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    The Big 12 preview............... 2010 CFN Big 12 Preseason Preview

    The Big 12 was able to avoid extinction thanks to Texas deciding to stay put, but the same problems still exist. If anything, the issues and concerns are even greater.

    The conference isn't going to get better next year by losing Nebraska and Colorado, two of the signature stars when the Big 12 was first formed, while the competitive balance will tilt even further towards Austin and Norman. With two divisions, there was at least a puncher's chance for someone like a 2003 Kansas State or a Nebraska of last year to make things interesting, but that will probably be a thing of the past. Assuming there won't be a championship game starting in 2011 (the league would have to get the NCAA to allow a conference title game to be held despite only having ten teams), the Red River Rivalry will likely equal the Big 12 Championship year after year.

    In a two division system, a team just had to be the best in a six-team group. Next year, an Iowa State or a Kansas or a Kansas State will have to find a way to be better than Texas and Oklahoma and Missouri, and everyone else, to have a shot at the Big 12 title, and that's not going to happen without a Reggie Bush situation destroying one of the superpowers.

    As is, no one has been able to break the Sooner-Longhorn stranglehold on the South since Texas A&M shocked Kansas State for the 1998 title, and Texas and Oklahoma have represented the division 12 of the 14 years the Big 12 has been in existence and in each of the last 11 years. That's not likely to change this year, and it'll take something special for anyone else to win the conference title after Nebraska bolts.

    The problem for the Big 12 will continue to be stability. Texas might be staying put, but Missouri would jump ship to the Big Ten in a hiccup if asked. Kansas, who went into full-blown panic mode when it looked like it would be without a chair when the realignment music stopped, would have to find some true stability bolting to the Pac-10 now if it got the invite. There will still be grumbling across the board that the league is seen as Texas and a bunch of other teams (and that includes Oklahoma to some extent), the conference will be a clear No. 5 in national pecking order in terms of interest and excitement (at least until the Texas-OU game), and the TV exposure will take a hit.

    This year, the conference should come down to the Nebraska-Missouri winner in the North, and the Texas-Oklahoma battle in the South, with Texas A&M's offense making things interesting. Someone will step up from out of nowhere and will be shockingly above-average, possibly Colorado in the North and/or Baylor in the South, but for the most part, the haves will almost certainly get all the limelight again, and it's only going to get more unbalanced next year.

    Team That'll Surprise - Colorado
    There will be some rough moments with road trips to California, Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska, and a home game against Georgia won't be a peach, but the Buffaloes are just experienced enough, and just motivated and angry enough to finally start to make positive steps under Dan Hawkins. Taking care of the winnable home games against Hawaii, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas State is a must, and coming up with a win in the opener over Colorado State could make or break the season before it really gets started, but the pieces are there to come up with a winning season.

    Team That'll Disappoint - Oklahoma State
    The Cowboys will have a fun and wide open offense (even more of one than the past few years), there are plenty of good athletes across the board, and the first half of the schedule is easy enough to cause everyone to get excited, but there's too much rebuilding to be done and just enough rough spots of the schedule to be a bit of a down year after two straight nine-win seasons. OSU will still go bowling, but it could end up finishing fifth in the South.

    Game of the Year - Texas at Nebraska (Oct. 16)
    Of course the Oklahoma-Texas showdown in Dallas on October 2nd is the biggest game on the Big 12 slate, but after the Red River Rivalry is played, the battle in Lincoln could have more implications on the national title chase. The Huskers have two minor speed bumps in the first half of the schedule, at Washington and at Kansas State, but any team good enough to think about the national title has to roll through those. Most likely 5-0 before facing Texas, Nebraska will have this game, the Missouri game the week after, and the road trip to Texas A&M and that'll be about it. If Texas leaves Nebraska unbeaten, book the tickets to Glendale with only one road game the rest of the way (at Kansas State).

    5 Big-Time Players who Deserve a Bigger Spotlight
    1. DE - Aldon Smith, Missouri
    2. DE/LB - Brian Duncan, Texas Tech
    3. LB - Keenan Robinson, Texas
    4. WR - Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
    5. RB - Alexander Robinson, Iowa State

    Coach on the Hot Seat - Dan Hawkins, Colorado
    Mike Sherman had better come up with a nice season at Texas A&M, and Tommy Tuberville will get about 14 seconds of grace period before Texas Tech fans start comparing him to Mike Leach, but Hawkins might be on the hottest seat in America. With Colorado turning a page going into the Pac-10 next year, the powers-that-be will likely want a clean slate if Hawkins can't produce a winning 2010.

    5 Non-Conference Games the Big 12 had better take very, very seriously
    1. Kansas at Southern Mississippi (Sept. 17)
    2. Northern Illinois at Iowa State (Sept. 2)
    3. Southern Methodist at Texas Tech (Sept. 5)
    4. Central Florida at Kansas State (Sept. 25)
    5. San Diego State at Missouri (Sept. 18)

    Bold Predictions
    It'll be 2008 all over again with a three-way tie on top of the Big 12 South. Oklahoma will beat Texas, Texas A&M will beat Oklahoma, and Texas will beat Texas A&M, and the Longhorns will end up going to the Big 12 title game ..... The running back will make a comeback in the Big 12 with Kansas State's Daniel Thomas, Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray, Nebraska's Roy Helu, Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter, Iowa State's Alexander Robinson, Texas A&M's Christine Michael, and Colorado's Rodney Stewart all running for more than 1,000 yards ..... The South will go 22-2 in non-conference play with TCU beating Baylor and Arkansas beating Texas A&M in a shootout ..... Colorado will go bowling ..... Texas A&M Jerrod Johnson will average more than 300 passing yards per game and will go over 400 yards at least three times ..... Missouri will come up with a big year on both sides of the ball and will be the hot team going into 2011 ..... Missouri's Aldon Smith will come up with more sacks than Texas A&M's Von Miller ..... Robert Griffin will lead Baylor to one mega-upset simply by being Robert Griffin.

    5 Best Pro Prospects
    1. CB - Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
    2. DE - Von Miller, Texas A&M
    3. WR - Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
    4. LB - Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
    5. LB/DE - Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma

    5 Biggest Shoes to Fill
    1. DT Baker Steinkuhler for Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
    2. DE Jamarkus McFarland for Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
    3. LB Andre Gachkar for Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
    4. OT Nick Martinez for Russull Okung, Oklahoma State
    5. QB Garrett Gilbert for Colt McCoy, Texas

    ================================================================ 2010 Big 12 Preview - Unit Rankings

    How good each team is, and NOT the predicted finish

    Big 12 North
    1. Nebraska
    2. Missouri
    3. Colorado
    4. Kansas
    5. Iowa State
    6. Kansas State

    Big 12 South
    1. Oklahoma
    2. Texas
    3. Texas A&M
    4. Texas Tech
    5. Oklahoma State
    6. Baylor

    1. Texas A&M
    6. Iowa State
    8. Nebraska

    1. Texas A&M
    7. Iowa State
    11. Nebraska

    Running Backs
    1. Oklahoma
    6. Iowa State
    7. Nebraska

    1. Texas A&M
    7. Nebraska
    9. Iowa State

    Offensive Line
    1. Missouri
    2. Nebraska
    5. Iowa State

    1. Texas
    3. Nebraska
    12. Iowa State

    Defensive Line
    1. Nebraska - Losing Ndamukong Suh is hardly a plus, but the line has excellent end prospects to pick up the pass rushing slack and a future star in Baker Steinkuhler to man the middle. Jared Crick and Pierre Allen are destined for all-star status, and there will be a rush into the backfield from all four spots. This will be a hard working, high motor line that will occasionally stuff running games cold. Consider it a shock if this isn't the best line in the North by a wide margin.

    12. Iowa State

    1. Oklahoma
    3. Nebraska
    12. Iowa State

    1. Texas
    3. Nebraska
    12. Iowa State

    Special Teams
    1. Nebraska - Special teams were a point of emphasis last offseason, and the work paid off. The coverage teams could stand to be a bit tighter, but that's nitpicking. PK Alex Henery and returners Niles Paul and Tim Marlowe are terrific and should once again give the Huskers a major advantage in most games.

    7. Iowa State

    ================================================================ 2010 Big 12 Preview - Schedules & Picks

    Big 12 Schedules and Predictions

    Iowa State (4-8, 2-6)
    Northern Illinois - W
    at Iowa - L
    vs. Kansas State - W
    Northern Iowa - W
    Texas Tech - L
    Utah - L
    at Oklahoma - L
    at Texas - L
    Kansas - W
    Nebraska - L
    at Colorado - L
    Missouri - L

    Nebraska (10-2, 6-2)
    Western Kentucky - W
    Idaho - W
    at Washington - W
    South Dakota State - W
    at Kansas State - W
    Texas - L
    at Oklahoma State - W
    Missouri - W
    at Iowa State - W
    Kansas - W
    at Texas A&m - L
    Colorado - W

    ================================================================ 2010 Big 12 Preview - Team By Team Looks

    Team-by-Team Preview

    Predictions based on team talent and schedules

    Predicted Big 12 Championship Game
    Texas over Nebraska

    Big 12 North Predicted Finish

    1. Nebraska (10-2, 6-2)
    OFFENSE - Nebraska was able to win ten games with the 99th ranked offense in America, so it's not like the lack of production was a killer, but the Huskers could be in the hunt for the national title if they can get decent quarterback play. That's how big the quarterback battle is, and that's how important it'll be for Zac Lee and Cody Green to be more consistent. The line isn't special, but it's good enough to win with helped by four returning starters, the receiving corps gets back Niles Paul and some big, promising prospects, and 100% of the rushing yards gained last year return. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson must get something out of the passing game, though, or else all the other pieces won't work.

    DEFENSE - The defense went from soft in Bo Pelini's first year to a killer in Year Two. The Pelini brothers, Bo and defensive coordinator Carl, will have everyone flying around and being disruptive. While there's no Ndamukong Suh to be the star of the show, and losing four of the top five tacklers is a problem for any defense, there's no reason to expect much of a drop-off after finishing seventh in the nation and No. 1 in overall scoring D. Jared Crick and Pierre Allen are back to star up front, but they have to show they can handle life without Suh. The defensive back seven will be the story as it'll often go into a five defensive back set called the Peso. The corners could end up being the best in the Big 12, and while there might not be a lot of star power at safety, there will be plenty of stats. The linebacking corps should be excellent with Sean Fisher about to blow up.

    T2. Colorado (7-5, 5-3)
    T2. Missouri (9-3, 5-3)

    T4. Iowa State (4-8, 2-6)
    OFFENSE - The pieces are there for offensive coordinator Tom Herman's offense to shine, but the production has to come. The line that was among the best in the Big 12 North gets three good starters back, the receiving corps is loaded with experience and size, Alexander Robinson is one of the league's most explosive backs, and Austen Arnaud has the potential to be a dangerous all-around playmaker after refining his technique a bit. So why was it like pulling teeth to score over the second half of last year? The Cyclones finished last in the league in scoring offense and couldn't get the passing game moving deep, but they have the pieces in place to do far more and be far more consistent. The pass protection will be great, the running game will shine, so if Arnaud has a good year, the ofefnse could be one of the surprises of the Big 12 season.

    DEFENSE - Gene Chizik was supposed to be a defensive head coach and he didn't have any luck. Paul Rhoads knows defense and he didn't do much better. New the Cyclones have to patch together a defense with three new starting linebackers, no pass rush, and a lot of hope that experience in the secondary and on the line can finally translate into production. The D did a nice job of keeping points off the board, for the most part, keeping the mediocre teams in place, with a lot of bending without much breaking. Talent-level is a problem, and while everyone hustles and everyone works hard, everyone has to be more disruptive. Score 24 on Iowa State last year, win the game. The defense has to keep points off the board to help an offense with inconsistent firepower.

    T4. Kansas (5-7, 2-6)
    6. Kansas State (4-8, 1-7)

    Big 12 South Predicted Finish
    T1. Texas (10-2, 6-2)
    T1. Oklahoma (9-3, 6-2)
    T1. Texas A&M (9-3, 6-2)
    4. Texas Tech (9-3, 5-3)
    T5. Baylor (5-7, 2-6)
    T5. Oklahoma State (6-6, 2-6)

    ================================================================ 2010 Preview - All-Big 12 Team & Players

    First Team All-Big 12
    QB - Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M (SR)
    RB - Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State (SR)
    RB - Daniel Thomas, Kansas State (SR)
    WR - Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (JR)
    WR - Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M (JR)
    TE - Mike McNeill, Nebraska (SR)
    OL - Tim Barnes, Missouri (SR)
    OL - Ben Habern, Oklahoma (JR)
    OL - Kyle Hix, Texas (SR)
    OL - Dan Hoch, Missouri (JR)
    OL - Nate Solder, Colorado (SR)
    PK - Grant Ressel, Missouri (JR)
    KR - D.J. Monroe, Texas (SO)

    DL - Sam Acho, Texas (SR)
    DL - Jared Crick, Nebraska (JR)
    DL - Von Miller, Texas A&M (SR)
    DL - Aldon Smith, Missouri (SO)
    LB - Emmanuel Acho, Texas (JR)
    LB - Brian Duncan, Texas Tech (SR)
    LB - Travis Lewis, Oklahoma (SR)
    DB - Prince Amukamara, Nebraska (SR)
    DB - Emmanuel Lamur, Kansas State (JR)
    DB - Jimmy Smith, Colorado (SR)
    DB - Aaron Williams, Texas (JR)
    P - Tress Way, Oklahoma (SO)
    PR - Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (JR)

    Second Team All-Big 12
    QB - Robert Griffin, Baylor (JR)
    RB - DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma (SR)
    RB - Alexander Robinson, Iowa State (SR)
    WR - Niles Paul, Nebraska (SR)
    WR - Alex Torres, Texas Tech (SO)
    TE - Tim Biere, Kansas (JR)
    OL - Cory Brandon, Oklahoma (SR)
    OL - Elvis Fisher, Missouri (JR)
    OL - Nick Martinez, Oklahoma State (JR)
    OL - Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State (JR)
    OL - Danny Watkins, Baylor (SR)
    PK - Alex Henery, Nebraska (SR)
    KR - Eric Stephens, Texas Tech (SO)

    DL - Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma (SR)
    DL - Jake Laptad, Kansas (SR)
    DL - Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma (SR)
    DL - Colby Whitlock, Texas Tech (SR)
    LB - Quinton Carter, Oklahoma (SR)
    LB - Orie Lemon, Oklahoma State (SR)
    LB - Keenan Robinson, Texas (JR)
    DB - Chykie Brown, Texas (SR)
    DB - Curtis Brown, Texas (SR)
    DB - Tysyn Hartman, Kansas State (JR)
    DB - David Sims, Iowa State (SR)
    P - Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State (SO)
    PR - Niles Paul, Nebraska (SR)

    Big 12 Top 30 Players
    1. DE - Von Miller, Texas A&M
    2. WR/PR - Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
    3. LB - Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
    4. RB - Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
    5. DE - Aldon Smith, Missouri
    6. DT - Jared Crick, Nebraska
    7. QB - Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M
    8. DE - Sam Acho, Texas
    9. QB - Robert Griffin, Baylor
    10. DE - Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
    11. DE/LB - Brian Duncan, Texas Tech
    12. LB - Keenan Robinson, Texas
    13. QB - Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
    14. WR - Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
    15. RB - Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
    16. DE - Jake Laptad, Kansas
    17. NT - Colby Whitlock, Texas Tech (SR)
    18. RB - Alexander Robinson, Iowa State (SR)
    19. WR/KR - Niles Paul, Nebraska (SR)
    20. CB - Prince Amukamara, Nebraska (SR)
    21. CB - Jimmy Smith, Colorado (SR)
    22. CB - Aaron Williams, Texas (JR)
    23. DT - Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma (SR)
    24. LB - Emmanuel Acho, Texas (JR)
    25. RB - DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
    26. DE - Pierre Allen, Nebraska
    27. QB - Taylor Potts, Texas Tech
    28. LB - Orie Lemon, Oklahoma State
    29. RB - Christine Michael, Texas A&M
    30. DE - Marquez Herrod, Colorado

  2. #2
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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    4-8? and losing to colorado? seems harsh, also we're last in every defensive position? really?

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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    Luckily these previews don't mean ****....

    I can see how the D line (not very good last year) and linebackers (3 new guys) are ranked last but ranking the secondary last just baffles me.

    Colorado getting some pre season love as usual.

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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    I usually respect these guys more than any other sportswriters but I have no idea why Colorado is getting all this love. I also would not have ranked our secondary dead last - Sims and LJ alone make it at least 10th.

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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    There's a lot of things I don't understand about this article, but here's one that stands out the most.

    In their Big 12 North ranking, they have KU #4 and ISU #5. Then they go on to say that ISU will beat KU and finish 1 spot ahead of them in the standings.

    So how does that make KU better than ISU? And how is KU not ranked dead last? They were 1-7 in the Big 12 last year, have no pulse on defense, and all of the offensive firepower is gone? They might be lucky to win 3 games this year.

    EDIT: Also, Prince Amukamara is the #1 pro prospect in the Big 12, but he's only the 20th best player? How does that work?

    Last edited by CarolinaCy; 08-06-2010 at 10:14 AM.

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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    I usually respect these guys more than any other sportswriters but I have no idea why Colorado is getting all this love. I also would not have ranked our secondary dead last - Sims and LJ alone make it at least 10th.
    No doubt about our secondary. They have Sims as 2nd team all-conf, and LJ was a frosh all-american. I guess the other 2 guys are the worst DBs in football for them to bring our ranking down to last in the conference.

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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    I think with the DBs they're just looking at how many yards we gave up last year, and ignoring the absolute lack of pressure on the QB.

    I can't fault them for ranking us last on DLine (which may be where we end up) and last on LBs (I believe we'll end up quite a bit better than that). I can understand why they ranked us last in the secondary but I don't think it is true, and will probably be similar to the LBs at the end of the season.

    But unless the DLine shows at least a moderate improvement, we aren't going to have any highly ranked units at the end of this season either.

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    Re: 2010 Big 12 Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by DRCHIRO View Post
    Luckily these previews don't mean ****....

    I can see how the D line (not very good last year) and linebackers (3 new guys) are ranked last but ranking the secondary last just baffles me.

    Colorado getting some pre season love as usual.
    Well, it being colorado, I don't know about pre-season love but recruiting that I understand

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