College Confidential: Who’s the Big 12 favorite now?

Posted Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Stefan Stevenson sound off on the issues of the day in college football in the weekly College Confidential at star-telegram.com.

TCU began the season with two healthy, proven quarterbacks and Big 12 title hopes. Now, the Horned Frogs are down to one healthy veteran QB and they’re 0-1 in league play. Can TCU still win the Big 12 title?

Jimmy: Yes, but the offense must make monumental strides from what we saw in last week’s 20-10 loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock. The passing game, in particular, has plenty to work on during this week’s open date.

Stefan: I don’t see it happening. TCU’s defense is good enough, but they can’t win if they can’t score. I think they’ll be in most Big 12 games but will struggle to win more than five. Some fans were too quick to think Boykin deserved to start over Pachall, and that may become obvious.

No. 10 Texas A&M lost its showdown against top-ranked Alabama but quarterback Johnny Manziel shined in defeat. Is he now the front-runner to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner?

Jimmy: He probably is. But spectacular September efforts are easily trumped by clutch November wins. At this point last season, Geno Smith was the odds-on Heisman favorite and no one was mentioning Manziel. It’s way too early to offer a meaningful projection in this Heisman race.

Stefan: He deserves to be in the running, but I agree he must win the big ones late. Alabama’s AJ McCarron, if he continues to win and play well, deserves to be a top candidate.

Another week, another lopsided loss for the Texas Longhorns. Are we looking at coach Mack Brown’s final season in Austin?

Jimmy: All signs point in that direction. But it’s too early to write off any team that has yet to play its first conference game. If the Longhorns are 2-4 after a loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 12, as many pundits now anticipate, that is when the buzzards begin circling in earnest.

Stefan: Agreed. If the Longhorns are blown out by the Sooners again it’s over for Brown. Texas has been embarrassed by OU the last two years and a third ugly scene for Texas will turn Austin completely against Brown.

No. 20 Baylor and No. 25 Texas Tech began the season unranked. But both teams are undefeated and in the Top 25 this week. Which one is the bigger contender in the Big 12 title race?

Jimmy: Baylor. The Bears have more veteran playmakers and the Big 12’s biggest difference-maker in running back Lache Seastrunk. Tech is a bowl-bound team that is only going to get better as the season unfolds under new coach Kliff Kingsbury. But Baylor can win the league title.

Stefan: The Bears and Red Raiders appear to be playing much better defense, which if it continues into league play, gives both a great chance to compete for the Big 12 title. Neither is running the table, but I don’t think anyone in the league will escape unscathed.

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