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2007 Big 12 Lookbacks/Recaps
Oklahoma LB Curtis Lofton
Oklahoma LB Curtis Lofton
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 13, 2008


Taking a look back at every Big 12 team's 2007 season.

2007 Big 12 Lookbacks/Recaps

- 2008 SEC Lookaheads
North Colorado | Iowa St | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska
South Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech

2007 Pages
2007 Big 12 Season
North Colorado | Iowa St | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska
South Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech

North Division

Colorado

Recap: The Buffaloes’ four-game improvement from 2006 and 15 additional practices that came with an Independence Bowl berth were exactly what Dan Hawkins needed in his second year in Boulder.  Colorado finished a respectable third place in the Big 12 North, showing some life on offense, and beating Oklahoma and Nebraska in the same year for the first time since 1990.  Just when the offense started to click in the second half, however, the defense sprung unexpected leaks, allowing an average of 36 points over the final seven games.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Cody Hawkins

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Jordon Dizon

Biggest Surprise: The Sept. 29 upset of No. 3 Oklahoma was a blockbuster win for Hawkins and the entire Colorado program.  The Buffs stormed back with 20 unanswered points in the second half, leaving the Sooners stunned after Kevin Eberhart booted a 45-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.    

Biggest Disappointment: The Buffaloes had absolutely no business losing to Iowa State on Nov. 10, particularly after opening up a 21-0 halftime lead on the 2-8 Cyclones.  Colorado disappeared in the second half, getting outscored 31-7 in a collapse that cost the program a winning season.

Looking Ahead: Colorado will be looking to build on last year’s momentum by adding another win or two to the final record.  While a winning season for the first time since 2005 will be another brick in the wall, a Kansas-like leap into prominence isn’t likely in 2008 with a schedule that includes trips to Florida State, Missouri and Kansas, and visits from West Virginia and Texas.

Iowa State
Recap: The Cyclones may not have been very good in Gene Chizik’s debut in Ames, but at least they never quit on their rookie head coach.  Even at 1-8 with no hopes for the postseason, Iowa State played its best ball in November, upsetting Kansas State and Colorado in successive weeks.  It was obvious throughout the year, especially in the secondary, that Iowa State was competing with less talent than the rest of the Big 12, something Chizik and his staff have been addressing on the recruiting trail since the end of the regular season.

Offensive Player of the Year:
WR Todd Blythe

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Alvin Bowen

Biggest Surprise: After dropping the first two games to Kent State and Northern Iowa, who could have imagined this Cyclone team upending 2-0 Iowa.  Well, it happened on Sept. 15 thanks to Bret Culbertson’s five field goals, the last of which won the game for Iowa State with one tick left on the clock.  

Biggest Disappointment: With a little over five minutes left in the Sept. 22 trip to Toledo, Iowa State was up 35-24, and well on its way to reaching 2-2 after a horrible start.  The Cyclones, however, were unable to close the deal, allowing Jalen Parmele to return a kick for a touchdown and Greg Hay to recover a botched punt in the end zone for the game-winning score.  It was losses, such as the one to the Rockets, which set the tone for ISU’s 3-9 campaign.

Looking Ahead: Now that Chizik has learned more about the job, and the players have a better understanding of the coach, Iowa State fans will expect more than three wins in 2008.  Three key contributors to that improvement are expected to be QB Austen Arnaud, RB Alexander Robinson, and WR Marquis Hamilton, a trio of underclassmen.

Kansas
Recap: In a season surprises, Kansas was one of its poster children, counting an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech as one of its school-record 12 victories.  Ranked an unthinkable No. 7 in the final polls, the Jayhawks relied on a diverse offense and a no-name defense that led the Big 12 in total defense, scoring defense, and turnover margin.  The absurdity of Kansas’ success was encapsulated in first-year starter Todd Reesing, an undersized, lightly-recruited quarterback that parlayed 36 touchdowns and 3,683 total yards into one of the greatest seasons in school history.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Todd Reesing

Defensive Player of the Year: CB Aqib Talib

Biggest Surprise: The season was basically a wire-to-wire shocker, but the Nov. 3 win over Nebraska still looks like a misprint.  No, a Jayhawk win over the Huskers no longer qualified as an upset, but the 76-39 final score looked like something that belonged at Allen Fieldhouse.  Kansas racked up 572 yards and six Reesing touchdown passes, nearly eliminating decades of frustration against Nebraska in one afternoon.  

Biggest Disappointment: Losing the Border War to Missouri on Nov. 24 ended the Jayhawks’ perfect season, and quests for a Big 12 and national championship.  Although Kansas rallied in the second half to make the game more palatable, Mizzou dominated, never looking back jumping out to a 21-0 lead.         

Looking Ahead: Gushing with goodwill after last year’s magical 12-1 season, Mark Mangino needs to capitalize on the recruiting trail right now.  While there’s enough momentum and returning starters to think big again in 2008, losing Talib and LT Anthony Collins early to the NFL Draft are substantial hits.

Kansas State
Recap: While it sort of got overshadowed by Nebraska’s meltdown, Kansas State was a major Big 12 disappointment in 2007.  Coming off a momentum-building bowl season, and littered with young talent, the Wildcats failed to reach bowl eligibility four weeks in-a-row, losing to Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri, and Fresno State.  What’s worse, head coach Ron Prince appeared to lose his kids down the stretch, meaning the honeymoon is officially over for the second-year coach.

Offensive Player of the Year:
WR Jordy Nelson

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Ian Campbell

Biggest Surprise: For the second time in under a year, Kansas State sucker punched Texas, 41-21, on Sept. 29.  Last November, the ‘Horns played in Manhattan and without QB Colt McCoy for most of the game.  This season, however, the game was in Austin, and McCoy was healthy, but the ‘Cats were just better, picking off four passes and scoring two special teams touchdowns.    

Biggest Disappointment: Kansas State’s inability to finish meant there were plenty of disappointments in 2007, but none bigger than a 30-24 loss to rival Kansas.  Considered an upset at the time, the Wildcats relinquished a fourth quarter lead, losing at home to the Jayhawks for the first time since 1989.   

Looking Ahead: All of the goodwill amassed by Prince in 2006 has been replaced by a growing feeling of concern and discontent around Manhattan.  With Mizzou and Kansas on an uptick, Kansas State needs to patch up the defense, and regroup quickly around franchise QB Josh Freeman.

Missouri
Recap: A fashionable preseason choice to take the Big 12 North, Missouri went a step further, winning 12 games for the first time in school history, routing Arkansas on New Year’s Day, and boasting Heisman finalist Chase Daniel.  The Tigers’ only two losses came against Oklahoma, the second one in San Antonio denying them a spot in the BCS championship game, or any BCS bowl game, for that matter.  Led by Daniel’s accurate passing and the all-purpose exploits of freshman Jeremy Maclin, the Mizzou offense was almost unstoppable, scoring less than 30 points just once, and finishing No. 5 nationally in total offense.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Chase Daniel

Defensive Player of the Year: S William Moore

Biggest Surprise: Maclin.  Although a lot was expected of him, few thought he’d be this good, this fast.  Maclin emerged into a versatile force in his debut season, catching 80 balls for 1,055 yards and nine touchdowns, rushing for 375 yards and four scores, and scoring three special teams touchdowns.  Without much warning, the freshman blossomed into one of the nation’s most dynamic all-around weapons.

Biggest Disappointment: Taking the collar against Oklahoma.  Unbeaten versus the rest of the schedule, the Tigers were 0-2 against the Sooners, failing to successfully navigate their superior speed.  When the two met on Dec. 1 for the Big 12 Championship, Oklahoma rolled to a 38-17 win, knocking Mizzou from No. 1 in the country to the Cotton Bowl.    

Looking Ahead: If you thought Missouri was trendy a year ago, just wait until August.  With Daniel and a bunch of other key starters returning, the Tigers will be expected to take the next step, and win a conference championship for the first time since 1969. 

Nebraska
Recap: Long before the Huskers narrowly escaped Ball State at home, and skidded to a 1-6 finish, they were actually seriously considered contenders for the Big 12 title.  However, instead of a return to glory under Bill Callahan, Nebraska was just plain gory throughout October and November, yielding an unimaginable 428 points over the final 10 games.  The high-profile collapse of the once mighty Huskers brought legendary former coach Tom Osborne back into the fold as interim AD, while Callahan was ushered out after four unremarkable seasons.

Offensive Player of the Year:
RB Marlon Lucky

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Steve Octavien

Biggest Surprise: Although the toe tag had been on the Huskers for weeks, they somehow mustered up the energy on Nov. 10 to obliterate Kansas State, 73-31.  The irony of the rout was that just seven days earlier, it was Nebraska that allowed more than 70 points in a loss to Kansas.  At least for one afternoon, Husker fans got a glimpse of Callahan’s spread offense at its finest, producing a school-record 510 yards and seven touchdown passes from QB Joe Ganz.   

Biggest Disappointment: Losing to Missouri, 41-6, on Oct. 7.  At a time when they were still considered a threat in the Big 12 North, the curtain got pulled all the way back on the Huskers in front of a national TV audience.  Chase Daniel & Co. lit up Nebraska for more than 600 yards of total offense, setting off the worst second-half stretch in Big Red history.       

Looking Ahead: Could Nebraska have attracted a more proven commodity at head coach than LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini? Yup.  However, while no one knows for sure how Pelini will fare in his first head job, you can bet that his teams will be far more physical and tighter on defense than the last few playing in Lincoln.  

South Division

Baylor

Recap: Once again, the Big 12’s most predictable program couldn’t stray from its time-tested script, finishing below .500 for the 12th straight season, and running its conference losing streak to 12 games.  Beyond just the mounting losses, Baylor was never even competitive once the non-league portion of the schedule ended, a key factor in head coach Guy Morriss’ ouster after five seasons in Waco.  The Bears became effective at winging the ball all over the field, but turnovers too often stalled promising drives in enemy territory.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Blake Szymanski

Defensive Player of the Year: S Jordan Lake

Biggest Surprise: The Bears peaked in Week 4, nabbing a rare road victory at Buffalo, 34-21.  Getting to 3-1 behind the passing and running of Szymanski, Baylor gave a brief hint of hope to those long-suffering fans pining for a postseason game.

Biggest Disappointment: Baylor should have been more competitive when it traveled to Manhattan to face a reeling Kansas State team, but instead, got hammered by 38 points.  Seven turnovers, a year-long problem, nixed any hopes the Bears had of snapping a four-game losing streak that would reach eight games when the regular season ended.

Looking Ahead: Next in line to try and stop the bleeding at Baylor is Art Briles, who did a nice job at Houston, and is a respected figure in the state of Texas.  Although he’ll be aiming to supercharge the offense, the young defense offers more short term stability with improving players, such as Lake, LB Joe Pawelek, and DE Jason Lamb.

Oklahoma
Recap: While the Sooners won a second straight Big 12 championship, beating high-flying Missouri twice, many will remember their final game, an uninspired Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia.  Oklahoma’s fourth BCS bowl loss in-a-row sort of overshadowed an otherwise solid season that included defeats of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Miami to go along with the two wins over Mizzou.  The past season also marked the debut of freshman QB Sam Bradford, the nation’s passing efficiency leader and a young cornerstone of the program.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Sam Bradford

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Curtis Lofton

Biggest Surprise: Bradford.  He was a blue-chipper coming out of high school, yes, but even the most optimistic Sooner fan didn’t expect him to throw a freshman-record 36 touchdown passes, while playing with the poise of a third-year starter.  Although it’s early, Bradford has the stuff to be the best ever to play quarterback in Norman.  

Biggest Disappointment: After steamrolling through the first four opponents, Oklahoma’s season veered off course with a head-scratching 27-24 loss to Colorado.  Even worse than the loss itself was the fact that the Sooners blew a cushy 17-point bulge in the second half, allowing an unsure Buffalo offense to score the final 20 points of the game.      

Looking Ahead: With as much returning talent as any team in the league, Oklahoma will be right back on track for another Big 12 championship and a run at a national title.  After sharing carries and getting hurt late in his freshman season, dynamic RB DeMarco Murray is set to make a national splash in 2008.

Oklahoma State
Recap: More than seven wins were expected this season from Oklahoma State, who became best known for head coach Mike Gundy’s unhinged rant to the press following a win over Texas Tech.  The Cowboys scored plenty behind a balanced offense, but it often wasn’t enough to compensate for a defense that couldn’t stop the pass or get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Gundy hit a homerun in September by handing the offense over to sophomore QB Zac Robinson, an exciting dual-threat that set the single-season school record for total offense and rushing yards by a quarterback.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Zac Robinson

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Nathan Peterson

Biggest Surprise: Robinson.  A backup to Bobby Reid to start the season, Robinson grew into a franchise quarterback by the end of it.  Showing all of his moves in the Insight Bowl, the sophomore gashed Indiana for 372 total yards and five touchdowns in an unexpectedly easy 49-33 rout of the Hoosiers.   

Biggest Disappointment: The Cowboys had Texas dead to rights on Nov. 3, but inexplicably allowed the ‘Horns to engineer one of the biggest comebacks of the season.  Trailing by three touchdowns heading into the fourth quarter, Texas scored 24 unanswered points behind an epic performance from RB Jamaal Charles, winning on a Ryan Bailey field goal as time expired.

Looking Ahead: If Oklahoma State can solve a few problems on defense, look out, Big 12 South.  The offense will be downright scary, with stars-of-tomorrow RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant getting expanded roles alongside Robinson.

Texas
Recap: After back-to-back three-loss seasons since winning the national championship in 2005, some have begun wondering if complacency has crept into the Texas program.  Although the Longhorns won 10 games, few were of the quality variety, and the program lost to Kansas State and Texas A&M for the second straight season.  It took until December before Texas really had a statement moment, pounding No. 12 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl to finish an up-and-down year ranked in the top 10.

Offensive Player of the Year:
RB Jamaal Charles

Defensive Player of the Year: S Marcus Griffin

Biggest Surprise: The ease with which the Longhorns handled the Sun Devils in San Diego was a mild surprise, considering how they’d struggled with lesser opponents throughout the year.  Charles was typically explosive, but it was the nifty feet of QB Colt McCoy, who ran for 84 yards and a touchdown, that really ignited UT’s 52-point outburst.    

Biggest Disappointment: McCoy.  Rather than building on his Freshman All-American season, he regressed, throwing seven fewer touchdown passes and 11 more interceptions than a year ago.  He did, however, rush for 424 yards and four touchdowns, most of it late in the year, a wrinkle in the offense that we’ll see more of in 2008.

Looking Ahead: With Oklahoma winning the last two Big 12 titles, and Texas slipping a bit, 2008 shapes up as an important year for the ‘Horns and head coach Mack Brown.  The offseason got off to a nice start when the program hired defensive coordinator extraordinaire Will Muschamp, who’ll be asked to fix a broken defense that’s been especially leaky against the pass the last two years.

Texas A&M
Recap: The season Dennis Franchione had to have in order to save his job never materialized, pulling the plug on the Coach Fran era after five forgettable seasons.  After starting the year 5-1 against sub par competition, the Aggies retreated once the schedule got tougher, finishing 2-5, including an Alamo Bowl loss to Penn State.  Texas A&M was only able to get so far with one of the nation’s top rushing attacks, needing more from a toothless defense that couldn’t stop opposing quarterbacks or make enough plays behind the line.          

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Stephen McGee

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Chris Harrington

Biggest Surprise: After going six straight seasons without beating Texas, Texas A&M has now won two straight against its bitter rival.  Playing their best game of the year, the Aggies amassed 533 yards of offense behind a career passing day from McGee to outpunch the Longhorns, 38-30. 

Biggest Disappointment: In a marquee opportunity to pick up some national swagger, A&M barely showed up in a Thursday night game with Miami.  Looking like the same old Aggies, they fell behind 31-0 and managed only 240 yards of offense before scoring a couple of meaningless touchdowns against the Hurricane backups.    

Looking Ahead: The job of lighting a fire under the program now belongs to Mike Sherman, a former Aggie assistant who’s spent much of the last decade in the NFL.  Although the returns of McGee and backs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson should bring the new coach comfort, they won’t help depth issues on both lines that are going to crop up in 2008.

Texas Tech
Recap: It was a familiar tale for Texas Tech in 2007, highlighted by plenty of offense, a bowl invitation, and an inability to break through the glass ceiling in the Big 12 South.  The Red Raiders did add one twist this season, a rare New Year’s Day bowl game against Virginia that they rallied to win with 17 unanswered points in the final four minutes.  QB Graham Harrell continued his assault on the record books, throwing 48 touchdown passes and uncovering a new partner in crime, freshman WR Michael Crabtree.          

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Michael Crabtree

Defensive Player of the Year: S Joe Garcia

Biggest Surprise: For the second time in three years, the Red Raiders upset Oklahoma in Lubbock, knocking the nation’s No. 3 team out of the national title hunt.  Yeah, it helped that Sooner QB Sam Bradford lasted less than a quarter, but the way Harrell and Crabtree were hooking up all night, Tech might have won the game no matter the circumstances.       

Biggest Disappointment: Even 646 yards from Harrell and a pair of 200-yard receivers weren’t enough for the Red Raiders to outscore Oklahoma State on Sept. 22.  Tech held the lead late in the final quarter, but relinquished it for good when Cowboy TE Brandon Pettigrew rambled for a 54-yard touchdown reception with 1:37 left in the game.  

Looking Ahead: The Red Raiders lose very little from last year’s Gator Bowl team, and developed a lot of young kids, so they’ll be thinking real big in 2008.  The offense is fine, but to win that elusive Big 12 South crown, Tech must plug up some holes on defense, especially against the run.