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Charlie's Inside Corner: August 25
Casey got it right
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It’s that time of year when all of us “smarties” predict who are going to win all of the football games; tell you who is going to which bowl game and why. Famed former New York Yankee manager, Casey Stengel once said , “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” Good advice Casey. Since I am batting 1000 on my predictions made about the past, I will venture a few predictions about this upcoming Big 12 football season.
Since it is easier to pick losers than it is winners, let’s start at the bottom. That would be Iowa State. The Cyclones won’t lose all of their conference games but they will lose in Lawrence and that will be big, dooming them to the bottom of the standings. The Cyclones last won a league title in 1912, YES, 105 years ago in the Missouri Valley Conference. I predict they won’t win one this year either!
The eighth and ninth spot will have a tie between Kansas and Baylor. Things are difficult in Waco. New coach Matt Rhule has his hands full in keeping the Bears from going into hibernation. Don’t expect miracles in his first year.

Speaking of miracles, the Kansas Jayhawks will climb out of the Big 12 basement and win more than one conference game. As he begins his third season as head Jayhawk, David Beaty has shown consistent, if not spectacular, improvement in his football team. They are still a few bolts short of an efficient machine but they do now have some playmakers and gamebreakers on the roster. Four wins a probability, five a possibility.

Is Texas for real? Not yet. Like Notre Dame, the Longhorns always get more pre-season love than they deserve. A late-season swoon will take them out of contention as they struggle to sixth place.
Pat Mahomes is now in the Kansas City Chiefs’ tepee but Texas Tech always seems to find another competent gunslinger to throw 50 or 70 passes a game. Their new guy is Nic Shimonek. You haven’t heard of him but you will.

The misfits of the Big 12, West Virginia, have a lot of holes to fill from last year and coach Dana Holgorsen has taken the JUCO route to fill them. That can be a bumpy road. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The Mountaineers season hangs in that balance but a bowl game should happen from their fifth-place finish.

Don’t expect Gary Patterson at TCU to have another down season. It’s not in his DNA! He’s 149-54 in 17 seasons. The tough part of their season is that they have to play AT Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Oklahoma. Four really tough places to play. Even one win of those four will propel the Horned Frogs upward.

Have you noticed how quiet Bill Snyder has been in Manhattan this year? Even for Snyder, this is QUIET. That tells me he thinks he’s really got something! Bill Snyder had his youngest team ever last year. Most of them are back. Games at Texas and at Oklahoma State are keys for the Wildcats’ chances of making a run at a conference championship. The usual not-so-tough non-conference schedule sets up the Wildcats for another bowl game.

I like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in a dead heat for the conference championship. Both teams are loaded offensively but both teams’ defense will cough up a loss somewhere during the conference season that wasn’t expected, thus taking the Big 12 out of the national championship picture. The Sooners travel to Stillwater on November 4 for the showdown. Whoever wins that game will lose the Big 12 Championship game a few weeks later in a rematch. All of that will make the Big 12 admit that they need changes!

If you constantly walk around with a hammer in your hand, everything starts to look like a nail!

Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at