2007 CFN Big 12 Preview
Offenses, Defenses & Depth Charts
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Top 30 Players
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The SEC East is the
best division in all of college football. Vanderbilt and Kentucky are
each bowl worthy to go along with Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and South
Carolina. The Big 12 South isn’t far behind.
Baylor screws things up with a rebuilding team (again) trying to find
new pieces to fit into the Guy Morriss high-octane passing game (or at
least an attempt at one), but the rest of the division is loaded with
the potential for the best race since the Big 12 was formed.
As always, Texas and Oklahoma are the big dogs, but while their each
going into the year as their usual national title contenders, they’re
not quite jaw-dropping killers; each has various flaws. Texas Tech might
be missing receiver experience, but the defense will be better and QB
Graham Harrell has the time in the system to bomb away. Texas A&M gets
almost all the key parts back from last year’s 9-4 team led by a
tremendous backfield that’ll run on everyone. And then there’s Oklahoma
Always the second-fiddle in its state, the Cowboys are on the verge of
having the type of team no one has any interest in playing. The offense
could be the most balanced and explosive in the conference with a vast
array of stars, while the defense is aggressive and athletic. As good as
OSU might be, and it might be good enough to pull off a season-opening
upset at Georgia, it still could turn out to be the South’s fifth best
The North isn’t the South, but it’s slowly bouncing back after years of
mediocrity. Iowa State has major rebuilding to do under new head man
Gene Chizik, but it still has one of the league’s best quarterbacks
(Bret Meyer) to work around. Kansas was able to get to 6-6 with the
nation’s worst pass defense, which should be a bit better, Kansas
State’s young, young, young team has enough talent to beat anyone on any
given day (just ask Texas), Colorado will be better, Missouri will be
far better, and Nebraska appears to be just on the verge of being a
national super-power again.
The league is finally back to being a killer again, even if it is, at
best, number two behind the SEC. Whatever. It’ll be a
week-in-and-week-out dogfight with plenty of wild games, upsets, and a
fight to the last day for the spots in the title game.
Team That'll Surprise
Oklahoma State – QB Bobby Reid and WR Adarius
Bowman will keep defensive coordinators up at night, while the 1-2
rushing punch of Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston will be among the
fastest and most dangerous in America running behind a decent, veteran
line. The defense, led by a potentially great linebacking corps, will be
good enough to get by.
Team That'll Disappoint
Texas A&M – Dennis Franchione might have his best team yet, but the
schedule is significantly more difficult than last season. How’s this
for a road slate? Miami, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Getting Oklahoma State and Texas at home might not help the overall
Offensive Player of the Year
QB Colt McCoy, Soph. Texas – The Longhorns would’ve won the Big 12 title
and possibly had a rematch with Ohio State had McCoy not gotten dinged
up running for a touchdown early in the loss to Kansas State. He’s not
going to be as dynamic as Iowa State’s Bret Meyer, Nebraska’s Sam Keller
or Oklahoma State’s Bobby Reid, and Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Texas
Tech’s Graham Harrell will be in the hunt for All-Big 12 honors, but if
he can play like he did last year, and not get hurt, he’ll lead Texas to
Defensive Player of the Year
DE Ian Campbell, Jr. Kansas State – From out of nowhere, Campbell turned
into one of the Big 12’s most dangerous defenders and fearsome pass
rushers. He’s a do-it-all end with a high motor and quick burst into the
5 Big-Time Players Who Deserve a Bigger Spotlight ...
1. CB Aqib Talib, Jr. Kansas
2. P Matt Fodge, Jr. Oklahoma State
3. DT James McClinton, Sr. Kansas
4. LB Joe Pawelek, Soph. Baylor
5. C Adam Spieker, Sr. Missouri
Coach on the Hot Seat
Colorado – While Hawkins was amazing in the WAC, he put it best in his
infamous outburst … THIS IS BIG 12 FOOTBALL. Of course he’s not going to
be fired if there’s another disastrous season, but he’ll be on
double-secret probation going into next season if there isn’t a healthy
jump up in the win column.
5 Non-Conference Games the Big 12 had better take, very, very
1. TCU at Texas, Sept. 8
2. Illinois vs. Missouri, Sept. 1
3 Toledo at Kansas, Sept. 15
4. Oklahoma at Tulsa, Sept. 21
5. Kansas State at Fresno State, Nov. 24
5 Best Pro Prospects
1. WR Adarius Bowman, Sr. Oklahoma State
2. TE Martin Rucker, Sr. Missouri
3. WR Limas Sweed, Sr. Texas
4. TE Chase Coffman, Jr. Missouri
5. DT Frank Okam, Sr. Texas
5 Biggest Shoes to Fill
1. Jake Sherp or Brandon McAnderson for Jon Cornish, RB Kansas
2. Brandon Foster for Aaron Ross, CB Texas
3. Alonzo Barrett for Abraham Wright, DE Colorado
4. Sam Keller for Zac Taylor, QB Nebraska
5. Joey Halzle, Sam Bradford, or Keith Nichol for Paul Thompson, QB
5 Bold Predictions
will finally, finally, finally get over the hump. And if it doesn’t,
Missouri fans will be ticked off at the coaching staff for not getting
it done. The defense should be far better, the offense will be among the
best in America led by QB Chase Daniel and his two star tight ends,
Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, and getting Nebraska at home will be
enough to win the North berth in the Big 12 title game.
2. Oklahoma State will win at Georgia, but the league will take a hit
after Kansas State loses at Auburn, Florida State beats Colorado, USC
beats Nebraska, and Texas A&M loses at Miami.
3. Baylor will go back to being, well, Baylor. Guy Morriss might be one
of the best head coaches in the league, but he doesn’t have the horses
to handle the improved Big 12.
4. Colorado will be better, but it won’t come up with a winning record.
5. Sam Keller will be better than Zac Taylor. The Nebraska offense will
explode, and old-school Nebraska fans will still want the old attack
back when there’s yet another year without a Big 12 title.
What Will Happen
will beat Nebraska in Columbia to win the North, Texas will beat
Oklahoma to win the South (helped by the other teams in the division
picking each other off), and Mack Brown will have his second Big 12
championship in three years …
- … and Brown still will get dogged for not being able to win a national
title without Vince Young. The Longhorn fans will be a bit grouchy,
despite winning the title, after losing two of the final three games of
the year at Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
- Texas A&M will beat both Oklahoma and Texas … and won’t win the South.
The Aggies will lose its share of heartbreakers on the road at Texas
Tech, Nebraska and Missouri, but it gets the Longhorns at home to close
out in what should be one of the most emotional games of the Big 12
season after the battles the two have played over the last two seasons.
There has to be upsets somewhere. The Aggies will make amends for last
year’s classic loss to the Sooners, when head coach Bob Stoops went for
it on fourth down to seal the game.
- Texas Tech will lose to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma State will lose to
Texas A&M, and Texas A&M will lose to Texas Tech.
- Texas A&M will average well over 200 rushing yards per game again, and
will still finish second in the league behind Oklahoma State in rushing.