7. Baylor Bears
Baylor came out of nowhere last year and nearly won the Big 12 after years of irrelevancy. A lot of that success came as a result of the coaching of head coach Matt Rhule, who departed this offseason and took the Carolina Panthers head coaching job.
Rhule was replaced by Dave Aranda, who now looks to keep Baylor relevant in his first year. Aranda was the assistant head coach at LSU, so his resumé is pretty impressive, but this will be a tough year for any new head coach to really cement himself.
The Bears are currently riding a two-game winning streak against Kansas State, with last year’s win being an absolute beatdown over the Wildcats (31-12). Things should be different this time around even with this game taking place in Waco on November 28th.
6. West Virginia Mountaineers
Yet another team on this list with a new head coach is West Virginia, who landed Neal Brown from Troy over the offseason. Brown was a big part of Troy’s success and he’ll look to bring a winning culture to West Virginia, who haven’t been the same program they were just a few short years ago.
The Mountaineers have had Kansas State’s number, winning the last four games against them and all in frustrating fashion. They narrowly escaped Manhattan with a victory last year, winning 24-20 against a K-State squad that was definitely the better team on the field.
West Virginia always plays the Wildcats tough, so that’s why they’ve earned the sixth spot on this list. They know how to beat Kansas State and with this game taking place in Morgantown on Halloween, it’ll be really tough for K-State to do what they haven’t been able to in five years.