Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 College Football Preview: Big 12

The Big 12 has seen its conference champion upset in a BCS bowl the last two seasons but the, “Rise of the North” could bring a balance of power to the Big 12 and help it catch up to the SEC as the strongest conference in the country. We’ll most likely see a rematch of last year’s conference championship game and very possibly different results in the bowl season.

North Division Predictions

Missouri – The Tigers return 14 starters from last year’s team that saw them ranked #1 in the country going into the conference championship game. Some are picking the Tigers to play for the national championship but I’m not yet willing to go that far. I think that Tony Temple will be missed this year and the Tigers will go as far as Chase Daniel can carry them.

Kansas – The Jayhawks return 15 starters from last year but have a schedule that could have Nebraska nipping at their heels. Kansas has to play Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech in `08.

Colorado – You might need to take a double-take here but the Buffs made a believer out of me last year. They have another year of experience under their belts and the addition of running back Darrell Scott should make a significant difference. I expect the Buffs to go bowling this year.

Nebraska – I really want Nebraska to finish better than this but you really can’t blame me for being gun shy after the Huskers only won two conference games last season. The good news is that it won’t take much to improve from that.

Kansas State – The Wildcats are stocking up on JUCO’s but will strongly miss All-American wide out Jordy Nelson and could struggle with their rushing game. The should be pretty solid on defense though.

Iowa State – The Cyclones showed some serious moxie last year and have 14 returning starters but it will still a rebuilding year in Ames.

South Division Predictions
Oklahoma – The Sooners have possibly the best offensive line in the country, a Heisman candidate playing quarterback and an explosive running back. Oh yeah, they are pretty solid on defense also.

Texas Tech – More and more this seems to be the popular pick and it isn’t settling very well in Austin, TX. However the facts are that the Red Raiders could have the most explosive offense in the conference and Texas still has a lot to prove on defense.

Texas – Mack Brown has never finished below 2nd in the South but the Longhorns have the fewest returning starters (11) of any team in the South and only 4 of them are on defense.

Oklahoma State – Having to play Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech on the road could cost the Cowboys a top three finish but if the defense ever catches up with the offense in Stillwater things will change quickly.

Texas A&M – Only 10 returning starters along with new offensive and defensive schemes will be too much for the Aggies to overcome in this division.

Baylor – The Bears have a new coach this year in Art Briles but they have a lot of ground to make up still.

My Pre-Season All-Conference Team

QB – Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
RB – Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
RB – DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
WR – Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
WR – Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
WR – Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma
TE – Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
C – Jon Cooper, Oklahoma
G – Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech
G – Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
T – Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma
T – Rylan Reed, Texas Tech

DE – Ian Campbell, Kansas State
DT – DeMarcus Granger, Oklahoma
DT – Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
DE – Austin English, Oklahoma
LB – Joe Mortensen, Kansas
LB – Mike Rivera, Kansas
LB – Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma
CB – Lendy Holmes, Oklahoma
CB – Ryan Palmer, Texas
S – Nic Harris, Oklahoma
FS – William Moore, Missouri

Special Teams
K – Jeff Wolfert, Missouri
P – Justin Beantly, Texas A&M
KR – DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
PR – Deon Murphy, Kansas State

Sound Off - Share your Big 12 predictions in the forum.