Midseason Report - Big 12

Posted Oct 10, 2006

The Big 12 best players, coaches, surprises of the midseason and more.

Offensive Player of the Midseason Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma
Defensive Player of the Midseason
– Abraham Wright, DE Colorado

Ten best Big 12 players in the first half of the season
1. Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma
2. Abraham Wright, DE Colorado
3. Chase Daniel, QB Missouri
4. Brian Smith, DE Missouri
5. Justin Blalock, OT Texas
6. Marcus Bacon, LB Missouri
7. Jon Cornish, RB Kansas

8. Zac Taylor, QB Nebraska
9. C.J. Wilson, CB Baylor
10. Alvin Bowen, LB Iowa State

Biggest Surprise – Baylor’s offense is actually working.
The Texas Tech-lite attack of BU has been able to move the ball shockingly well despite not having a who’s who of talent to work with. There’s no running game to count on and the defense has been spotty at best, but QB Shawn Bell and the Bears have done a good job of battling, even if they have a hard time closing.  

Biggest Disappointment – Colorado 
Oklahoma’s defensive line is in the team photo, but no one could’ve expected the freefall into total mediocrity in Dan Hawkins’ first year in Boulder. Obviously Hawkins can coach and things will eventually turn around, but for a team that’s used to playing for the Big 12 title, this hasn’t exactly been a rousing start.  

The Big 12 Champion will be ... Texas over Missouri
Texas still has to go to Nebraska, Missouri has to deal with Oklahoma, and the Huskers will be around in the North race. The Tigers appear to be the real deal, and the Longhorns are getting better and better by the week.

Best Game of the First Half 
Oregon 34 ... Oklahoma 33, Sept. 16
Garrett Hartley connected on four field goal attempts and had a shot to save Oklahoma from a painful and controversial collapse, but his 44-yard field goal attempt was blocked as time ran out give Oregon the tremendous win. Down 33-20 with just over three minutes to play, Oregon got a 16-yard touchdown run from Dennis Dixon, recovered the onside kick, which was reviewed after Sooner coaches thought it hit a Duck player before going ten yards, and scored with 46 seconds to play on a 23-yard touchdown pass Brian Paysinger with the extra point giving Oregon a 34-33 lead. Oklahoma's Reggie Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards to get into field goal range before the final block. The finish overshadowed a brilliant day from the two star running backs with Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson rushing for 211 yards and a touchdown and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart tearing off 144 yards and a score
Second Best Game – Texas Tech 31 … Texas A&M 27, Sept. 30
Third Best Game – Iowa State 45 … Toledo 43 3OT, Sept. 3

Worst Game of the First Half 
Texas Tech 62 ... SE Louisiana 0, Sept. 23
Texas Tech blew out to a 42-0 halftime lead helped by four touchdown passes from Graham Harrell and an 18-yard scoring run from Shannon Woods. Joel Filani caught two short touchdown passes and Jarrett Hicks, back from missing the first few games of the year on academic suspension, caught a six-yard touchdown pass. In all, the Red Raiders outgained SE Louisiana 509 yards to 119 and converted all nine trips in the red zone into scores.

Coach of the Midseason – Mack Brown, Texas
Missouri’s Gary Pinkel and Baylor’s Guy Morriss are doing fantastic jobs, but Brown has his team humming again without a certain Tennessee Titan. Texas showed in the Oklahoma game that it’s the top dog program in the conference; Brown’s machine is humming.

Player who'll step up in the second half – Graham Harrell, QB Texas Tech
It’s not like he’s been bad so far with a few explosive games and a clutch throw to beat Texas A&M, but he hasn’t quite turned the offense into a dominant, consistent killer. With the receiving corps he has to work with, look for Harrell’s numbers to grow bigger and bigger as he gets more experience.

Best performance so far - In a losing effort against Oregon, Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson ran 34 times for 211 yards and a touchdown.

Top Freshman – Texas QB Colt McCoy
You try to step into the footsteps of a legend. Thrown into an impossible situation, McCoy has been a surprisingly steady leader for the Longhorns and looked poised in the win over Oklahoma.

Coach who needs to have a big second half – Texas A&M’s Dennis Franchione
You couldn’t ask for a more reasonable first nine games of the season before dealing with Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. Aggie fans are rumbling, so if Coach Fran isn’t able to come up with a nine-win season and show there’s hope for the potential of a Big 12 title in the near future, someone else will be taking over next year.   

Player who needs to have a big second half Iowa State RB Stevie Hicks
The Cyclones have a tough road over the second half of the season facing Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Missouri along with Colorado in Boulder, and they need their running game to get going to find some sort of consistency to the offense. QB Bret Meyer has been fine so far, and now he needs Hicks to start rumbling for more yards to get back into the Big 12 race.

Best remaining conference game – (tie) Texas at Nebraska, Oct. 21 and Oklahoma at Missouri, Oct. 28
Either one of these two games could be the Big 12 title matchup and no one would complain. These are as big as they get for the North with its two top teams getting home games against the two best teams from the South. These two games could show a shift of power in the conference and be breakout games for the Tigers and Huskers, or they could prove that the big boys in the South still own the league.

Team Mid-Season MVPs & Predictions   
Colorado – DE Abraham Wright
predicted wins: Kansas State, Iowa State
predicted losses: Texas Tech, at Oklahoma, at Kansas, at Nebraska
predicted record: 2-10 

Iowa St – QB Bret Meyer
predicted wins: at Kansas State. Kansas
predicted losses: at Oklahoma, Texas Tech, at Colorado, Missouri
predicted record: 5-7 

Kansas – RB Jon Cornish
predicted wins: Oklahoma State, Colorado, Kansas State
predicted losses: at Iowa State, at Baylor, at Missouri
predicted record: 7-5 

Kansas State – LB Brandon Archer
predicted wins: None
predicted losses: Nebraska, at
Missouri, Iowa State, at Colorado, Texas, at Kansas
predicted record: 4-8 

Missouri – QB Chase Daniel
predicted wins: at Texas A&M, Kansas State, Oklahoma, at Iowa State, Kansas
predicted losses: at Nebraska
predicted record: 11-1 

Nebraska – QB Zac Taylor
predicted wins: at Kansas State, at Oklahoma State, Colorado
predicted losses: Texas, at Texas A&M
predicted record: 9-3 

Baylor – CB C.J. Wilson
predicted wins: Kansas, at Oklahoma State
predicted losses: at Texas, Texas A&M, at Texas Tech, Oklahoma
predicted record: 5-7 

Oklahoma – RB Adrian Peterson
predicted wins: Iowa State, Colorado, at Texas A&M, Texas Tech, at Baylor, at Oklahoma State
predicted losses: at Missouri
predicted record: 9-3 

Oklahoma State – QB Bobby Reid
predicted wins: None
predicted losses: at Kansas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, at Texas, Baylor, at Texas Tech, Oklahoma
predicted record: 3-9 

Texas – OT Justin Blalock
predicted wins: Baylor, at Nebraska, at Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, at Kansas State, Texas A&M
predicted losses: None
predicted record: 11-1 

Texas A&M – LB Justin Warren
predicted wins: at Oklahoma State, at Baylor, Nebraska
predicted losses: Oklahoma, at Texas
predicted record: 9-3 

Texas Tech – QB Graham Harrell
predicted wins: at Colorado, at Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma State
predicted losses: Texas, at Oklahoma
predicted record: 8-4