Today is the next step in a new series on the Big 12 blog that we've never done before. I love predicting the standings from top to bottom, but we're going to do it week by week leading up to the season. The end goal is to offer my official prediction for each Big 12 team's record heading into the bowl games.
Remember, these are preseason predictions. We'll obviously still do week-to-week picks once the season arrives, and they may change between now and then. There are a lot of preseason practices and a whole lot of games between now and the end of the season.
There are always teams who disappoint and teams who surprise. But here's how I see the Big 12 shaking out in Week 4.
Baylor 41, Louisiana-Monroe 21: Baylor's just better. After a quiet start, Lache Seastrunk breaks out with a pair of long runs in garbage time and gets Bears fans clamoring for more of the hyped Oregon transfer, who finished with 157 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second half. Will coach Art Briles give it to them?
Kansas 34, Northern Illinois 31: Tough pick here, but I'll give it to the Jayhawks, who go on the road and pull off a huge win to get to 3-1. Northern Illinois lost a shootout to the Jayhawks this year, and they'll do it again. Last year, the Huskies had the best QB on the field, Chandler Harnish. Thanks to new Jayhawk Dayne Crist, that's not true anymore.
Oklahoma 41, Kansas State 27: No man enters the House of Stoops and leaves a proud man. Unless he's Les Miles. Or Gary Patterson. Or Tommy Tuberville. K-State's a good team and it's close at halftime, but the Sooners pull away in the fourth quarter in one of the Big 12's best early-season showdowns.
TCU 34, Virginia 28: The questions around TCU's defense continue through the early part of the season, but the offense assures that they're not too painful to answer just yet. Skye Dawson notches his second 100-yard game of the season, making ESPN highlight reels with an 85-yard catch and run for a third-quarter score that put the Frogs ahead for good.
West Virginia 44, Maryland 14: Maryland lost a few close games last year and should be better, but West Virginia flexes with a huge win in Morgantown in the final tune-up before Big 12 play begins. West Virginia's hitting its stride with Baylor coming to town the next week. Can the Mountaineers keep playing at that level all season?
BIG 12 STANDINGS (after Week 4)
1. Oklahoma: 3-0 (1-0)
1. TCU: 3-0 (1-0)
3. Oklahoma State: 3-0
3. Texas: 3-0
3. Texas Tech: 3-0
3. West Virginia: 3-0
3. Baylor: 3-0
8. Iowa State: 2-1
9. Kansas State: 3-1 (0-1)
9. Kansas: 3-1 (0-1)