BIG TWELVE FOOTBALL PREVIEW, 2007-2008 SEASON.
Below is roughly a paragraph about each and every football team in the big twelve North and South. The order I write about them is order I predict them to finish in.
BIG TWELVE NORTH
Nebraska. When Bill Callahan took over for Frank Solich in 2004 he planed on implementing much more of modern offense. While that plan might not have been a favorite of long time Nebraska fans who still call for the options of Eric Crouch and Tommie Frazier. His first two years at head coach have given him a 16-8 record. Last year they averaged 40 rushing attempts with 30 passing attempts, per game, and managed to throw for over 250 yards 7 times, and 300 hundred yards 3 times. This could be a very big year for Nebraska. With the North wide-open and a team full of seniors a division title would not be shocking. Nebraska will have to play above all expectations though if they want a trip to the BCS, with games against USC, Texas and Missouri.
Missouri. Brad Smith set 69 school, big twelve, and NCAA records and became the first player in NCAA history to have 8,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing in a career.
Junior quarterback Chase Daniel who is entering his second season as the full-time starter, will try to claim some of those records for himself. As last year he threw for 3,527 yards, with 28 Touch downs, while averaging 276 yards a game through the air. The offensive line will be the strength of the offense. Although this season they will have to play with out "first team-all big twelve" Right tackle Joel Clinger, they are still returning a very good and experienced group at O-Line. The first four games of the season are very easy and expect to see a 4-0 record, but from then on it gets very hard for the tigers, with games at Oklahoma and Kansas State, and even though they get Texas Tech and Texas A&M at home will still be challenges. But, it still hinges on the October 6th showdown in Columbia, against Nebraska.
Kansas St. For many people in Manhattan Kansas when coach Bill Snyder left, it meant that Kansas state football had left as well. Before Snyder was the Head Coach, Kansas State had the worst overall record in college football history. After he took the helm they went to eleven strait bowl games from 1992- 2003, including two Fiesta, and Cotton bowl appearances. He is gone know but Kansas state football is here to stay, as new Head Coach Ron Price was able to finish second in the north last year and even make a bowl appearance. Led by sophomore quarterback Josh freeman who had 323 yards passing in the upset win over Texas last year. He looks to be the corner-stone as Ron Price tries to build his own legacy in "the little apple."
Colorado. Returning 15 starters from a team that went 2-10 is not typically a good thing but in the case of the Colorado Buffaloes it's an alright thing. With a very close lose at Georgia, 14-13. Then the next week they out gained Missouri in total yards but lost the turnover battle and ended up losing the game. So it's apparent that the talent is there for Colorado to be a good team. The strength of the defense will be on the defensive line. Even though they lose Abraham Wright who had 11.5 sacks last year, junior college transfer Drew Hodgkin's looks to take his place at the DE spot. Although
The buffs' were just 2-10 last year, a bowl berth is a definite possibility.
Kansas. Kansas has never finished in the upper-half in the big twelve north. Not even since the leagues inception in 1996 have the Jay Hawks finished with a better conference record than 3-5. Last year could have been the magical year for Kansas, not getting Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech on there schedule and the north being so wide open, but they managed a 6-6 record with no bowl. That being said, and the black-hole like void at quarterback, this could be another very tough year for Kansas. The Defense is anchored by the linebackers, the entire two deep core returns from last years staff.
Iowa State. Last year was a bad year going 4-8, but it could have been much worse, with three of the games they won with a combined margin of victory of 22 points. New Head coach Gene Chizik for who was the defensive coordinator for Texas last year. Senior quarterback Brett Meyer is expected to start after making all twelve starts last year. He threw for 2546 yards and rushed for 410 yards. It looks to be a very long year in Ames, as the cyclones have Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Missouri all on the road.
Big Twelve South.
Oklahoma. I know that Oklahoma lost three games last year, but they had some remarkable bad things happen. It started with them losing Rhett Bohmar, and JD Quinn, both Starters. Then losing the "Red River Shoot-out" because of FIVE turnovers, even though they out-gained Texas by nearly 100 yards; also the Oregon game was lost on a wrong call by the referee. All that being said, Paul Thompson did a great job stepping in at the last minute last year, as both the leader of the team and as a serviceable quarterback. This year will be much like last year for Oklahoma, they will have to rely heavily on that great defense and a very strong running game. Even though Adrian Peterson is gone who finished third on the all-time Oklahoma rushing list; but new running back DeMarco Murray could be just as good as Peterson. If Oklahoma gets decent Quaterback play, they could be national title contenders.
Texas. Last year Colt McCoy had a year of surpassing expectations, he set a school record for most touchdown passes in a single game with 6 against Baylor, he also set a record for most touchdown passes in a season, with 29 ( even beating out Vince Young). I would not be surprised to see a down year for Texas this year. Texas lost seven players to the NFL draft, two of which on the offensive line. Getting Nebraska out of the north could end up as a loose, and TCU is a very legitimate football team and Tommy Blake could keep Colt McCoy on the run all game. The Key for the Texas Defense is on the line, as DT frank Okam looks to be a top ten draft choice, and DE Brian Orakpo is looking to have a break out season.
Oklahoma State. I really like how improved the Cowboys could be this year, as they have 15 returning starters, and a return in the big three QB Bobby Reid, RB Dantrell Savage, and WR Adrius Bowman. Bobby Reid is a very good quarterback who is doesn't get the hype that others do, but last year he passed for 2296 yards, and ran for exactly 500 yards. While Adarius Bowman managed to record 60 receptions, and averaged 19.7 yards a reception. RB Dantrell Savage gained 843 yards last year, but also proved to be an option as a receiver out of the back-field. I see an opening weekend upset of Georgia, even though its between the hedges, but even there tough schedule will make this season one to remember, with games at Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Nebraska.
Texas A&M. It's been a tough past 6 years to be an aggie, since 2001 Texas A&M has a 1-5 record against Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma. Knowing that, last seasons victory against Texas in Austin has charged this aggie team with expectations, and probably coach Dennis Franchione's last chance to keep his job. As Stephen McGee enters his Junior year, the teams offensive attack will be centered around the option and power running, much like it was last year. The aggies averaged 207 yards rushing, a game last year, and Stephen McGee rushed for 666 yards last year. The aggie's have arguably the best running back group in the conference, with fan-favorite Javorski Lane, who measures out to about 6-0, 274 pounds and is a classic power back. But, the Better player is actually Mike Goodson, who's 41 yard touchdown run was the difference in the Texas game.
Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are the only team in big twelve history not to have a losing season, but also have had only one 10 win season. This year the offense will be as explosive as ever, being led by the first veteran QB at tech in five years, Graham Harrell. Who last year threw for 4555 yards, more than double what Bobby Reid at OSU, Colt McCoy at Texas, or Stephen McGee at A&M. The Defense will be a question mark once again though with only four returning starters, Joe Garcia, and Jake Ratliff will have to step up. Texas Techs first game at SMU, on the hilltop, could be battle as SMU is a solid young team, but with games at OSU, Missouri, and Texas. Texas Tech might have to struggle to make it another winning season.
Baylor. The Baylor Bears have always been the outsiders looking in when it comes to big twelve football. Never recording a winning season, in the history of the Big Twelve. Although Guy Morriss is doing a good job of rebuilding, nearly making bowls the past two seasons with 5-6, and 4-7 records, this year looks to be a rebuilding year, with a rather difficult schedule and losing 31 letterman last year, winning a single conference game is an accurate goal for the bears this season.
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