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2008 Big 12 Preview - Unit Rankings
Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt
Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 15, 2008


2008 CFN Preview - Big 12 Unit Rankings from top to bottom

2008 CFN Big 12 Preview

Unit Rankings

North
- Colorado | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State |
Missouri | Nebraska
South

- Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech


- 2008 CFN Big 12 Preview
- CFN All-Big 12 Team & Top 30 Players
- Big 12 Team-by-Team Capsules

- Big 12 Schedules & Predictions

Offenses
1. Oklahoma
Consistency will be the key, especially on the road, but all the parts are there. The offense has the talent to be unstoppable, but there are a few question marks. Starting with the positives, Sam Bradford should once again be among the nation's most effective and efficient quarterbacks and the line might be the best in America by a wide margin with all five starters returning, along with impressive depth. However, the top two returning running backs, DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown, are coming off knee injuries, and the receiving corps will be looking for immediate help with Malcolm Kelly moving on early to the NFL. Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson are great targets, but can they be more than just complementary receivers? Can the new superstar running back and receiver recruits shine right away? Again, though, with a line like OU has, everyone will get time to jell.

2. Missouri
3. Texas Tech
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma State
6. Kansas
7. Texas A&M
8. Nebraska
9. Kansas State
10. Colorado
11. Iowa State
12. Baylor

Quarterbacks  
1. Oklahoma
On pure talent, Oklahoma has some of the best quarterbacks in the country with all three options, Sam Bradford, Joey Halzle and Landry Jones able to start and shine. It helps to have a good line to play behind, a brilliant running game to count on, and an elite receiving corps to throw to, but Bradford isn't just a cog in the system; he's a big-time player who makes it all go. 

2.
Missouri
3. Texas Tech
4. Kansas
5. Texas
6. Oklahoma State
7. Texas A&M
8. Nebraska
9. Kansas State
10. Colorado
11. Baylor
12. Iowa State

Running Backs
1. Texas A&M
The coaching staff openly used the word Heisman when referring to Mike Goodson. The plan is to use him as much as possible, let Jorvorskie Lane be Jorvorskie Lane on the power running plays and used more as a blocker, and get Bradley Stephens a seven-carry-a-game role with some fresh legs. In any combination, this should be the Big 12's best set of running backs. 

2. Oklahoma
3. Nebraska
4. Texas
5. Missouri
6. Colorado
7. Iowa State
8. Oklahoma State
9. Kansas
10. Kansas State
11. Texas Tech
12. Baylor

Receivers
1. Missouri
If Jeremy Maclin does what he did last year and Chase Coffman is 100% healthy again, this will be an unstoppable group with too many weapons for most defenses to deal with. The coaching staff will have its choice of formations with so many options and so many decent targets to get involved. Maclin will be moved around to several spots to get the ball as much as possible, while Coffman should be an 80-catch playmaker.

2. Texas Tech
3. Oklahoma
4. Texas
5. Kansas
6. Kansas State
7. Nebraska
8. Texas A&M
9. Oklahoma State
10. Baylor
11. Colorado
12. Iowa State

Offensive Line
1. Oklahoma
This might not just be the nation's best line; it might be the nation's best line by a wide margin. There are two sure-thing NFL starters in Phil Loadholt and Duke Robinson on the left side, a fringe NFL starter at right guard in Brandon Walker, and an all-star center in Jon Cooper to anchor everything. There's depth to burn, more help on the way from the recruiting class, and talent, talent, talent. Now the expectations will be through the roof for this group to be unbelievable every week, and the potential is to meet them.

2. Oklahoma State
3. Texas Tech
4. Texas
5. Missouri
6. Baylor
7. Nebraska
8. Kansas State
9. Kansas
10. Colorado
11. Iowa State
12. Texas A&M

Defenses
1. Texas
Last year's defense was supposed to be more aggressive and provide more pressure. Enter new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who'll show what the real meaning of the blitz is. In one of the big upsets of the off-season, Muschamp wasn't snapped up for a big head coaching job, but he could be one-and-done at Texas considering he's one of the hottest young coaches around. He has a tremendously athletic back seven to work with, and he's going to get them moving and with a far nastier attitude. The front four could be even better despite losing Frank Okam and Derek Lokey inside. While backup tackle is a concern, Roy Miler and Lamarr Houston will form a great run stuffing tandem, while the end combination of Brian Orakpo and former RB Henry Melton should hang out in opposing backfields.

2.
Kansas
3. Oklahoma
4. Texas Tech
5. Missouri
6. Kansas State
7. Colorado
8. Nebraska
9. Oklahoma State
10. Iowa State
11. Baylor
12. Texas A&M

Defensive Lines
1. Oklahoma
This should be a very good line, as always, but can it be the scary-good group that owns opposing Big 12 offenses? It's possible if the tackle rotation gets set early and if DeMarcus Granger's legal issues are settled. Gerald McCoy is an All-American in waiting and end Auston English will be a threat for double-digit sacks, so if the rest of the spots can be filled in around them, this will be yet another strong OU front wall.

2. Texas
3. Texas Tech
4. Missouri
5. Kansas State
6. Nebraska
7. Kansas
8. Colorado
9. Oklahoma State
10. Baylor
11. Iowa State
12. Texas A&M

Linebackers
1. Kansas
As long as the starters are healthy, this should be a scary-good unit and one of the strengths of the team. While Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera and James Holt form a strong do-it-all corps, there are reserves waiting in the wings to shine. They might not get much of a chance, but the prospects are there.

2. Texas
3. Missouri
4. Colorado
5. Oklahoma
6. Texas Tech
7. Kansas State
8. Oklahoma State
9. Nebraska
10. Texas A&M
11. Baylor
12. Iowa State

Defensive Backs
1. Texas Tech
The Big 12's best pass defense should reload. Losing top tackler Joe Garcia hurts, but Anthony Hines and Lance Fuller should be able to handle themselves. Darcel McBath is a strong veteran free safety, while Jamar Wall is one of the league's rising star corners. The key will be to harness all the speed on the outside to find a star No. 2 corner to take advantage of teams staying away from Wall.

2.
Oklahoma
3. Missouri
4. Kansas
5. Kansas State
6. Colorado
7. Texas
8. Texas A&M
9. Iowa State
10. Baylor
11. Oklahoma State
12. Nebraska

Special Teams
1. Kansas State
Kansas State always has tremendous special teams, and even with the loss of all-star punter Tim Reyer, everything will be fine as long as George Pierson lives up to his potential. Brooks Rossman is a consistent placekicker, at least from inside the 40, and Deon Murphy and Leon Patton are great returners. This will be one of the team's biggest strengths.

2. Missouri
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. Texas Tech
6. Nebraska
7. Colorado
8. Oklahoma State
9. Kansas
10. Texas A&M
11. Iowa State
12. Baylor