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Big 12 Media Days: One Storyline to Watch for Every Returning Program (Part 2)

A preview of what to expect from all 10 returning Big 12 members.



Devin Wilber/PFB

Big 12 Media Days gets started on Wednesday where we’ll hear from TCU, Houston, Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas and BYU to start the two-day event.

The schedule will include 14 teams crammed into two days worth of content.

To gear up for the week ahead we’re finishing off our preview of what is on tap as we enter the week with a look at every program and a storyline or two to watch entering the 2023 season. This post is Part 2 of a two-part series, and today’s article features all 10 returning Big 12 teams. You can read Part 1 on all the incoming programs right here.

Texas Tech

Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 4

2022 Record: 8-5

Storyline to Follow: Taking the next step

The Red Raiders seemingly have a ton of momentum entering Year 2 of the Joey McGuire era. Coming off an 8-5 2022 campaign (Tech’s best record since 2013), the Red Raiders return leading rusher (Tahj Brooks), leading receiver (Jerand Bradley) and starting quarterback Tyler Shough from last season’s squad. McGuire has also been successful on the recruiting trail with his 2023 class including five four-star prospects. The question entering this season will be whether the Raiders are ready to take the next step to contend for a Big 12 title or whether they need another season trying to sustain success and build through recruiting. Scott

Kansas State

Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 2

2022 Record: 10-4

Storyline to Follow: Replacing All-Big 12 Playmakers

Gone are running back Deuce Vaughn and edge rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah, two of the biggest contributors to the Wildcats hoisting the Big 12 trophy last year. At running back, K-State returns DJ Giddens, who rushed for 518 yards and 5.8 yards a carry last season. Kansas State is also bringing in Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward, who ran for 1,241 yards and 12 touchdowns in four seasons with the Seminoles. It would be tough for one or two guys to replace Anudike-Uzomah; it’ll likely have to be a by-committee approach led by Brendan Mott, who had six sacks for K-State last season. Scott

Iowa State

Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 10

2022 Record: 4-8

Storyline to Follow: Can Dekkers take the next step?

Hunter Dekkers was one of three Big 12 quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards last season, but he also led the league with 14 interceptions. Six of Iowa State’s losses last season were by a touchdown or less, so if Dekkers can take care of the rock, it could go a long way for the Cyclones to bounce back in 2023. Scott

West Virginia

Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 14

2022 Record: 5-7

Storyline to Follow: Quarterback battle

Picked last in a new 14-team league, the Mountaineers have a ton to figure out entering 2023, and it starts with who will lead the offense. Junior Garrett Greene and redshirt freshman Nicco Marchiol split reps during spring practice, a battle that will continue into August. In nine games in 2022, Greene threw for 493 yards and five touchdowns while Marchiol threw for 61 yards and a touchdown in three games as a four-star freshman. Scott


Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 3

2022 Record: 6-7

Storyline to Follow: Can Brent Venables right the ship?

OU was downright bad last season. Not bad relative to expectations at OU. Just bad. When you finish with the lowest win total since the John Blake era, things are not going well! Coach Brent Venables definitely gets somewhat of a pass for a down year, given that it was his first season at the helm, but Sooners fans won’t be as kind if another season ends in narrowly achieving bowl eligibility. With QB Dillon Gabriel back there is some stability in an offense that otherwise is turning over a lot, particularly at receiver. There are far more questions than answers for a team that typically is picked this high in the preseason. Key year for Venables as OU preps for its leap to the SEC. — Boone


Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 1

2022 Record: 8-5

Storyline to Follow: Texas with target on its back

I know it’s funny to make the Texas is back jokes and I certainly am among the large crowd of folks too immature to resist — but it really feels like this is the year. Yes, yes, I know: we say this every year about Texas. But on paper it’s … not really all that close? Quinn Ewers is back with a proven weapon in Xavier Worthy, this Texas D looks (on paper!) like it should be solid, and it returns enough weapons on both sides of the ball that it should be considered the favorite. Boone


Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 9

2022 Record: 6-7

Storyline to Follow: … expectations?

Kansas isn’t expected to compete atop the league much less contend for a conference championship, but relative to expectations by Kansas standards, 2023 comes with high expectations. Get this: this is the first year since 2010 (!!) that it enters the season not picked to finish last in the Big 12. Boone


Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 5

2022 Record: 13-2

Storyline to Follow: Back to back?

Lightning struck with a force in a Fort Worth-sized bottle last season: TCU had a star in Max Duggan, an elite pair of weapons in Quentin Johnston and Kendre Miller and a CFP contender that stood above the rest of the Big 12. Can it go back to back with so many of those vital pieces from last year’s roster now gone? Preseason polls suggest it unlikely, but remember: TCU was picked to finish seventh in the same poll last year. Sonny Dykes will have his work cut out for him. Finishing with double-digit wins in 2023 would be a sign of sustained success for the upstart Horned Frogs. Boone


Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 6

2022 Record: 6-7

Storyline to Follow: Bouncing back from a rough 2022

The Bears slumped even harder than the Cowboys in 2022. Baylor followed up its 2021 Big 12 Title with a 6-7 finish, losing its final four games. Dave Aranda will look to bounce back with a returning Blake Shapen at QB and a proven producer beside him in former OSU running back Dominic Richardson. — Cox

Oklahoma State

Preseason Big 12 Ranking: 7

2022 Record: 7-6

Storyline to Follow: Answer at QB? Offensive playcalling? Nardo?

Look, this is an OSU blog, so you ask me for one storyline? You’re getting three. Let’s run ’em down in order.

No. 1: I guess this is going to be Alan Bowman? This QB room is largely unproven outside of him — and even he is somewhat unproven given how little he has played of late. Still, I’m very much in the Garret Rangel might be a dude camp, and Zane Flores, the freshman signee, has the talent to win the job, too, though it’s difficult to see him doing so as a freshman. My gut tells me Bowman wins the job. My heart tells me Rangel makes a leap and steps up to … wrangle it away from him. But as the end of the season rolls along, Rangel looks good-not-great, opening the door for another true QB competition entering 2024. I’d be happy to be proven wrong!

No. 2: Offensive playcalling was arguably the biggest storyline of the offseason for OSU as the 2022 season ended, and now it feels like it has largely been under-discussed. But let’s be real here: it was not inspiring in 2022. Chalk that up to injuries to Spencer Sanders, sure, or to injuries along the offensive line, fine, but Kasey Dunn has a lot to prove behind the sticks this season. A good OC overcomes difficult circumstances. I firmly believe Todd Monken could turn Alan Bowman and Jaden Bray into the next Weeden-Blackmon, and while maybe that is a little unrealistic in terms of expectations, the hope here is that OSU’s offense is less inept than it was last season. That’d be progress.

No. 3: OSU will enter the 2023 season with its third DC in as many seasons after Mike Gundy hired Bryan Nardo from Division-II Gannon earlier this offseason. Nardo certainly sounds like he knows his stuff — he won Gundy over and has a nice track record at a lower level — but the defense was a disappointment last season after Jim Knowles was so good and fed us such high expectations. Nardo takes over a defensive unit that has incredible tools, though, including an All-American candidate in Collin Oliver who can wreck offenses off the edge. Boone

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