Big 12 Football Predictions: Don’t Sleep On Baylor

Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) carries the ball during the BIG 12 Championship Game between Oklahoma State and Baylor on December 4, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Image Credit: George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big 12 saw plenty of change this offseason. Because of this, there will be no shortage of drama throughout the 2022 campaign. Several teams were active in the transfer portal and could make big improvements, but most of the headlines revolved around off-field conference realignment issues.

Oklahoma and Texas are still part of the conference (for now), and they will be met with plenty of hostility by remaining Big 12 members prior to their departure in 2025. Can the Longhorns or Sooners overcome that to take home the league trophy? We’ll dive into that with our Big 12 football predictions.

Big 12 Football Predictions: Best Bet

Texas To Win The Big 12 Championship (+250) | PointsBet Sportsbook

A 5-7 season is not acceptable for the Longhorns. Steve Sarkesian knew changes had to be made, and he went out and did it. The big move was grabbing the 2021 top recruit, QB Quinn Ewers, from the transfer portal.

Ewers will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. The receiver corps will be strong with the return of WR Xavier Worthy, and they brought in former Wyoming standout Isaiah Neyor alongside former Alabama tight end Jaheel Billingsley. 

Running back Bijan Robinson is back, and although he dealt with injuries most of last season, he was still excellent with 1,127 rushing yards, 295 receiving yards, and 15 total touchdowns.  Ewers won’t always have to be great with the support of Robinson, who is looking to be the top running back taken in this upcoming draft.

The biggest question will be the defense. It struggled last year and finished near the bottom in most conference categories. Pete Kwiatkowski will have almost a brand new unit in his second year, which could help him mold the scheme he wants with the players he brought in.

The Bottom Line

The Longhorns are going for it this year as they went out and plucked some of the top offensive talent from the transfer portal to go along with some of the great players they already had. If Ewers lives up to the hype and leads this offense, that can be the difference maker.

They may need to score a lot due to a lack of talent on defense, but they have on paper the best offense in the conference and can certainly put the points every Saturday to do it.

Where To Bet: Texas to win the Big 12 | +250 at PointsBet Sportsbook

Big 12 Football Predictions: Sleeper

Baylor To Win Big 12 Championship (+550) | PointsBet Sportsbook

There isn’t a reason why the reigning champs should be the favorites once again going into the 2022 season. 

The defense that was the best in the conference was also one of the most dominant in the country. Although they’ve lost a couple of pieces, their front line is still stacked with one of the best defensive line duos in the country with Siaki Ika and Jaxon Player. Last year they finished with the four-most sacked in the FBS (44.0), and they should be up there again.

The offense will see some changes, but it could make them better. Sophomore Blake Shapen won the starting quarterback job over Gerry Bohanon, and as a result, Bohanon hit the transfer portal. Shapen excelled as an efficient passer last season with a 72.1% completion rate. He didn’t throw an interception in 86 attempts. 

He will need some weapons, especially with Tyquan Thornton and R.J. Sneed gone. Tight end Ben Sims is on the Mackey Award watchlist and could be argued as the best TE in the conference. The 6-foot-5, 258 lb senior made huge strides last year with 31 catches for 361 yards and six touchdowns, doubling all of his stats from the year before. On the outside, 2022 class top-30 wideout Armani Winfield will likely be the guy to come in and make an immediate impact. He takes long strides that allow him to stretch the field and has an impressive vertical. With the proficient passing of Shapen, they could become a great duo.

The Bears will need someone new to step up in the backfield. They have junior Taye McWilliams, who will be looking to establish the feature role, and three-star freshman Richard Reese could make an impact early on.

What’s going to hide the growing pains of new players in this offense is the offensive line. Baylor return one of the best lines in the country as its 17 sacks allowed was the eighth fewest in the country.

The Bottom Line

The reigning champs have the best lines on both sides of the ball, and a team that can win in the trenches always has the advantage.

The defense helped keep them in games all last season, and it will do the same in 2022.

Where To Bet: Baylor to win the Big 12 | +550 at PointsBet Sportsbook