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 5.
West Virginia 47, Baylor 38: Ah, the sweet smell of conference play. Legitimate competition at last and the first week of Big 12 play with more than one conference game. West Virginia and Baylor remind us all why we love Big 12 play, putting on an offensive showcase. West Virginia's simply more experienced and has better talent at the skill positions. The Mountaineers get a couple more stops than Baylor and defend Milan Puskar Stadium in their first Big 12 game ever.
Texas Tech 41, Iowa State 31: Iowa State has beaten the Red Raiders in each of the past two seasons, but the Red Raiders get their revenge in Ames this time. Seth Doege shreds an underrated Iowa State secondary, and with an offense that's finally healthy, gets Texas Tech looking like it's back on the right track. The heat on Tommy Tuberville feels pretty nil so far.
Texas 31, Oklahoma State 14: Growing pains had to happen sometime. Texas scored on its first two possessions and forced Oklahoma State to miss a field goal on its first to take a 14-0 lead. Wes Lunt forced balls at the worst possible time against the league's best defense and the true freshman finishes with four interceptions. Texas looks like a serious Big 12 title contender, and Oklahoma State's conference opener is a rough one. Both teams will only get better, though.
TCU 38, SMU 31: TCU struggles early, but earns its revenge in Dallas over a fast-improving June Jones team. Garrett Gilbert's Redemption Tour crashes back into the Big 12, but TCU's offense is too much. The powerful running game wears down the Ponies in the fourth quarter and keeps Gilbert, Zach Line and the rest of the offense off the field.
BIG 12 STANDINGS (after Week 4)
1. TCU: 4-0 (1-0)
1. Texas: 4-0 (1-0)
1. Texas Tech: 4-0 (1-0)
1. West Virginia: 4-0 (1-0)
5. Oklahoma: 3-0 (1-0)
6. Oklahoma State: 3-1 (0-1)
6. Baylor: 3-1 (0-1)
6. Kansas State: 3-1 (0-1)
6. Kansas: 3-1 (0-1)
10. Iowa State: 2-2 (0-1)