Oklahoma State is ranked No. 38 in the CFU Preseason Rankings. However, the Cowboys could end up being a top 25 team and contend for the Big 12, but many experts are overrating them due to the number of returning starters.Despite the Pokes' stellar offensive output, they lost three of their five final regular season games and finished in the bottom half of most major defensive categories - 64th in points allowed per game, 82nd in total yards allowed, and 114th in passing yards allowed.
The Cowboys also had a dismal away record last season going just 1-5 on the road. It is very probable Oklahoma State will lose some away games in 2013 with trips to West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Texas. West Virginia and Texas are the two teams defending home turf with the best chance of defeating the Pokes. Non-conference opponent Mississippi State has a good shot at defeating Oklahoma State as well; both teams are closely rated in the CFU Preseason Ranking.
Oklahoma State is projected to lose to Oklahoma in Bedlam. Kansas State is a higher CFU ranked team than Ok State, but home field advantage should give the Cowboys just enough of a tilt in their favor over the Wildcats, plus the high speed system of Gundy could give problems to K-State.
Texas has a talented squad, but it is difficult to decipher how the Longhorns' season will fold out. The Horns play a couple tough non-conference opponents in BYU and Ole Miss. BYU is a tough home team and nearly upset the Longhorns back in 2011 at Texas with the final score 17-16. Texas plays Ole Miss in Austin, but the Rebels are improved and will be a dangerous team in 2013. Oklahoma is projected to have the edge on Texas in the Red River Rivalry.
Coach Bill Snyder is a large reason for the CFU No. 29 ranking of the Kansas State Wildcats. While it's doubtful that the Wildcats will have another double digit win season, it is reasonable to think they could get somewhere around the eight win range. Kansas State could lose away games at Texas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. Oklahoma is favored to beat K-State in Manhattan as well.
West Virginia is projected to garner just six wins this season, but could pull a huge upset against Oklahoma State at home. It looks like the Mountaineers will have a mediocre season at best, but could get some unexpected wins in Morgantown.
For TCU, it looks like the Horned Frogs could have a bland seven win season, but much of their success will depend on the stability of quarterback Casey Pachall and defensive lineman Devonte Fields. Texas Christian could overachieve the predicted record, but there's just too many question marks leading into the 2013 season.
All together, eight programs should be bowl eligible for the Big 12 this season with the exception of two schools, Iowa State and Kansas.
Iowa State is projected to have a worse record than last season, but this year, there are just too many tough road trips including at Tulsa, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Last season, Tulsa and Kansas State were undefeated at home and in total, the Cyclones' road opponents for 2013 won at home 80 percent of the time last year.