If you’re tired of college basketball – which, admittedly, is like sacrilege to a sports fan this time of year – and you don’t find college baseball a suitable alternative, then maybe knowing that the preseason to the preseason in college football – the time of year known as spring football – is under way in earnest at most campuses around the Big 12 conference.
Texas, which has had a disappointing past three seasons by Longhorn standards, was the first school in the Big 12 to get things going in the new year in terms of organized spring practice, officially opened spring camp on Feb. 21 and will hold its annual Orange-White Scrimmage on Saturday at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin. One of the question mark at Texass heading into spring practice, is the team’s depth along the offensive line. New Longhorn offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has indicated that he would like to run a more up-tempo offense. The Longhorns return a senior-laden offensive front, but the depth below the starters is somewhat suspect entering spring ball.
Spring practice also has begun at TCU, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Most of that group will hold their annual spring games the first or second weekend in April. West Virginia and Oklahoma State opened their spring practice schedule a little later and will hold their spring scrimmages on April 20. Both Texas Tech and Iowa State opened spring football practice two weeks after West Virgina and Oklahoma State, but will still hold their spring football games on April 20.
Big 12 co-champion from a year ago, Kansas State, will be the last of the conference schools to hold spring football activities. The Wildcats’ spring practice schedule does not begin until April 3 and commences on April 27 with the annual Purple-White spring football game.
Several of the top quarterbacks in the college game last season resided in the Big 12 and have moved on, so there will be new faces to contend with at the QB position when the 2013 season begins in the fall. Despite that factor, however, Big 12 teams are again expected to produce high-scoring, pass-happy offenses in the coming season.
Some telling facts from the season once removed (2012):
- Ninety percent of the Big 12 teams participated in postseason bowl games in 2012, the highest percentage from one conference in college football history. Kansas was the only school not to go to a bowl game in 2012.
- Last season marked the seventh year in the past eight that at least eight conference teams played in a bowl game.
- Big 12 teams averages 457.1 yards of total offense per game last season, the highest among Football Bowl Subdivision leagues over the last firve seasons.
- The Big 12 scored a nation-best 35.2 points per game a year ago, the third consecutive season Big 12 teams have averaged more than 30 points a game.
- The Big 12 has ranked in the top eight nationall in scoring offense every season, with a teams in the top five in 14 of the past 17 years.
- To counter those who think the Big 12 is only interested in offense, at least one team in the conference has finished among the top eight in scoring defense in 12 of the past 17 years.
- TCU and Texas led the country with 16 true freshmen playing last season.
Follow Big 12 football all year long and read news and commentary on all of the teams in the conference at Talking12.com.