College football: Which future Big 12 team will have the best season?

When the calendar turns July 1 next year, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will officially join the Big 12.

In the middle of the 2022 season, what future Big 12 team enjoyed the most success in their final year before joining the Power Five?

Here’s a look at what each school has done so far this season.


Cincinnati Bearcats

Bearkat’s only loss was seven points to no. 19 Arkansas to start the season.

Since then, Cincinnati has won five in a row and is in a position to automatically win a Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six game if she wins, one year after breaking into the program at College Football Playoff.

Cincinnati bids farewell, and away from a close victory over South Florida in their last game, the Bearcats have three wins over the FBS competition by an average victory margin of 17.3 points. That includes a 45-24 win over the Big Ten’s Indiana.

Cincinnati has some big Tests left, including at the UCF on October 29 and at home against No. 25 Tulane on November 25 in the regular season final.


Central Florida wide receiver Ryan O'Keefe (4) celebrates his 68-yard touchdown pass against Temple with offensive lineman Samuel Jackson (73) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 , in Orlando, Florida.

Central Florida wide receiver Ryan O’Keefe (4) celebrates his 68-yard touchdown pass against Temple with offensive lineman Samuel Jackson (73) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 , in Orlando, Florida.

John Rao, The Associated Press

UCF Knights

  • register: 5-1 overall, 2-0 at AAC.
  • Ranking: He has votes in AP and coaches polls, 17th in Jeff Sagarin’s rankings, 19th on ESPN FPI.

The Knights have been rolling over the past month, averaging 44.5 points per game in four straight wins.

The UCF’s only 20-14 loss came to ACC’s Louisville, while the Knights beat another Power Five school, Georgia Tech, in a 27-10 match.

A huge game looms on October 29 against Cincinnati – it’s homecoming for the UCF – and at Tulane two weeks later, with a game in Memphis between these two.


KJ Jefferson (1), the Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback, runs the ball while playing BYU Cougars at Provo on Saturday, October 15, 2022.

KJ Jefferson (1), the Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback, runs the ball while playing BYU Cougars at Provo on Saturday, October 15, 2022.

Ben B Brown, Desert News

BYU Cougars

  • register: 4-3 in general.
  • Ranking: No votes in AP or coach polls, No. 57 in Jeff Sagarin’s rankings, No. 54 in ESPN FPI.

The Cougars are fighting a slide in two games – losing to Power Five Notre Dame and Arkansas schools – after starting the year 4-1 and beating 12th-time defending champion Baylor twice.

It’s a frustrating extension of a program that started the year in the Top 25 list and ranked right up to the loss of Notre Dame.

BYU has some win-win games on the schedule, with road races this week in Liberty, November 5 at Boise State and November 26 at Stanford to decide how to watch this season.


Houston streak man Anthony Jones (44) stops Memphis receiver Gabe Rogers (9) in his tracks during an NCAA college football game Friday, October 7, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn.

Houston streak man Anthony Jones (44) stops Memphis receiver Gabe Rogers (9) in his tracks during an NCAA college football game Friday, October 7, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn.

Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian via The Associated Press

Houston Cougars

  • register: 3-3 overall, 1-1 in AAC.
  • Ranking: No votes in AP or coach polls, No. 64 in Jeff Sagarin’s rankings, No. 63 in ESPN FPI.

Houston is in the .500 mid-season with the toughest showdowns behind them — the Cougars have fallen in a pair of Big 12 programs at Kansas and Texas Tech, including a double loss in overtime to the Red Raiders.

Houston also lost to the seeded Tulane team in overtime.

In the back half of the season, though, the Cougars’ schedule softens — the team faces only one team, 4-3 East Carolinas, with a winning record. Houston also plays three teams — Temple, Tulsa, and South Florida — all of whom have not won an AAC game.

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