2013 Big 12 Football Simulated Preview From WhatIfSports.com image

2013 Big 12 Football Simulated Preview

We simulate the Big 12 football season

August 21, 2013

Using our college football simulation engine, WhatIfSports.com simulated thousands of college football games to create the 2013 Big 12 Preview. Team ratings, player ratings and depth charts are accurate as of August 19th. What you see in the Big 12 Predictions table is the most likely outcome based on the computer simulations. The team-by-team schedules use Absolute Records, which you can learn more about below. Those same game-by-game simulations also generate average points per game for both teams.

Big 12 Predictions
TeamWLOverall Record
Oklahoma State638-4
Texas Tech547-5
Kansas State457-5
West Virginia457-5
Iowa State365-7

To hide the details, click here.

For this analysis, thousands of college football games are simulated, with the sum of the winning percentages of those games being our final predicted record. As can be noted, sometimes a team is "favored" (wins more than 50% of the time) in a different number of our games than the expected record shows. We list this record as the Absolute Record. The assumption of the Absolute Record is that the more likely scenario always happens. Since we know that it does not, our expected record (in the table above) is far more accurate. Also, especially since we are rounding, it is possible for a team to win a game more often, yet score the same or fewer points on average. In those cases, for Absolute Records, we always take higher winning percentage and are not predicting a tie or a win by an underdog. This is another reason why the expected records are more accurate, as the teams are so evenly matched, the game could easily go either way.

Oklahoma State

Josh Stewart

The Cowboys didn't do a bad job in a rebuilding mode.

After coming oh so achingly close to playing for the 2011 national championship, the Cowboys had to replace several key pieces including the pitch-catch combination of Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon, a few of the defensive stars and most of the offensive line. This time around, the team has most of the personnel in place with 18 starters returning, but there's one key piece of the puzzle missing that everyone will keep their eye on.

His name is Mike Yurcich, and if recent history is any indication, he's about to get a big-time head coaching job.

Todd Monken went from the OSU OC to Southern Miss head man, and Dana Holgorsen became a star before going to West Virginia. Yurcich comes in from an impressive stint at D-II Shippensburg, where his offenses put up points and passing yards in bunches. Head coach Mike Gundy has an eye for talent, and with so many great players returning to the attack, if anything goes wrong, it'll be blamed on the new part of the puzzle.

Fortunately, there shouldn't be much to tinker with. The receiving corps is loaded with Josh Stewart the team's new pass catching superstar, and with an excellent supporting cast to be a part of the mix. Jeremy Smith and the running backs should be fine behind a nice-looking, underappreciated line, and no matter who's in at quarterback, the passing game will shine.

The defense should make some improvements, too, with a more attacking style under coordinator Glenn Spencer. The speed and athleticism are there across the board, and the strength and foundation are in place up the middle with one of the Big 12's best safety and tackle tandems to work around.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Oklahoma State Cowboys
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Mississippi State Bulldogs5726-25
2@Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners7332-23
3Lamar Cardinals9554-7
5@West Virginia Mountaineers6329-26
6Kansas State Wildcats5725-23
8TCU Horned Frogs4823-23
9@Iowa State Cyclones6529-23
10@Texas Tech Red Raiders5330-27
11Kansas Jayhawks8331-19
12@Texas Longhorns5026-25
13Baylor Bears4928-28
15Oklahoma Sooners5729-26


Bob Stoops

With a Big 12 title and a likely Fiesta Bowl trip on the line two years ago, the Sooners were obliterated by Oklahoma State. Last season, OU kept it close against Kansas State, but never really had control in the home loss, and was later outplayed by double digits in the loss to Notre Dame. In all, six of the last nine losses have come by nine points or more, with most of those ugly blowouts.

Okay, so what does Oklahoma have to do to get its mojo back?

First and foremost, it has to find an identity again. Whether it was the defense back in the early 2000s, or the high-octane offenses under Jason White and Sam Bradford, the team has to figure out what it wants to be.

Is it going to be physical and nasty? This year's O line is experienced and talented, but it's a front five full of technicians more than a bury-you-and-make-you-like-it unit. The defense is loaded with athletes and speed, but that didn't matter much last season as it couldn't do anything to get into the backfield and was steamrolled over way too easily.

Is it going to be dangerous with the ability to rock in shootouts? The receiving corps is in place and the talent is there on offense, but will the consistency follow? Can that skilled defense come up with enough key stops in big moments against the top teams a major problem last year?

Again, it seems crazy to try to fix something that really isn't all that broken Texas would kill for Oklahoma's last few seasons and there isn't too much to argue with considering Bob Stoops just came up with yet another Big 12 championship, but the standard was set so impossibly high under the first part of his tenure that 10-3 just isn't good enough anymore.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Oklahoma Sooners
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks8133-22
2West Virginia Mountaineers5328-28
3Tulsa Golden Hurricane7129-21
5@Notre Dame Fighting Irish4123-26
6TCU Horned Frogs4222-25
7Texas Longhorns4425-27
8@Kansas Jayhawks7329-20
9Texas Tech Red Raiders5429-28
11@Baylor Bears5528-27
12Iowa State Cyclones6328-23
13@Kansas State Wildcats5024-24
15@Oklahoma State Cowboys4326-29


Casey Pachall

See...SEEEEEE...TCU made the big jump up to a real conference, and now it's being exposed to being merely average, right?

See...SEEEEEE...TCU can't dominate on a regular basis like it did in the Mountain West and wasn't nearly as nasty, intimidating and effective after having to deal with the Big 12, right?

It's the laziest of all Big 12 offseason narratives to assume that TCU was exposed in any way after going 7-6 in a BCS conference after years and years of owning the Mountain West, Conference USA and WAC. Actually, considering the circumstances, the Horned Frogs came up with a terrific first year just to stay afloat, much less succeed.

Is anyone saying West Virginia can't handle life in the Big 12 after going 7-6 in its first year coming over from the Big East? No, and the Mountaineers didn't have any of the issues TCU had to fight through.

During the season, did you hear boo about the marijuana controversy that could've blown up into a major scandal? No, and why? Head coach Gary Patterson handled the situation as well as could've possibly been asked for, never making excuses and taking the scandal head on last offseason. While the problems didn't gut the program, they took away enough players to hurt the overall depth for a team that could ill-afford to lose live bodies for the rotation in a transitional season going to a stronger league.

Look around at the rest of the Big 12 and the country who lost an NFL-caliber starting quarterback and still survived? USC went into the tank after Matt Barkley got hurt, while TCU was able to pick up the pieces and move on after Casey Pachall was suspended after being arrested for a DWI. The Horned Frogs might have stumbled late, but they still found a way to be more than just competitive with Trevone Boykin under center.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 TCU Horned Frogs
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1LSU Tigers4820-21
2Southeastern Louisiana Lions9549-7
3@Texas Tech Red Raiders5525-24
5SMU Mustangs8329-17
6@Oklahoma Sooners5625-22
7Kansas Jayhawks8228-18
8@Oklahoma State Cowboys5223-23
9Texas Longhorns4923-22
10West Virginia Mountaineers6125-23
11@Iowa State Cyclones6624-20
12@Kansas State Wildcats5523-22
14Baylor Bears5023-22


Lache Seastrunk

It's been a good plan. Basically, go get as many ridiculously fast and athletic football players as possible, stick them in a system that accentuates the positives of ridiculously fast and athletic football players, put a smart quarterback under center, and voila you have one of the best offenses in college football over the last few seasons.

The ground game should be devastating with Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin certain to have great years behind a decent-looking line. The receiving corps will quickly fill in the gaps and be explosive again, while quarterback Bryce Petty is the next in line to be another mega-producing passer. The offense is going to be the Baylor offense again.

The defense, at the very least, is going to be experienced and speedy. The secondary has to be better with so much talent and athleticism; the linebacking tandem of Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey will be among the league's best; and the defensive line should be excellent on the outside. No one will confuse the Baylor D with Alabama's but it'll be better.

So is more of the same good enough? Absolutely, and it's going to be fun again, too.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Baylor Bears
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1Wofford Terriers9549-8
2Buffalo Bulls8229-17
4Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks8131-21
6West Virginia Mountaineers6529-25
7@Kansas State Wildcats5625-23
8Iowa State Cyclones6428-23
9@Kansas Jayhawks7529-19
11Oklahoma Sooners4527-28
12Texas Tech Red Raiders4427-29
13@Oklahoma State Cowboys5128-28
14@TCU Horned Frogs4922-23
15Texas Longhorns4926-26


David Ash

How many coaches in college football would be on a flaming hot seat after winning nine games and beating a strong Oregon State team in the Alamo Bowl?

At the end of the day, after all the problems, all the inconsistencies, and all the disastrous moments from a squishy-soft defense and puzzling offense, 9-4 is 9-4 is 9-4.

Okay, so 9-4 isn't 9-4 if you're Texas and you have more than enough talent to be challenging for the national title, and 9-4 really is a big problem when one of the four is a 63-21 embarrassment against a mediocre Oklahoma team, but after a miserable 2010 and a bad 2011, a nine-win campaign is still a step in the right direction.

Sort of.

On pure four-and-five-star, NFL-caliber, looks-the-part talent, Texas takes a backseat to no one. Alabama, maybe, has more skill, and other SEC teams are close and Ohio State is getting there, but Texas under Mack Brown became Texas again because recruiting was never an issue. When the Longhorn coaches apply themselves like they did getting the No. 1 class in 2012 and they appear to be doing with a whopper coming in for 2014 it's fish in a barrel time. But no one is doing less with more, and this year there's absolutely no excuse whatsoever to not win the Big 12 and be deep in the heart of the BCS championship mix.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Texas Longhorns
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1New Mexico State Aggies9233-17
2@BYU Cougars4822-22
3Ole Miss Rebels5324-24
4Kansas State Wildcats6224-21
6@Iowa State Cyclones6826-21
7@Oklahoma Sooners5627-25
9@TCU Horned Frogs5022-23
10Kansas Jayhawks7627-20
11@West Virginia Mountaineers6628-23
12Oklahoma State Cowboys5025-26
14Texas Tech Red Raiders5629-27
15@Baylor Bears5126-26

Texas Tech

Eric Ward

Kliff, no pressure now, but be better than Tuberville.

Okay, Texas Tech fans, let's be practical and honest. What more do you want?

Remember, it's not like Mike Leach was winning Big 12 championships on a regular basis, and while no one seemed to fall in love with the Tommy Tuberville era especially considering many weren't happy about Leach being let go he actually did a decent job.

The defense that was such a disaster at times under Leach suddenly found a groove under Tuberville's watch, finishing 15th in the nation and leading the conference. The passing game didn't go anywhere, leading the conference and finishing second in the nation behind Marshall averaging 356 yards per game.

While there were five losses, there's no real complaining over defeats to Oklahoma and Texas to go along with road losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma State with an overtime loss to Baylor. At the end of the day, issues and all, Tuberville got the job done after an ugly end to 2011.

Even so, the fan base is hoping for more under favorite son, former star quarterback Kliff Kingsbury.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Texas Tech Red Raiders
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1@SMU Mustangs8130-20
2Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks9554-8
3TCU Horned Frogs4524-25
4Texas State Bobcats7932-20
6@Kansas Jayhawks7130-21
7Iowa State Cyclones6428-24
8@West Virginia Mountaineers6030-27
9@Oklahoma Sooners4628-29
10Oklahoma State Cowboys4727-30
11Kansas State Wildcats4825-24
12@Baylor Bears5529-27
14@Texas Longhorns4427-29

Kansas State

John Hubert

The Kansas State formula worked throughout last season, doing a great job of controlling the ball, keeping the penalties and mistakes to a minimum, and capitalizing on every opportunity, but it also helped that the 2012 version was loaded with experienced veterans and a Heisman-caliber quarterback in Collin Klein to lead the way. This year, the offense should be fine again and should be every bit as productive, and the special teams will be peerless in the punt and kickoff return games, but you can't win in the Big 12 if the defense can't stop anyone.

Yes, the mistake-free, control-the-tempo formula really does work, but there's also a talent gap. Kansas State gets by on JUCO transfers and a few try-hard types with a few fantastic stars sprinkled around in key areas. However, this year's team doesn't have a Klein at least not yet and it doesn't have a linebacker like Arthur Brown or a corner like Nigel Malone. The receiving corps gets back two diminutive and explosive playmakers in Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett, but it loses No. 1 receiver Chris Harper and solid tight end Travis Tannahill. There's no No. 2 running back to speak of, and as good as the quarterback situation should be with Daniel Sams and JUCO transfer Jake Waters each able to provide some pop, again, if the defense isn't stopping the top conference teams, nothing else matters.

The entire defensive front seven has to be overhauled, and that sort of includes veteran linebacker Tre Walker, who was banged up last season. There are the same types of talents and high-motor guys up front like Snyder always seems to stockpile, but the defending Big 12 champs are still going to take a major step back while Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU are just a few of the key teams in the league that appear to be stronger and better.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Kansas State Wildcats
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1North Dakota State Bison9548-8
2Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns7227-22
3Massachusetts Minutemen8931-14
4@Texas Longhorns3721-24
6@Oklahoma State Cowboys4323-25
7Baylor Bears4423-25
9West Virginia Mountaineers4726-25
10Iowa State Cyclones6124-21
11@Texas Tech Red Raiders5124-25
12TCU Horned Frogs4422-23
13Oklahoma Sooners5024-24
14@Kansas Jayhawks6726-19

West Virginia

Dana Holgorsen

Okay, so there's more to life than offense, and while defense is usually optional in the Big 12, West Virginia's simply failed to show up time and again, allowing 45 points or more in six of the final nine games of the regular season, and holding down Iowa State and Kansas wasn't exactly anything to chirp about. Worse yet was the bowl loss to Syracuse; the run defense got its manhood rudely removed by a pedestrian ground game that came up with a season-high 369 yards.

As bad as the 2012 season might have finished, it wasn't any quirkier than the 2011, Orange Bowl-winning season. Two years ago, the Mountaineers won ten games but came up with nail-biter victories in three late-season games that could've gone either way. The difference between 10-3 and 7-6 were the close calls, if the 2011 magic can rub off on the 2013 team and the breaks can start to come, this might turn out to be a deep sleeper in the Big 12 race especially since everyone will likely predict a lower-tier conference finish.

Only four starters are back on offense, but it's West Virginia and it's Dana Holgorsen; the production will come. The defense can't and won't be any worse with a secondary that should be stronger and more consistent and with several strong young prospects among the front seven. Yes, this will be the proverbial X factor team that can beat anyone on the schedule, and on the right day, lose to anyone on the slate.

It'll be a fun, wild ride either way.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 West Virginia Mountaineers
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1William & Mary Tribe9551-9
2@Oklahoma Sooners4728-28
3Georgia State Panthers9134-17
4@Maryland Terrapins7027-19
5Oklahoma State Cowboys3726-29
6@Baylor Bears3525-29
8Texas Tech Red Raiders4027-30
9@Kansas State Wildcats5325-26
10@TCU Horned Frogs3923-25
11Texas Longhorns3423-28
12@Kansas Jayhawks7430-21
14Iowa State Cyclones6528-24

Iowa State

James White

Everyone wants to win now and everyone is hoping for surprises, but the 2013 Cyclones are built on upgraded depth, talent level and options to play around with. The offense has to undergo an overhaul at receiver, but a slew of good underclassmen like Quenton Bundrage and Tad Ecby will get time to grow into their roles. Sam Richardson is an exciting quarterback with the upside and potential to become a Big 12 star over the next few years, and the deep group of running backs is building up the base to work around veteran James White.

The defense still has to find big play performers, but the linebacking corps looks like it could be something special in a few years when all the freshmen grow up, and the secondary has some nice-looking young options at corner. The line is undergoing a youth movement, too, with end Willie Scott and tackle Walter Woods the only seniors in the mix and they're not going to be irreplaceable.

So consider this a true stepping-stone season with the pressure on next year. For a program not used to a ton of success, patience has been a virtue, but in the meantime, another six-win season with a bowl would be par for the course.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Iowa State Cyclones
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
1UNI Panthers9547-8
3Iowa Hawkeyes5021-23
5@Tulsa Golden Hurricane6526-19
6Texas Longhorns3121-26
7@Texas Tech Red Raiders3624-28
8@Baylor Bears3523-28
9Oklahoma State Cowboys3523-29
10@Kansas State Wildcats3821-24
11TCU Horned Frogs3420-24
12@Oklahoma Sooners3723-28
13Kansas Jayhawks6125-21
14@West Virginia Mountaineers3524-28


James Sims

For all the problems and all the issues of last year, KU was still achingly close to coming up with at least a few wins. Despite not getting any semblance of production from the defensive line, and even though the passing game was painfully sad over the second half of the season, the Jayhawks lost to Orange Bowl-bound Northern Illinois by seven. They pushed Oklahoma State in a six point loss and had Texas Tech in huge trouble in a double-overtime defeat. Sure, they got blasted out of the water by Iowa State, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas State, but they had Texas dead before losing late in a brutally painful 21-17 loss. In all, they lost five games by a touchdown or less, and with more time and more experience, some of those could and should turn into wins.

But it's going to take a whole lot more talent to turn those 52-7 games into competitive battles.

Give Charlie Weis credit for figuring out right away that Kansas simply couldn't keep up with the better Big 12 teams, the mediocre ones, and everyone in between, and it showed with a recruiting class full of 17 JUCO transfers to come in and play right away, including most of the best options for the defensive line, receiving corps and defensive back seven.

All the newcomers, along with former BYU star recruit Jake Heaps at quarterback, mean the Jayhawks should be in for a complete overhaul and a big infusion of talent to try improving things right away, and it could happen.

Kansas isn't going to win the Big 12 title, but the running game should be among the best in the league, the passing game can't be less efficient and the defense should be more athletic and more effective with decent depth thanks to all the JUCO transfers.

It might still take a little while before Kansas knows whether or not Weis is the right man for the job, but for the moment, he's certainly not standing still and he's not looking for a long term rebuilding project. This team, with all these moves, has the potential to be scary if everything breaks the right way.

- Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Absolute Schedule/Records

2013 Kansas Jayhawks
WeekOpponentWin%Avg Score
2South Dakota Coyotes9543-9
3@Rice Owls5626-24
4Louisiana Tech Bulldogs5527-23
6Texas Tech Red Raiders2821-30
7@TCU Horned Frogs1818-28
8Oklahoma Sooners2620-29
9Baylor Bears2519-29
10@Texas Longhorns2420-27
11@Oklahoma State Cowboys1619-31
12West Virginia Mountaineers2521-30
13@Iowa State Cyclones3921-25
14Kansas State Wildcats3319-26

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Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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