Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Breaking Down The NCAA Part 10 of 12
Big 12 order of finish:
1. Kansas-QB Todd Reesing will carry this team to the North Title. Period. They will not surprise anybody this year, as they did not last year, but this is still a solid team. The North is in a rebuilding season this year and the Jayhawks could propel themselves to the title game. WR Dezmon Briscoe is All-Big 12 talent despite just being a junior. HC Mark Mangino will try to keep working his magic this season.
2. Nebraska- HC Bo Pelini came in on a hot streak, rebuilding the program fairly quickly. He reestablished the Black Shirt tradition on defense, and a more physical, Nebraska-esque offense and a more typical 9-4 season Cornhusker fans had become used to. With a Gator Bowl win over a disappointing Clemson, Pelini tries to build on his success. QB Zac Lee has the coaching staff excited and DT Ndamukong Suh may be the best player you have not heard of.
3. Colorado- Coach Dan Hawkins needs a bowl game badly this year. His son Cody leads the offense effectively but must keep better care of the ball. Colorado’s no name defense was the fourth best last year in the Big 12 and needs to continue that success so the Buffaloes can get over the hump. This program was in shambles after scandal after scandal, but may be clawing its back to the top.
4. Missouri- After being Back to Back Big 12 North titles, this could be a tough season for the Tigers. They lost QB Chase Daniels (graduation) WR Jeremy Maclin (1st round selection Philadelphia Eagles) and DT Ziggy Hood (1st round Pittsburgh Steelers) and TE Chase Coffman (3rd round Cincinnati Bengals). That would be tough for any team to rebound from. And with the rest of the Big 12 North on the upswing, the Tigers will barely make a bowl game.
5. Kansas State- HC Bill Snyder came out of retirement to rebuild the program again and return the Wildcats to prominence. Luckily, he stepped in at a good time. Although losing QB Josh Freeman in the first round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chase Coffman looks like a more than able replacement. A very soft non conference schedule (UCLA, Tennessee Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Massachusetts) means that Kansas State could be bowling again this season.
6. Iowa State- The Cyclones has not won since Seneca Wallace stood under center for them. They went 2-10 last year but close losses to Iowa and UNLV has new coach Paul Rhodes looking forward to a big jump in wins. The Cyclones do not face Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech this year and their non conference is North Dakota State, Iowa, Kent State and Army. That is a favorable schedule for a team looking for a quick fix. They will not be playing football in December this year.
1. Texas- The Longhorns should have won the Big 12 South last year in what was maybe the best division in the best conference in football. They beat Oklahoma on a neutral site, but due to an obscure rule, Oklahoma played in the National Championship game. QB Colt McCoy is probably the best QB in the nation this year. He returned for his senior season to try and take the Longhorns to the BCS Title match. The October 17th matchup with Oklahoma is probably to decide the Big 12 title and a berth in the national title game.
2. Oklahoma- Sam Bradford won the Heisman trophy last year and the Sooners went to the BCS title game only to lose to the “team of destiny” Florida Gators. Sam Bradford should lead another great offensive season and LB Travis Lewis could be a Top 5 defensive player in the nation. This team is loaded with talent but Bob Stoops cannot win the big game recently, but you do not hear about it because he is not in the Big Ten.
3. Oklahoma State-The Cowboys have the best set of “Triplets” in the nation, hands down. QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant . On top of that, Russell Okung anchors the line at LT. The offense should be prolific, and put up a ton of yards rushing and receiving. All four players should be taken in the first round next spring in the NFL draft. The defense will just be have to be good enough to win. Oklahoma State can put up points with anybody, but they need defense and an upset of a big time team or two to be respected.
4. Texas Tech- Although the Red Raiders have to replace QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree (1st round pick San Francisco) the system is still in place. Mike Leach flirted with leaving Lubbock, he returns to lead the offensive juggernaut that is Texas Tech. QB Taylor Pitts looks to be plugged in like QBs before him and put up monster numbers. Texas Tech has made nine straight bowls and upset Texas last year (in my game of the year) and will make a bowl and might catch someone napping this year.
5. Baylor- A lot of people are drinking the Baylor Bear kool-aid this year. A perennial doormat of the Big 12 and the only team from a major conference not to make a bowl, things look different this year. QB Robert Griffin is a great QB, track star and recruiting tool. Baylor HC Art Briles is actually bringing in talent that they would always lose out on. They start out with two big (program defining) games at Wake Forest and Connecticut at home. They could propel themselves to a bowl with a major upset. This program is on the upswing for sure.
6. Texas A&M- Things have gotten bad in College Station lately. 4 wins last year is the lowest since 1972. HC Mike Sherman was brought in from the NFL not to make tough decision or gamble or pass the ball. Luckily, star recruit RB Christian Michael is coming in and could carry the offense in a year or two. Mike Sherman does not seem like the right guy in a state that features the wide open offenses of Texas, Texas Tech, Houston and Baylor.
Conference Championship Game: Texas over Kansas
Corbitt Gutsy Guarantee: Colt McCoy will win the Heisman this year. He has the talent, the team and the name to take home the biggest trophy in college football. I feel the voters do not want a two time winner (maybe Tim Tebow) with the prestige on the line. McCoy wins and puts up the numbers and can beat you with his feet and arm. But as Sam Bradford proved, you can lose in big rivalry games and still win.