Can TCU And West Virginia Compete For The Big XII Championship In 2012?

With Texas Christian and West Virginia coming into the Big XII to replace Missouri and Texas A&M this fall there's a lot of off-season talk that they both might challenge for the conference title. There's no doubt that they both upgrade the level of competition within the conference.Missouri has never won a conference championship in football and Texas A&M hasn't competed for one since the 90's. Does that mean that the Frogs and Mountaineers will be automatic contenders though? Absolutely!

TCU's offense was clicking at a pace similar to Oklahoma State, Baylor and OU in 2011. Oklahoma State and Baylor are facing major overhauls on offense in 2012 and TCU is only facing a major overhaul on their offensive line. The Frogs lose three starters on the line and just wide receiver Antoine Hicks at the skill positions.

2011 Big XII Offensive Stats

Team

Points Per Game

Yards Per Game

Oklahoma State

49.3

557

Baylor

43.5

571.3

TCU

41.7

443.9

Oklahoma

40.3

532.1

West Virginia

34.9

459.6

Texas Tech

33.8

470.6

Kansas State

33.1

343.4

Texas

28.7

404

Iowa State

23.5

392.8

Kansas

22.3

326.8

The Mountaineers were also young in 2011 on offense and will most likely experience a few more growing pains in 2012 but they also possess the potential that allowed them to score ten touchdowns on Clemson in the Orange Bowl. They're only losing tight end Tyler Urban along with Don Barclay and Tyler Rader on the offensive line.

Defensively, TCU would have been tops in the conference in 2011 but its also an area that must show improvement coming into Big XII play. In their lone game against Big XII competition last season the Frogs gave up 50 points and 564 yards to Baylor. Granted, that was the first game of the season and a young TCU defense got better as the season progressed. However, the offenses they'll face weekly in the Big XII will be much stronger than what they progressed against in the Mountain West...with the exception of Kansas. With nine returning starters look for the TCU defense to possibly be one of the best in the conference next year.

2011 Big XII Defensive Stats

Team

Points Allowed Per Game

Yards Allowed Per Game

TCU

21.3

346.3

Oklahoma

22.8

383.2

Texas

23.3

315.3

Oklahoma State

25.8

445.7

West Virginia

26.3

340.3

Kansas State

27.8

398.8

Iowa State

29.6

432.3

Baylor

35.7

477.5

Texas Tech

39.3

485.6

Kansas

43.8

516.4

By the numbers it appears that if one of the two newcomers were going to challenge for the conference title in 2012 it would be TCU. They were stronger on offense and defense in 2011 and have more returning starters than West Virginia. However, there's one more thing to look at when attempting to find an advantage and that's the schedule. WVU gets Baylor, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma at home while the Frogs are traveling to Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas.

The Big XII is wide open next season with the rebuilding projects going on in Waco and Stillwater along with offensive and defensive worries at both Texas and Oklahoma. If a new team were to come in and take the conference crown the 2012 would certainly be the year to do so.

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