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Big Twelve Football

BIG XII FOOTBALL PREVIEW

While the Big XII conference used the most logical method in forming the two big 12 2divisions that make up the league; geographically, the result has been the most lopsided conference among the six participating in the Bowl Championship Series.  Last season, three different schools, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech were ranked either #1 or #2 in the nation while another, Oklahoma State, cracked the top ten.  While the Sooners, Longhorns and Red Raiders each went undefeated vs. the rest of the league and split with each other, Missouri cruised to the top of the North division while posting a 5-3 conference record that would have landed them in fourth place had they been in the South.  The disparity showed, too, as Oklahoma rolled over the Tigers, 62-21 in the Dr. Pepper Big XII Championship game. 

Things don’t look like they’ll be any different this year as reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, returns to Norman for another title run and Colt McCoy, who finished second, is back in Austin with the same goal.  It’s bad enough that there is no chance that these two will play for the national title but even more disappointing that there is only one spot open to them in the conference championship tilt.  Such is the way of the Big XII, the strongest league in the country, despite what SEC fans might say.

Big XII North

1) KansasThe Jayhawks will try to take advantage of a favorable schedule, weak competition in the division and eight returning offensive starters to punch their ticket to the title game.  QB Todd Reesing to WR Dezmon Briscoe is a lethal combo that will be helped by the addition of WR Jonathan Wilson.  No team can contend in this league without a strong secondary and Kansas has a formidable one led by S Darrell Stuckey and CB’s Justin Thornton and Anthony Davis.   

2) ColoradoWhile the offense is unsettled as far as who will start and where, it’s because Head Coach Dan Hawkins has a number of solid choices in the backfield.  RB Darrell Scott has a narrow lead atop the depth chart, just ahead of playmaker Demetrius Sumler. That depth will be tested as the Buffs’ lack of a big time receiver will force them to rely on the ground attack.  Cody Hawkins heads into camp slightly ahead of Tyler Hansen, who broke his thumb in spring practice.  Both will see time.  Colorado’s weak secondary will be the biggest obstacle in making a run at Kansas.

3) MissouriAs RB Derrick Washington goes, so goes the Mizzou offense, as long as an inexperienced offensive line comes together enough to open some holes for him.  Soph QB Blaine Gabbert will have new faces on the outside as the Tigers must replace their top three pass catchers from a year ago. The defense is solid in the secondary and features such top talent as DE Jacques Smith, LB Sean Witherspoon and NT Jaron Baston.

4) Nebraska The biggest star for the Cornhuskers is returning NT Ndamukong Suh who had been projected as a top ten pick had he made himself available for the NFL draft.  Suh is one of three starters returning on the D-line who will front a deep linebacker corps.  Zac Lee takes over at QB and will lead a largely inexperienced group of skill position players.  Their success will depend on a talented offensive line.

5) Kansas State  Legendary coach Bill Snyder returns to rescue the Wildcats from the depths of the conference.  Unfortunately for Wildcats’ fans, it won’t be a quick fix.  Snyder needs to find a RB, his best WR, Brandon Banks, is just 5’6”and his first option at QB, Carson Coffman, is not a good fit for Snyder’s offense.

6) Iowa State The spread offense comes to Ames, courtesy of new coach Paul Rhoads.  That should be good news for QB Austen Arnaud, a solid runner.  He may have more running opportunities than he’d like, however, due to the porous offensive line.  The Cyclones defense couldn’t stop anyone last year and will look to correct that by installing a playmaking, risk taking system.  Wait’ll Texas and Oklahoma hear that.

Big XII South

1) Oklahoma State That’s right, Oklahoma State.  Despite the presence of two national title favorites in the division, the Cowboys are the pick here to represent the South in the Big XII title game.  Zac Robinson, who would be the best QB in most other conferences, leads a high powered offense that features the league’s best WR in Dez Bryant and top RB, Kendall Hunter.   While the defense was last in the league in sacks, Jeremiah Price looked very strong in spring practice and should benefit from the presence of new coordinator, Bill Young.   

2)TexasColt McCoy surprised many by deciding to spurn the megabucks of the NFL and return for his senior season.  McCoy, who threw 45 TD while posting a 77% completion percentage, was also the Longhorns leading rusher something Mack Brown would rather say about junior Vondrell McGee or freshman Chris Whaley.  On defense, Texas looks to LB/DE Sergio Kindle to replace Brian Orapko, who took his Lombardi Award to the NFL. 

3) OklahomaQB Sam Bradford brought his Heisman back to Norman for another crack at a national championship.  The task may be difficult as the Sooners have to replace most of their offensive line and two top WR.  Two RB, Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray ran for 1,000 YDS and both return. The defense returns 9 starters, among them DT Gerald McCoy, LB Travis Lewis and starting CB’s Brian Jackson and Dominique Franks. 

4)Texas TechSoph QB Taylor Potts has the unenviable task of replacing record breaking QB Graham Harrell while it is still unclear who will fill the shoes of departed WR Michael Crabtree.  Those losses are the two most notable and tend to take attention away from significant losses on the defensive side of the ball, namely Big XII sack leader Brandon Williams and safety Darrell McBath.  Could be a long year in Lubbock.

5) BaylorIt has to be frustrating for a program to have significant improvement that doesn’t translate into victories.  Such is the case for Baylor, a school that managed to be infinitely more competitive last year while managing just two conference wins.  QB Robert Griffin, an exciting playmaker, will be happy to see WR Kendall Wright and RB Jay Finley return.  Their production, however, is dependent on how well Baylor replaces two starting offensive tackles.

6)Texas A&MThe Aggies will rely heavily on freshman RB Christine Michael to carry its ground game, an imposing task if the play of the offensive line continues to be sub par. 

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BIG TWELVE FOOTBALL 2009 SCHEDULES

BAYLOR

09/05      at Wake Forest  
09/19      Connecticut 
09/26      Northwestern State 
10/03      Kent State
10/10      at Oklahoma 
10/17      at Iowa State  
10/24      Oklahoma State 
10/31      Nebraska 
11/07      at Missouri
11/14      Texas 
11/21      at Texas A&M 
11/28      Texas Tech  Arlington, Texas

COLORADO

09/06      Colorado state
09/11      at Toledo 
09/19      Wyoming
10/01      at West Virginia
10/10      at Texas
10/17      Kansas
10/24      at Kansas State
10/31      Missouri
11/07      Texas A&M
11/14      at Iowa State
11/19      at Oklahoma State
11/27      Nebraska

IOWA STATE

09/03      North Dakota State 
09/12      Iowa 
09/19      at Kent State 
09/26      Army  
10/03      Kansas State at Kansas City, Mo.
10/10      at Kansas
10/17      Baylor 
10/24      at Nebraska
10/31      at Texas A&M 
10/07      Oklahoma State
11/14       Colorado
11/21       at Missouri

KANSAS

09/05      Northern Colorado
09/12      at UTEP 
09/19      Duke
09/26      Southern Miss
10/10      Iowa State
10/17      at Colorado 
10/24      Oklahoma 
10/31      at Texas Tech  
11/07      at Kansas State
11/14      Nebraska  
11/21      at Texas  
11/28      Missouri at Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS STATE

09/05      Massachusetts 
09/12      at Louisiana-Lafayette  
09/19      at UCLA 
09/26      Tennessee Tech
10/03      Iowa State at Kansas City, Mo.   
10/10      at Texas Tech
10/17      Texas A&M
10/24      Colorado  
10/31      at Oklahoma 
11/07      Kansas
11/14      Missouri
11/21      at Nebraska

MISSOURI

09/05      Illinois at St. Louis, Mo.
09/12      Bowling Green
09/19      Furman
09/25      at Nevada 
10/08      Nebraska  
10/17      at Oklahoma State
10/24      Texas
10/31      at Colorado
11/07      Baylor
11/14      at Kansas State
11/21      Iowa State Columbia, Mo. TBA
11/28      vs. Kansas Kansas City, Mo.

NEBRASKA

 09/05      Florida Atlantic
09/12      Arkansas State 
09/19      at Virginia Tech 
09/26      Louisiana-Lafayette 
10/08      at Missouri
10/17      Texas Tech  
10/24      Iowa State
10/31      at Baylor 
11/07      Oklahoma
11/14      at Kansas
11/21      Kansas State
11/27      at Colorado

OKLAHOMA

09/05      BYU at Arlington,Texas
09/12      Idaho State
09/19      Tulsa 
10/03      at Miami 
10/10      Baylor 
10/17      Texas @ Dallas,Tx
10/24      at Kansas  
10/31      Kansas State 
11/07      at Nebraska  
11/14      Texas A&M 
11/21      at Texas Tech 
11/28      Oklahoma State

OKLAHOMA STATE

09/05      Georgia  
09/12      Houston 
09/19      Rice 
09/26      Grambling St. 
10/10      at Texas A&M 
10/17      Missouri 
10/24      at Baylor 
10/31      Texas 
11/07      at Iowa State
11/14      Texas Tech 
11/19      Colorado 
11/28      at Oklahoma 

TEXAS

09/05      Louisiana-Monroe
09/12      at Wyoming 
09/19      Texas Tech
09/26      UTEP 
10/10      Colorado 
10/17      Oklahoma @ Dallas,Tx 
10/24      at Missouri 
10/31      at Oklahoma State 
11/07      Central Florida
11/14      at Baylor 
11/21      Kansas 
11/26at    Texas A&M 

TEXAS A&M

09/05      New Mexico
09/19      Utah State
09/26      UAB
10/03      Arkansas @ Arlington, Texas
10/10      Oklahoma state 
10/17      at Kansas State  Manhattan, Kan. TBA
10/24      at Texas Tech  Lubbock, Texas TBA
10/31      Iowa state
11/07      at Colorado 
11/14      at Oklahoma 
11/21      Baylor
11/26      Texas

TEXAS TECH

09/05      North Dakota
09/12      Rice
09/19      at Texas 
09/26      Houston
10/03      New Mexico
10/10      Kansas State
10/17      at Nebraska
10/24      Texas A&M 
10/31      Kansas 
11/14      at Oklahoma State 
11/21      Oklahoma
11/28      Baylor @ Arlington, Texas

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