Five Key Storylines Heading Into The 2022 Season
The Big 12 enters an interesting season. This will be the last year of the current 10 teams playing as a conference. Four new schools will join next season – Cincinnati, Central Florida, BYU and Houston – and Oklahoma and Texas will be leaving for the SEC at some point in the future.
The 2022 season should be a competitive one. Texas once again enters with high hopes, Oklahoma underwent a transformation, and Baylor and Oklahoma State look to build on last year’s success. Here are five key storylines heading into the season:
Can the Longhorns break out of their funk?
Year 2 of the Sark era begins with a shiny new five-star quarterback in Quinn Ewers, the best running back in the nation in Bijan Robinson and explosive WR Xavier Worthy. The offense should be explosive and versatile. The defense? A question mark. The Horns got little pressure on the quarterback last year and really don’t have a lot of hope for improvement. If the Horns can figure out that side of the ball, they could be real threats to win the conference.
Are the Sooners still the Sooners?
Lincoln Riley and his incredible offense are off to USC. He took QB Caleb Williams with him. In comes Brett Venables at head coach and UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel at quarterback. Jeff Lebby is an accomplished offensive coordinator who will bring great play calling. Ted Roof will call the defense, following Venables from Clemson. The Sooners should be really good, but No. 9 in the country (AP poll) feels high in what should be a transition year.
Don’t forget Baylor and Oklahoma State
The Bears and Cowboys played a thriller in the championship game last year. The Cowboys should be just as good if not better in 2022. Mike Gundy’s teams are always competitive and always in the mix, but have not won a conference title in 10 years. This might be their best chance. Baylor lost some key players on defense but Dave Aranda should keep the team playing at a high level on that side of the ball. Blake Shapen should keep the offense humming at quarterback. Ignore these two teams at your own risk.
Changes at Tech, TCU
The Raiders bring in Joey McGuire as head coach, an intriguing hire who could get the Raiders back pretty quickly. McGuire was a great high school coach who assisted Aranda’s defense at Baylor after that. WIth three years of college coaching under his belt, he steps up to the big job. Tech has some ground to make up, but if McGuire is successful, the Raiders should be a threat sooner rather than later. TCU went with Sonny Dykes, a veteran who has been an offensive wizard throughout his career, most recently at SMU. Dykes usually takes a year to put things together, but he will be working with more talent at TCU than past stops. However, he is replacing a legend in Gary Patterson, so it will be interesting to see.
Both Johnson and Ewers are top 10 among the favorites for the award. OU’s Gabriel is also top 10. Of those, Robinson might be the most intriguing. If he stays healthy, he could put up sick numbers,