Saturday, August 11, 2007

College Football 2007 Conference Preview: Big XII

The Big XII has been down in recent years but still has it's perennial powers in Texas and Oklahoma, also Nebraska is starting to get back to its old self. The league may be down on talent but it is as competitive as any other conference in the land.

Predicted Order of Finish

1. Nebraska
The Huskers will face a tough non-conference schedule facing USC and Wake Forest and tough in-conference road games against Missouri and Texas. They do lose QB Zac Taylor but transfer Sam Keller should be a good replacement for him. Keller has great arm strength and should put up good numbers under Bill Callahan's offense. They only return 11 starters overall, 5 on the defensive side, but they have enough depth and talent to overcome that and win the weaker division of the conference.

2. Missouri
The Tigers' offense should be decent with 8 starters back that includes QB Chase Daniel, (who I believe is one of the best QB's in the Big 12), two great tight ends in Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker, and RB Tony Temple who rushed for 1,063 yards in '06 and is the top returning rusher in the Big 12. The defense will need some tweaking with just 5 starters returning from that unit.

3. Kansas St.
KSU does return QB Josh Freeman, but he must show that he can be a little more consistent this season in order for the Wildcats to make some noise. The Wildcats fate will most likely lie on his shoulders. The O-line must also find some consistency along with depth as well. They do return great pass-catchers in Jordy Nelson and Daniel Gonzalez, which will help. The Cats do return more than half of the defense but have some holes to fill at LB. But the defensive front returns stud DE's Ian Campbell and Rob Jackson. The secondary has the most experience back than any other unit with 5 significant players with starting experience.

4. Colorado
The Buffs do have some experience to work with, 16 return overall. The biggest need is at QB where it's between Cody Hawkins and transfer Nick Nelson. Hawkins looks to be the leading candidate being the coaches son. The defense was a lot better than the offense last season and with 7 starters back it's looking a little brighter for CU. They'll need players to step up on the defensive front, but they'll be pretty strong with some good experience back at LB. The secondary lost 3 starters but they still have All-Big 12 CB Terrence Wheatley who is back along with some other talent as well.

5. Kansas
KU does indeed have 14 starters back, but experience doesn't always guarantee anything. They need to find a QB after losing Adam Barmann to graduation. They also have big holes to fill on the offensive and defensive lines. They do have a stud corner returning in Aquib Talib. Don't be surprised if sees time at WR as well.

6. Iowa St.
ISU does return a very athletic and talented QB in Bret Meyers, one of the best QB's in the conference, but he was sacked an average of 3 times per game last season; which means they'll need to improve on the offensive line, especially after losing 4 starters from '06. The defense will need to improve as well after allowing more yards than any other Big 12 team in '06.

1. Texas
The Longhorns will have a very explosive offense with the return of QB Colt McCoy, WR's Limas Sweed and Billy Pittman, and RB Jamaal Charles. Charles is an explosive back and will see more carries this season. The defense should be solid again with tons of talent and depth all over the field. But the biggest concern will be the secondary with only S Marcus Griffin returning.

2. Oklahoma
I would probably have OU winning the south but they still need to find a QB to fill in for the loss of Paul Thompson. But then again this is Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners I am talking about. Joey Halzle looks to be the projected starter for the season opener vs. North Texas. Keith Nichol could also make a fight for the starting position as well, but Halzle looks to be the favorite. They also need to replace Adrian Peterson, but RB Allen Patrick returns and should be one of the premier backs in the conference. Despite losing defensive stud Rufus Alexander, OU's defense will once again be far from a let down. They return 6 starters from that side of the ball and have plenty of talent everywhere.

3. Texas A&M
The Aggies have a chance to compete with Texas and OU once again for the Big 12 South Title, but their semi-tough schedule could be holding them back. They will visit Miami (FLA.), rival Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri and will play Oklahoma St., and Texas at home. They should have a pretty solid offense with 9 starters back including QB Stephen McGee, who was one of four QB's last season to pass for at least 2,000 yards and rush for at least 500. A&M also returns two stud RB's Jorvorkie Lane and Mike Goodson.

4. Oklahoma St.
They return 15 starters overall with several key players back in QB Bobby Reid, WR Adarius Bowman, and LB Chris Collins. The defense needs to improve in order to compete with Texas, OU, or even A&M, but they do return 7 starters on that side of the ball.

5. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders never have a problem scoring on offense, QB Graham Harrell returns who put up 4,555 yards and 38 TDs last season. The defense has some holes to fill, they gave up 23.8 ppg in '06. They can win shootouts with their defense, but it would make things a whole lot easier if their defense could make some stops.

6. Baylor
Baylor will struggle once again with many holes to fill on the offensive side. They do have a starting QB returning in Michael Machen. But they need to find some depth at RB where they struggled dramatically last season, ranking last in the nation in yards per game.

Big XII Championship:
Texas over Nebraska

Offensive Player of the Year:
Colt McCoy, QB- Texas

Defensive Player of the Year:
Frank Okam, DT- Texas

Freshman of the Year:
Tray Allan, G- Texas

Coach of the Year:
Bill Callahan- Nebraska

Games to Watch:
Nebraska at Texas- Oct. 27

Oklahoma vs. Texas at Dallas- Oct. 6

Oklahoma at Texas A&M- Nov. 3

Texas at Texas A&M- Nov. 23

Texas A&M at Nebraska- Oct. 20

1 comment:

grittysquirrels said...

I can't wait for OU vs. TEX. It's gunna be such a good game.

I feel it also worth mentioning how much better the South is than the North in the BIG12. I think your 1-3 (tex, ou, a&m) in the south could all win the north.