An early 2023 Big 12 projection by a national publication

The way-too-early college football top-25 projections for 2023 have been out for a couple of weeks now, and Oklahoma football is in the hunt in most all of them, but what does that mean for the Sooners in the Big 12 next season?

Last week, we did a compilation of the way-too-early top-25 projections to come up with a non-scientific pecking order of where the top teams in the Big 12 might fall next season. Now a national publication, Athlon Sports, has come out with a pre-spring forecast of how the Big 12 will shake out this fall and with four new teams joining the conference.

Oklahoma was one of five Big 12 teams listed in most of the way-too-early top-25 projections for next season, but they were also the lowest rated of the five teams.

TCU was ranked highest among the Big 12 teams in seven of 10 media outlets surveyed. Texas was the highest ranked Big 12 team in the remaining three.

The college football staff at Athlon Sports recently published its preseason projection of what the Big 12 standings will look like at the end of the 2023 season, and Texas got the nod as the conference favorite with TCU close on the Longhorn’s tail.

The No. 3 team in the Athlon projection might surprise you. The staff at Athlon picked Oklahoma to come in third, saying “the Sooners should rebound into Big 12 title contention in ’23” and noting that “Oklahoma’s defense gave up 30 points a game in ’22, but an infusion of (defensive) transfers provide optimism for improvement next fall.”

It was also pointed out that five of the Sooners’ seven losses were by seven or fewer points last season.

Here is how Athlon Sports projected that the rest of the soon-to-be 14-team conference will sort out when the dust settles next December:

4. Kansas State Wildcats (reigning Big 12 champions)

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders

6. Baylor Bears

7. UCF Knights

8. Kansas Jayhawk

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys

10. Iowa State Cyclones

11. Cincinnati Bearcats

12. BYU Cougars

13. Houston Cougars

14. West Virginia Mountaineers

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