August 04, 2004

Let's play some Football! Big 12 Version

Let’s Play Some Football! Big 12 Version

The Frinklin College Football preview continues on, hitting the Big 12 this time around. The Big 12 is a bit weaker this year. While Oklahoma and Texas should be top-10 teams at minimum, the other contenders (Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska) all show some significant holes.

North Division

1. Missouri Tigers
Gary Pinkel’s rebuilding of the Tigers continues. This is a good team, a possible breakout team, but could very well be overrated going into the season. Brad Smith is an exciting player, but needs to improve his passing to join the elite quarterbacks. It doesn’t help he has little at receiver. Defensively they need to improve, and they should.

2. Kansas State Wildcats
After a huge win in the Big 12 Championship, the Wildcats seemed to sleep through part of the Fiesta Bowl. That isn’t a good sign for a team facing life without Ell Roberson. The QB should be Dylan Meier, but the offense will run through Darren Sproles, a Barry Sanders impersonator who should contend for the Heisman.

3. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Bill Callahan begins in Lincoln, as Frank Solich’s 9-3 record wasn’t good enough. So they hired a guy who when 4-12. It makes perfect sense in some alternate universe, I imagine. Despite that, Callahan’s hiring has been well received by the faithful, and his move to the West Coast Offense has begun. Unfortunately, for the Big Red, you need a QB to play the WCO, and all the Huskers have are guys recruited to play the option. The Black Shirts will have to carry this team for a while, despite having their third defense coordinator in as many years.

4. Colorado Buffaloes
After an off-season filled with turmoil, Gary Barnett returns to coach his collection of rapists and thugs.

Oh, I’m sorry; he’s been sorta exonerated hasn’t he? Anyway, the Buffs are an okay team, after doing a 180-last year. Colorado was a running team recently, with Chris Brown and company, but last year the running game failed. To compensate, Colorado switched to a passing attack led by ex-baseballer Joel Klatt. Klatt is back, but his receiver corps is bare. Defensively the Buffs have a new coordinator, as Mike Hankwitz returns with his attacking style.

In addition, the chances are slim of any kickers being raped.

5. Kansas Jayhawks
Mark Mangino managed to squeeze the ‘Hawks into a bowl ahead of schedule, but don’t look for a repeat. Kansas is still a couple good recruiting classes away from being solid mid-level Big 12 team. They are headed in the right direction though.

6. Iowa State Cyclones
On the other hand, Dan Carney’s rebuilding project stalled without Seneca Wallace last year, as the Cyclones flailed on offense. This year, with heralded redshirt Bret Myer, a Brad Smith clone taking over, ISU should score some points. The defense still needs upgrading.

South Division

1. Oklahoma Sooners
After a couple months of being compared with the best teams in college history, the Sooners fell with a resounding thud last season. It will be interesting to see how well they react. Lucky for Sooner fans they still have tons of talent, and Mike Stoops, the best coach in college football. Jason White returns for what could be a seriously anticlimactic senior year.

2. Texas Longhorns
It could suck to be Mack Brown this year. As always, the problem with Texas isn’t talent, it’s desire and coaching. Brown has now lost six in a row to Oklahoma, including last year’s laugher. Texas fans are rapidly losing patience, and being flattened by a less-heralded WSU in the Holiday Bowl did not help. To add to his worries he now has to deal with a possible quarterback controversy, featuring the mega-talented recruit who can’t seem to get it together and the less talented, but smarter guy who seems to rally the team behind him. Sound familiar?

3. Texas Tech Red Raiders
The divide between second and third in this division remains a chasm, despite Mike Leach’s best efforts. He has the Red Raiders humming, and it shouldn’t be too long before they start knocking on the door. This year’s worry is replacing BJ Symons at quarterback, but last year Raider fans worried about replacing Kliff Kingsbury. It’s all about the system in Lubbock. This team will score, and the defense, led by DE Adell Duckett, is better than you think.

4. Texas A&M Aggies
Dennis Franchione’s rebuilding of the Aggies continues; A&M has a nice starting lineup led by WR Terence Murphy, RB Courtney Lewis and safety Jaxson Appel, but little depth. Reggie McNeal, the undisputed QB now that Dustin Long has transferred needs to start living up to the hype. A brutal schedule will not help matters.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Les Miles has done wonders with this program, after years in the doldrums. The Cowboys should take a bit of step back this year though, losing QB Josh Fields, WR Rashaun Woods and RB Tatum Bell, the nucleus of a fine offense. Miles has to choose between two talented freshman quarterbacks in Robbie Reid and Donavon Woods, in order to form the next one.

6. Baylor Bears
The Bears overpaid for Coach Guy Morriss last year, but they had too, as Waco is turning into a graveyard since joining the Big 12. First Morriss has to settle on a quarterback, after juggling between Aaron Karas and Shawn Bell. Both return this year, plus Juco transfer Dane King. The defense, a blitz happy version of the 4-2-5, features two quality players in DE Khari Long and WLB Justin Crooks. The hope this year is fewer blowout losses. After that they can worry about wins and bowls and such.

Overall Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma Sooners
ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12 ,Non-BCS Conferences, PAC-10, SEC

Posted by Frinklin at August 4, 2004 08:11 PM

I was checking out your Big 10 predictions and noticed IU on bottom, where most people would put them. They've been a pleasant jolt to the NCAA College Football Standings . It's still early, but they might just pull off a Northwestern style Cinderella story!

Posted by: Froman at September 22, 2004 01:35 PM
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