Just under five Saturdays until Big 12 football embarks on its first season as a 14-member league.
The Big 12 finished its Media Days this past week, welcoming four new schools. Big 12 football and the conference at large will be saying farewell to two that have built the league’s foundation and spent a lot of seasons as the premier program.
With coaches giving their two cents on the upcoming season and fall ball right around the corner, here’s a look at each Big 12 football team’s biggest concern entering 2023.
Big 12 football: Every team’s biggest concern for 2023 season
There were multiple problems with the Bears in 2022, and head coach Dave Aranda was open to sharing what went wrong.
Baylor does have quite a few returning starters, more so on offense. However, the secondary took the most considerable toll in the off-season. Starting STAR Al Walcott and cornerback Lorando Johnson went to Arkansas while starting safety Devin Neal transferred to Louisville.
Safety Devin Lemear remains the lone starter, and although seventh-year linebacker and converted STAR Bryson Jackson moves to the secondary, he’s been in college football a long time, and a position change could create early rust.
BYU: Skill position
The Cougars have had a fair share of good offensive talent, headlined by running back Tyler Allgeier and wide receiver Puka Nakua.
Quarterback Kedon Slovis will have some options with experience, including multi-year tight end Isaac Rex. Kody Epps and Keanu Hill are other main targets from 2022 but will be relied on more heavily in 2023.
With Slovis’ final dance in college, he hopes to get the most out of his supporting cast and for BYU to crash the Big 12 party.
UCF: Defensive depth
Much of UCF’s preseason buzz comes from John Rhys Plumlee and Gus Malzahn getting a second chance at the Power 5 level.
What does come as a worry is the team’s defensive depth. The Knights last year recorded just six interceptions and 22 sacks, both in the lower half of the league. They addressed some problems through the portal with Oklahoma defensive lineman Derrick LeBlanc and Georgia linebacker Rian Davis.
Cornerback Decorian Patterson comes from Middle Tennessee and had more interceptions last year than the entire Knights team.
The immediate calvary is in Orlando, but how much can the defense step forward? In a new league, the unit’s depth will be showcased.
Cincinnati: Can they meet the Big 12 standard of offense?
The Bearcats did not finish their American Conference tenure as expected, finishing 9-4 and losing to their current head coaches’ former school, Louisville.
Their offense took a step back, averaging under 30 points per game, finishing eighth in the league in scoring and tenth in rushing offense.
They re-hauled the wide receiver unit, bringing in four transfers and have a new lead-running back in Corey Kiner, previously at LSU.
Emory Jones jumps over from Arizona State, uniting him with Satterfield, who is fearless in trying to let scrambling quarterbacks use their feet.