Study: Common factors in the last 5 Big 12 champions

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday June 07, 2017

How do you win the Big 12? With Bob Stoops' retirement, only three current league head coaches have.

Take a look at what the last five champions have done against Big 12 opponents (Note: In case of co-champs, I chose the team that won head-to-head).

- All five had veteran quarterbacks, who were in at least their third year of college football, and two QB's went back-to-back.

2016: Baker Mayfield (OU, RS JR)
2015: Baker Mayfield (OU, RS SO)
2014: Bryce Petty (Baylor, RS SR)
2013: Bryce Petty (Baylor, RS JR)
2012: Collin Klein (KSU, RS SR)

Mayfield set an NCAA record for passer rating in 2016 and will be back in 2017. In addition, the two co-champions not included in this group — 2012 Oklahoma and 2014 TCU — were led by redshirt senior Landry Jones and redshirt junior Trevone Boykin, respectively.

- It’s a passing league. All five teams finished in the top 3 in yards per attempt in conference play.

- But you still need to run the ball. All five teams averaged more than 4.5 yards per rush on the ground.

- Four of these teams scored at least 45 points per game in Big 12 games and finished in the top 2 in the league, while 2012 Kansas State finished 4th in league scoring.

- Unlike the ACC, which had several negative-turnover-margin champs, you need to win the margin in the Big 12. All finished in the top four in the league.

- These teams kept drives alive. Four teams finished in the top 2 in 3rd down conversions, while 2015 Oklahoma was No. 3.

- They win the close games. There was only one 1-possession loss among the five teams.

Oklahoma 2016
52-46 win vs. TCU
45-40 win vs. Texas
66-59 win at Texas Tech

Oklahoma 2015
24-17 loss vs. Texas
30-29 win vs. TCU

Baylor 2014
61-58 win vs. TCU (trailed by 21 in 4th)
48-46 win vs. Texas Tech

Baylor 2013
41-38 win vs. TCU

Kansas State 2012
24-19 win vs. Oklahoma
27-21 win vs. Iowa State

What’s next? In 2017, seven of the 10 teams return their starting quarterback, including Mayfield, Mason Rudolph at OK State and Kenny Hill at TCU. Texas Tech needs a new starter, but will surely have an explosive offense again, and Texas' Shane Buechele will be a sophomore with a new coaching staff.

See CoachingSearch’s 2017 offseason studies

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to