Huge 12 professional picks 2021: Most overrated and underrated groups, projected order of end, daring predictions

Because the Huge 12 enters a half-decade of uncertainty with Texas and Oklahoma on the best way out, the 2021 season may present the convention’s finest probability to win a nationwide championship since its final … in 2005. The Sooners look to be greater than merely an offensive-powered juggernaut, and Iowa State enters the season with the best expectations for the Cyclones program in its historical past.

Regardless of Oklahoma’s bettering proficiency on protection, some issues by no means change. Lincoln Riley opens the marketing campaign because the 2021 CBS Sports activities Preseason Coach of the Yr along with his quarterback, Spencer Rattler, taking our Preseason Participant of the Yr honors. As such, it ought to come as no shock that the Sooners are -180 favorites to win the Huge 12, in keeping with Caesars Sportsbook. This whereas Iowa State is clearly forward of the remainder of the league at +260 with Texas (+450) underneath new coach Steve Sarkisian giving oddsmakers renewed optimism in its potential to make some noise.

Our CBS Sports activities faculty soccer specialists are right here to supply their picks and predictions for the Huge 12 forward of the 2021 season. Verify all of them out under.

Most overrated staff

Texas: I almost spit out my natural tea the opposite day once I noticed my colleagues on CBS Sports activities HQ checklist Texas as an underrated staff. Bear in mind, it is a program that is gained greater than seven regular-season video games simply as soon as since Mack Brown’s departure. Will the brand new crop of receivers step up? Who’s going to be the brand new quarterback? With so many troublesome video games early, will Steve Sarkisian have this staff working easily out of the gate? There’s at all times potential with the Longhorns, however there are too many query marks for me to put them third within the preseason Huge 12 ballot. — Ben Kercheval (additionally Dennis Dodd, Jerry Palm)

TCU: You do not know how, and you do not know why, however typically you get up one morning and discover out you are a TCU hater. I’ve seen the Horned Frogs ranked within the high 30 so much this offseason, and I am not as offered as many others within the trade. After I take a look at TCU, I see a program that is gone 18-17 the final three seasons and 12-15 in convention play. It is solely attainable the Frogs take a leap ahead this season, however till I see it, I will stay skeptical. — Tom Fornelli (additionally Barrett Sallee)

Iowa State: Whereas the Cyclones are one of the vital stable applications within the nation — with a great deal of returning manufacturing and a observe document of high-level competitors in opposition to the powers of the Huge 12 — it nonetheless appears like a leap to declare them the seventh- or eighth-best staff within the nation. I simply do not assume it is as sure that Iowa State is on a special degree than a few of the groups in that 10-20 vary within the preseason polls. (Wisconsin and Florida come to thoughts for me.) Is Iowa State the second-best staff within the Huge 12? Sure, however huge image, the hype exceeds the place I believe they stack up in opposition to the pack. — Chip Patterson

Oklahoma State: The belief that Oklahoma State will once more be a top-tier Huge 12 staff seems centered on the Cowboys protection, and that is regarding for a program that has lengthy been an offensive juggernaut. Whereas Oklahoma State allowed a mean of simply 12 factors per sport throughout its 4-0 begin in 2020, it additionally gave up 40-plus factors in opposition to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech solely to then permit 512 complete yards in opposition to Miami within the bowl sport regardless of a first-half harm to Miami star quarterback D’Eriq King. The Cowboys additionally had the advantage of enjoying Kansas State when Skylar Thompson was injured. Veteran coach Mike Gundy can get this program to a bowl in his sleep, however it’s a stretch to contemplate the Cowboys a menace within the Huge 12 as they change their main rusher, three of their high 4 receivers and their high offensive lineman. — David Cobb

Most underrated staff

TCU: We’re not watching the sluggish decline of TCU underneath Gary Patterson. We’re watching a reset. Max Duggan was the primary TCU quarterback in 70 years to steer the staff in speeding. Clearly, G.P. wish to take a few of that burden away. For the primary time in 4 years, the Frogs didn’t lead the Huge 12 in protection however that would change. Defensive finish Ochaun Mathis (9 sacks) is the spear on the protection. The Frogs do not play a successful staff from 2020 on the highway till Oct. 16 at Oklahoma. They might be 5-0 by then. — Dodd (additionally Patterson)

Oklahoma State: No small a part of the rationale the Cowboys are underrated is that they appear to solely get consideration when Gundy says or does one thing outrageous. That serves partially to cover the truth that Oklahoma State has been the second-best program within the Huge 12 throughout his tenure and it isn’t notably shut. Since 2008, when Gundy was in a position to get issues rotated at OSU, solely Oklahoma has extra wins (138) that the Cowboys (129). Texas has virtually been all hat and no cattle since then, coming in a distant third at 103. The principle factor lacking from Gundy’s resume at OSU is getting right into a New Yr’s Six sport. The final time Oklahoma State appeared in a type of six video games was within the 2013 Cotton Bowl, the yr earlier than the Faculty Soccer Playoff and New Yr’s Six had been created. — Palm (additionally Kercheval)

Texas: I am attempting to think about myself going again in time to inform me from any yr within the earlier decade that Texas is starting a season underrated and questioning what the response can be. It’d possible be a whole lot of laughing and doubtless a “you’ve got placed on weight,” however right here we’re, and I believe Texas is being missed. Oh, and I am engaged on the load. Anyway, there have been many off-field distractions for this Texas squad final season, and I believe a brand new voice in cost might be the refresher this system wants. Apart from Oklahoma, there is not an apparent menace to the Sooners’ throne, which makes me look towards the staff with much more expertise than everybody else. If Sarkisian can have the identical type of affect on the Texas offense that he had on Mac Jones and Alabama, it is a Longhorns staff able to shock lots of people. — Fornelli

West Virginia: Neal Brown inherited a multitude when Dana Holgorsen bailed, so do not maintain the 11-11 document in two years in opposition to him. He has his program arrange for a really stunning yr with 9 of their high 10 receivers returning, together with 1,000-yard again Leddie Brown toting the rock and a protection that has eight starters again off the perfect protection within the Huge 12 final yr. There’s loads to counsel that the offense will take a leap ahead, which ought to give Brown all that he must push for a good bowl sport in 2021. — Sallee

Kansas State: There’s loads of purpose to imagine this staff is able to clearing the modest seventh place prediction bestowed upon it by Huge 12 media. For one factor, final yr’s collapse following a 4-1 begin can largely be attributed to the absence of Thompson. However with Thompson again for a sixth season in this system together with ultra-talented all-purpose again Deuce Vaughn and 4 of final yr’s high 5 receivers, this offense ought to be among the many finest within the league. Thompson has already overwhelmed Oklahoma twice in his profession and likewise knocked off Iowa State in 2019, so do not be shocked if he is acquired one other upset or two within the tank and leads Ok-State to a successful document in league play. — Cobb

Daring predictions

  • Dennis Dodd: This would be the remaining season within the Huge 12 for Texas and Oklahoma. And never essentially for cash causes. This has an opportunity to be an especially uncomfortable yr for each colleges after leaving the convention for the SEC.
  • Tom Fornelli: Iowa State will beat Texas throughout the common season thanks largely to a questionable name from the officers that the complete world will say is a part of a Huge 12 conspiracy in opposition to Texas, and that win will finally be what serves because the tiebreaker between the Cyclones and Longhorns, sending Iowa State to the Huge 12 Championship Recreation.
  • Chip Patterson: Bijan Robinson would be the Huge 12 Offensive Participant of the Yr. Spencer Rattler could be the Heisman Trophy favourite, however he will not have to put up the type of manufacturing we noticed from earlier star quarterbacks in Norman, Oklahoma. Robinson has already proven the ceiling of being probably the most explosive participant in all of school soccer.
  • Barrett Sallee: This won’t be the Oklahoma of previous. The Sooners, led by a stifling protection and explosive offense, will not undergo an inexplicable loss and cruise to the Huge 12 title. In actual fact, they’re going to shed the “pretender” standing mid-season and enter the Faculty Soccer Playoff because the No. 1 staff within the CFP Rankings.
  • Ben Kercheval: Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler will dwell as much as the hype and win the Heisman Trophy … because the Sooners make it previous the Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinals for the primary time. 
  • David Cobb: The winner of the sport between Iowa State and TCU on Nov. 27 will face Oklahoma within the Huge 12 title sport the next week.
  • Jerry Palm: Oklahoma won’t end the convention season undefeated, however it’s going to nonetheless be ok to make the CFP.

Huge 12 predicted order of end

Huge 12 champion

Oklahoma: Who else, proper? The Sooners have been the dominant Huge 12 program principally since Riley arrived in Norman. With a Heisman-caliber quarterback (Rattler), loads of offense weapons and an ever-improving protection, it may be even tougher for one more staff — say, Iowa State — to seize a title in Arlington, Texas. Positive, somebody would possibly get the Sooners within the common season, however Riley has been wonderful at placing collectively a significantly better staff in December. — Kercheval (unanimous)

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