By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the last week and a half. I’m almost completely done with Athlon’s 2011 college football preview.
Like most, this specific publication is VERY high on Big 12 offenses heading into the fall.
I found the following notes especially interesting.
*** Three of the top five quarterback units in America belong to Big 12 teams. Baylor is No. 3, with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at four and five. Athlon LOVES Baylor junior Robert Griffin. Athlon loves Robert Griffin so much, the magazine might consider marrying him. Athlon ranks him as a preseason third-team All-American. This is obviously all off of potential. Griffin is a game plan changer no doubt. But is he really a proven third-team All-American? Absolutely not.
I’m not saying that Athlon will fall on their face with this prediction. After all, Griffin will have more help than ever in 2011, which leads me to…
*** What’s scary about these quarterback rankings is the fact that these guys have some scary-good wide receivers to throw the ball to. Half of the teams in the Big 12 fill out Athlon’s top 10 rankings of WR/TE units in America. —- Oklahoma 2, Oklahoma State 3, Texas A&M 4, Missouri 7 and Baylor 8. Of those five teams, Missouri is the only program without a proven quarterback to start the fall.
*** This one really blew my mind. Of the 10 "Heisman Hopefuls" that Athlon ranks, five prospects hail from the Big 12. — Landry Jones 6, Brandon Weeden 7, Justin Blackmon 8, Ryan Broyles 9 and Robert Griffin at 10. Not to obsess or anything, but zero Big Ten players are listed as Heisman hopefuls. I only point this out for the sake of comparison.
*** I think that most fans are underrating Missouri heading into the fall. Other than the issue at quarterback (which I admit is a pretty big issue to have), this might be Gary Pinkel’s best team ever in Columbia. Here’s where the Tigers are placed in the following Athlon unit rankings:
WR/TE – 7th
OL – 9th
DL – 6th
LB – 10th
That’s a balanced football team folks. If Pinkel just gets adequate play out of first year starting quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers could be very good.