
5-4 (30 votes)
4-5 (40 votes)
3-6 or worse (24 votes)
115 total votes