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Monday, December 10, 2012
Looking back on Big 12 team predictions

By David Ubben

Before the season began, I projected each Big 12 team's season from start to finish. Here's how I predicted each team to finish, compared with their actual finish and some comments.

Vote in our poll and grade my picks. When it was all over, I projected eight of 10 teams within one game of their overall record or record in conference. Is that good or bad? You tell me.

Let's take a closer look.

1. Oklahoma. Projected record: 11-1 (8-1). Actual record: 10-2 (8-1). The Sooners played from behind in the conference race all season, thanks to a loss to K-State, but still earned a share of the Big 12 title with the conference record I predicted. I didn't see Notre Dame's big season coming, so I picked the Sooners to win that game easily. Not the case.

2. Kansas State. Projected record: 10-2 (7-2). Actual record: 11-1 (8-1). I didn't buy any of that sixth-place garbage regarding K-State to start the season. I get the close wins argument from last year, but I had high hopes for a team coached by Bill Snyder that returned 17 starters from a 10-win team. Apparently, even those hopes weren't high enough.

2. West Virginia. Projected record: 10-2 (7-2). Actual record: 7-5 (4-5). I wasn't alone on this one, but WVU was easily the biggest miss for me this season. The offense was good, but an inability to run the ball caught up with WVU at times. Balance is necessary in this league. I wasn't impressed with the defense this spring, but I never envisioned it would be as poor as it ended up being. Cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts won't return.

4. Texas. Projected record: 9-3 (6-3). Actual record: 8-4 (5-4). The Longhorns had big upside this season, but I figured they'd be undone by some inconsistency at quarterback. That wasn't the case early on this season, but late in the year, David Ash came back to Earth. The defense's inexplicable struggles with an experienced unit, though? Never saw that coming.

5. TCU. Projected record: 8-4 (5-4). Actual record 7-5 (4-5). If the Frogs had Waymon James and Casey Pachall, I have no doubt they would have exceeded my projection, despite a ton of other losses. The Frogs looked hopeless after dropping a home game to Iowa State. They bounced back from the Pachall loss, and winning seven games without getting a single W in Big 12 play at home is pretty crazy.

5. Oklahoma State. Projected record 8-4 (5-4). Actual record 7-5 (5-4). Oklahoma State joined TCU as the team that dealt with the most impactful injuries in the Big 12. OSU's were based on quality more than quantity. I bought into Wes Lunt, but he was in and out of the lineup with injuries all year. A bit of a disappointing season, but still reasonably solid, all things considered.

7. Baylor. Projected record: 6-6 (3-6). Actual record: 7-5 (4-5). This looked like an overestimation with three games left in the season and Baylor sitting at 4-5. Then the Bears rolled through three tough games, including upsets of ranked opponents like Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The Bears offense hardly lost a step, and the defense was a bit better, though not much. Reaching the postseason was big for this program in the post-RG3 era.

8. Texas Tech. Projected record: 5-7 (2-7). Actual record 7-5 (4-5) I talked a lot about how Tech had some big upside, and the Red Raiders looked like they might lap my projection with a 6-1 start. The 1-4 finish brought them back down to Earth. I figured this record would send Tommy Tuberville packing, but who'd have figured it would be for a new job at 7-5, especially one in the Big East?

9. Iowa State. Projected record: 4-8 (2-7). Actual record 6-6 (3-6). Iowa State overachieved yet again. Consider me proved wrong here. The Cyclones won back the state's bragging rights for the second consecutive season, and did so in Iowa City.

10. Kansas. Projected record: 3-9 (0-9). Actual record 1-11 (0-9). I gave the Jayhawks some credit and picked them to beat Rice (who had never beaten a Big 12 team since the league's inception) and Northern Illinois, who KU beat last season but is coincidentally BCS-bound this season. That was apparently too much credit. The Big 12 losing streak stands at 21 games, though.