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2008 Big 12 Lookbacks/Recaps
Texas WR Quan Cosby
Texas WR Quan Cosby
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 18, 2009


Taking a look back at every Big 12 team's 2008 season.


    
North Colorado | Iowa St | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska
South Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma St | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech
- 2008 CFN All-Big 12 Team
| 2008 CFN Preseason All-Big 12 Team
- 2007 Big 12 Lookback/Recaps | 2008 Big 12 Lookaheads


 - 2009 Big 12 Early Lookaheads

Baylor
CFN Preseason Prediction: 1-11  Final Record: 4-8

Recap
: The needle is pointed up for the program as Art Briles came in and made the team a player early on. The emergence of freshman QB Robert Griffin played a big part, but it was the overall play and the competitiveness that made this a surprise team stuck in the nation’s harshest division. There weren’t any impressive wins, the best victory came against a mediocre Texas A&M, while all eight losses were to bowl teams including Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri and Nebraska.

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Robert Griffin
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Joe Pawelek

Biggest Surprise: Griffin. It was supposed to be an ongoing quarterback derby between Blake Szymanski and Miami transfer Kirby Freeman, but Griffin turned out to be a godsend for an offense that needed a little flash. He set the NCAA record for throwing the most passes in a row to start a career without an interception, and he became one of the nation’s top rushing quarterbacks from the moment he stepped on the field.

Biggest Disappointment
: Not beating anyone with a pulse. Four wins is nothing to dismiss out of hand for Baylor, and the schedule really was brutal, but the Bears lost battles with Connecticut, Missouri and Texas Tech that could’ve easily have gone the other way. There’s wasn’t the one big win to rally around.

Looking Ahead: As long as Griffin is solid, the rest of the team should be strong. There won’t be any Big 12 titles any time soon, but it’s not an unrealistic goal to be Vanderbilt, battle to get to the six-win mark, and go bowling. There’s enough returning talent to hope for another step forward

Colorado

CFN Preseason Prediction: 6-6  Final Record: 5-7

Recap
: Colorado was supposed to take a nice step forward in the progression under Dan Hawkins, but the season turned into yet another big, fat dud. The Buffs lost four of their last five games, and seven of their last nine, after starting out with a nice rivalry win over Colorado State and an overtime victory over West Virginia on the was to a 3-0 start. But the offense struggled throughout the season and there were only two more wins the rest of the way, beating Kansas State and Iowa State by a total of five points. Four of the team’s five wins, including a home victory over Eastern Washington, were by a touchdown or less.  

Offensive Player of the Year:
C Daniel Sanders
Defensive Player of the Year: DT George Hypolite
 
Biggest Surprise: Rodney Stewart. Darrell Scott was the hot-shot freshman running back who was supposed to take the world by storm, but he never got his season off the ground while Stewart, another freshman, turned out to be the team’s best back rushing for 622 yards and two touchdowns, including a 166-yard day against West Virginia and a 107-yard game against Florida State, before getting knocked out for the year in the loss to Texas A&M with three games to go.    
 
Biggest Disappointment: The offense. Colorado was the one Big 12 team that didn’t seem to get the invite to the offensive party this season. It’s one thing for Iowa State or Baylor to struggle offensively, but CU was supposed to start exploding by now under Hawkins and it isn’t happening. The Buffs were last in the Big 12 in both yards and scoring, finishing 95th in the nation in total offense and 100th in scoring.
     
Looking Ahead: It’s hot-seat time for Hawkins. Three years and a 13-24 record isn’t what Buff fans had in mind when it got the Boise State head coaching staff, but the offense isn’t working, there’s no consistency, and the team simply isn’t getting the job done in the North, while Nebraska has rebounded, Kansas and Missouri appear to have staying power, and Kansas State and Iowa State can only get better.

Iowa State

CFN Preseason Prediction: 6-6  Final Record: 2-10

Recap
: After winning the layups against South Dakota State and Kent State to open the season, the Cyclones lost ten straight games, lost their head coach, and finished as the Big 12’s worst team. It’s not like the team gave up, losing three games to UNLV, Kansas and Colorado by a total of nine points, and it wasn’t bad in the season-ending loss to Kansas State. However, in a major shocker, Gene Chizik, after doing nothing with the program, was hired away by Auburn in a hail of controversy from all sides.

Offensive Player of the Year
:
QB Austen Arnaud
Defensive Player of the Year: FS James Smith
 
Biggest Surprise: Chizik leaving. Has a head coach ever accomplished less and been rewarded with such a plum gig? He was supposed to make Iowa State a big-time defensive power, yet he leaves a defense that finished 112th in the nation in total D and 110th in scoring. This was a young team that needs a steady hand to guide it, and that’s why the administration thought Chizik would’ve been it. Not quite.  
 
Biggest Disappointment: The ten-game losing streak. While this was a young team, there were just enough decent pieces in place on both sides of the ball to expect a few more wins. This should’ve been a fringe bowl team with a few breaks, but the defense was too poor, giving up 34 points or more in eight of the last nine games, and the offense too inconsistent to come up with anything positive.

Looking Ahead: It’s the Paul Rhods show now, and he might be able to come up with the defense that Chizik couldn’t. The young skill players of last year are a year older, and they should be better. The attack cranked out yards in comeback mode in an attempt to make up for the rough defense with QB Austen Arnaud a good piece to build around. The cupboard isn’t totally bare.

Kansas

CFN Preseason Prediction: 9-3   Final Record: 8-5

Recap
: While the team wasn’t able to follow up its breakthrough 2007 with another BCS appearance, it came up with a not-that-bad year that ended great with a comeback thriller over Missouri to get bowl eligible. A nice cap was put on the year with a 42-21 win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl, and now the expectations will be high again for 2009. Unlike 2007, the schedule was a killer, getting Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech from the South, a road trip to Nebraska, and a non-conference date with South Florida, which KU gave away with a bad late interception. Outside of the Missouri win, the Jayhawks beat everyone they were supposed to, and lost the games they were expected to.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Todd Reesing
Defensive Player of the Year: SS Darrell Stuckey
 
Biggest Surprise: Jake Sharp turned out to be the team’s best running back after all. He was supposed to be the main man last year, but got pushed aside to a backup role, and that appeared to be his spot coming into this year after JUCO sensation Jocques Crawford signed. But smallish, speedy Sharp ended up taking over the job and proved he really could be a good fit for the offense that normally relies on big, 200+ pound thumpers.

Biggest Disappointment: The offensive line went from a rock to suspect in a year, the pass defense went in the tank, and the rushing production was spotty, but the real disappointment was Todd Reesing’s turnover issues. After being so careful in 2007 with just seven interceptions and 33 touchdown passes, he threw 13 picks, along with 32 touchdown passes, throwing an interception in every game but three.

Looking Ahead: Kansas should have enough firepower to be in the thick of the Big 12 North title chase. The schedule isn’t going to provide much help, but as long as Reesing is solid, and if the defense can be more consistent, there’s no reason to not shoot for another eight win season and a good bowl game.

Kansas State

CFN Preseason Prediction: 7-5  Final Record: 5-7

Recap
: The Wildcats started out 4-2 and appearing to be head toward a bowl bid, and then came the five-game losing streak to end all of that. The defense rarely showed up, the offense was in effective when QB Josh Freeman and the passing game wasn’t humming, and the team simple couldn’t keep up with the better teams in the Big 12. Head coach Ron Prince was fired, but was allowed to coach out the string, after a 52-21 early November loss to rival, Kansas, Freeman declared himself eligible for the NFL draft, a year early, and the program is now headed in a new/old direction with Bill Snyder back at the helm.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Josh Freeman
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Ian Campbell

Biggest Surprise: Bill Snyder. For a program that struggled at the end of Snyder’s incredible run, and was looking to go in a new direction, to can Prince and go back to the old head coach was one of the stunners of the Big 12 season. Prince was certainly on the hot seat, and he made bold moves by trying to go heavy in the JUCO ranks to try to put a band aid on the situation, but it didn’t work. 
 
Biggest Disappointment: The defense wasn’t even close. Every Big 12 defense struggled this year, but there was supposed to be more of a pass rush with Ian Campbell moved to the line to generate more pressure. It didn’t work out. The Wildcats struggled to get into the backfield, struggled to come up with many meaningful stops, and even with all the athletes, the defense still turned out to be the worst in the Big 12.

Looking Ahead: Snyder will try to work his magic right away, but he’ll need to find a spark from somewhere. 6-3, 225-pound junior-to-be Lamark Brown and junior-to-be QB Carson Coffman don’t exactly fit Snyder’s style, but they might have to do early on. The defense has to make big strides to be more competitive in Big 12 play, but that’s not a lock to happen right away just because Snyder’s back at the helm.

Missouri

CFN Preseason Prediction: 11-1   Final Record: 9-4

Recap
: It was a great season by the history of Missouri standards, but it was a bit of a disappointment considering the goal was a Big 12 championship and the BCS. The Tigers were able to beat bowl-bound teams in Nevada, Buffalo and Nebraska in the first part of the season, but they weren’t able to get by the elite teams. A home loss to Oklahoma State set the tone for the rest of the year as the offense was inconsistent, pressing a bit too much, and unable to keep up in losses to Texas and in the title game to Oklahoma. The Alamo Bowl win over Northwestern gave the Tigers a ten-win season, but it was an ugly performance.  

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Chase Daniel
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Sean Weatherspoon
 
Biggest Surprise: The pass rush was so dominant. Stryker Sulak led the way for a defensive front that was among the best in the nation in tackles for loss and was strong at getting to the quarterback. This was supposed to be a good defense, but it wasn’t supposed to own the line even with four seniors up front. The defense, as a whole, didn’t put up great numbers, but the Big 12 offensive lines had a rough time producing.

Biggest Disappointment: The pass defense was abysmal. Even with a great pass rush and a first round draft pick-caliber safety in William Moore, the secondary couldn’t come up with any semblance of production. The Tigers allowed a whopping 289 passing yards per game as everyone was able to fatten up the stat sheet. Even more disappointing, at least at certain times, was the play of QB Chase Daniel. He didn’t look anything like a 2007 Heisman finalist in several big games, and his erratic play was one of the main reasons the Tigers lost to Oklahoma State.

Looking Ahead: Can the program rebuild? After such a great run, it’s asking a lot of Gary Pinkel and his staff to be able to replace Daniel, TE Chase Coffman, WR Jeremy Maclin, and several other key stars. Now is when Mizzou has to show it can be consistent and prove it has staying power. This might not be a 2009 Big 12 champion, but it needs to be a player in the race.

Nebraska

CFN Preseason Prediction: 7-5   Final Record: 9-4

Recap
: The first step in the turnaround was a big one. Head coach Bo Pelini was able to strengthen up the defense, got more consistency on offense, and instilled a Husker confidence that the program has been missing for a few years. The team got better as the season went on, with two of the four losses, at home to Virginia Tech and in overtime against Texas Tech, two good battles that could’ve gone either way. While the Huskers weren’t in the game against Missouri or Oklahoma, they were able to close out strong with six wins in the final seven games including a thrilling comeback to beat Clemson in the Gator Bowl.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Joe Ganz
Defensive Player of the Year: DT Ndamukong Suh
 
Biggest Surprise: Ndamukong Suh. The talent was always there for the defensive tackle, and the will was there, but the new coaching staff wanted to light a fire under the anchor. The result was an All-Big 12 season as Suh became one of the league’s most disruptive forces with 7.5 sacks to go along with a team-leading 76 tackles and an interception for a score against Kansas.

Biggest Disappointment: The losses to Virginia Tech and Texas Tech. It’s not like the Hokies had an offense, they finished 103rd in the nation in total yards, but they were able to run all over the Husker defense thanks to QB Tyrod Taylor. For a program looking to establish its dominance at home, this was a key loss for the Huskers, but it wasn’t as big as the overtime battle with Texas Tech. Nebraska outplayed the Red Raiders, holding the ball for more than 40 minutes and coming up with 21 fourth quarter points, but QB Joe Ganz threw a bad pass for an OT interception.

Looking Ahead: The needle is pointed up. The program is starting to look a little bit like the Nebraska of old, at least in terms of toughness and appearances, and while the option won’t return, the offense should keep on rolling. The defense, Pelini’s specialty, should continue to improve just enough to make the Huskers the early favorites to win the North.

Oklahoma

CFN Preseason Prediction: 10-2    Final Record: 12-2

Recap
: The Sooners might be getting the Ohio State treatment after losing the BCS Championship to Florida, but that shouldn’t gloss over a magnificent and controversial season. Heisman-winner Sam Bradford led the way for the greatest offensive show in college football history with 716 points on the year including five straight games with 60 points or more and nine games with 50 or more points. There was the 45-35 loss to Texas that was the one fly in the regular season ointment, but then the team went on an unstoppable roll winning seven straight games with five coming against bowl-bound teams, including a Big 12 title win over Missouri, highlighted by dominant performances over Texas Tech, Nebraska and Oklahoma State.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Sam Bradford
Defensive Player of the Year: DT Gerald McCoy
 
Biggest Surprise: That the offense was so amazing. The new up-tempo attack took a while to get going last spring, but it came out guns blazing from the start and then went on its epic run. Bradford had a great year, as expected, and the offensive line was among the best in college football, as expected, but everything clicked in every game except for the national championship.

Biggest Disappointment: Miami, Florida on January 8th. It’s not like the Sooners tanked, like they did the last time they were in a championship game in Miami (the 55-19 loss to USC in the 2005 Orange Bowl), but they certainly came into the game ultra-confident and assuming they would keep the offensive juggernaut rolling. The offense worked, but a few key turnovers and a big Florida goal line stand meant another loss in a BCS game.

Looking Ahead: Florida will likely be everyone’s preseason No. 1, but if Oklahoma isn’t No. 2, it’ll be No. 3 behind Texas. Bradford’s decision to return for another year means the offense should keep on rolling, but the loss of several key linemen should temper the expectations. The focus will be on the end of the year and whether or not the team can come up with a win in a big bowl game again, but there should be no complaints whatsoever if the team pulls off a fourth straight Big 12 championship.

Oklahoma State

CFN Preseason Prediction: 7-5   Final Record: 9-4

Recap
: It was a strong season that seemed like it was really strong, but it wasn’t as good a year as it might appear. There was a strong early season win over Houston and a season-defining victory at Missouri on the way to a 7-0 start, but the Cowboys lost four of their last six games including a Holiday Bowl whacking from Oregon. In the overall pecking order, this was the fourth best team in the league, with losses to Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, and the win over North champion, Missouri, but it was clearly not in the same class as the South’s top three.

Offensive Player of the Year:
WR Dez Bryant
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Andre Sexton
 
Biggest Surprise: The win at Missouri. The defense failed to generate much of a pass rush all year long, and it didn’t do much at the beginning of the year, but it managed to pressure Chase Daniel enough to get him to make plays on the move and force throws he didn’t want to make. The offense did a great job of taking advantage of opportunities with Zac Robinson throwing two touchdown passes to Damian Davis.
 
Biggest Disappointment: The loss to Oregon. Not being able to keep up with Oklahoma was no sin, getting blasted by a hot Texas Tech team in Lubbock wasn’t necessarily a shock, and losing at Texas in a 28-24 battle gave OSU a measure of respect, but to get rolled over for 307 rushing yards and five touchdowns by Oregon is a whole other problem. It ended a good year on a major down note and now puts the pressure on for 2009 to live up to the athleticism, the talent, and the strides made in 2008.

Looking Ahead: The Cowboys will be a mortal lock to finish in the top ten in most offensive categories, but can the defense keep up the pace? While no one will pick them to beat out Texas and Oklahoma in the South, anything less than finishing as the Big 12’s third best team will be a major disappointment. The pressure will be on for a ten-win season and another big bowl appearance … and rightly so. This should be a top ten, maybe top 15 team going into the year.

Texas

CFN Preseason Prediction: 8-4   Final Record: 12-1

Recap
: 2008 will always be known as the year of what might have been. Texas beat Oklahoma, but lost the overall tiebreaker to the Sooners and didn’t get to play in the Big 12 championship against a Missouri team is throttled in the middle of the season, didn’t get to play in the national title game against Florida, and then got passed over in the final standings by USC in the Coaches’ Poll and Utah in the AP. Even so, it was a magnificent year that ended with a dramatic, heart-stopping final drive win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The only loss came to Texas Tech on a perfectly executed final play by Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, and even though the Longhorns had one of the nation’s most dominant teams in all phases, they fell victim to the hot Oklahoma offense when it came to the pollsters.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Colt McCoy
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Brian Orakpo

Biggest Surprise: The team was so good. Texas Tech got everyone back and was supposed to be as good as it was. Oklahoma was supposed to challenge for the national title, Oklahoma State was rising, and Missouri was expected to win the North, but no one saw the Longhorns coming. This was supposed to be a good team, but it was hardly expected to be a juggernaut that was so good throughout the year.

Biggest Disappointment
: The system. An argument can be made that Oklahoma deserved to be in the Big 12 title every bit as much as Texas Tech and Texas, but it’s hard to argue against Texas considering the way it lost to the Red Raiders. While the win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl wasn’t dominant, and didn’t help the case, Texas can still claim it would’ve given Florida a better game and can always believe it deserved to be in Miami instead of Glendale.

Looking Ahead: Thanks to the return of Colt McCoy for his senior season, Texas will almost certainly be in the preseason top five and likely in the top three. If last year was a bit of a surprise, the spotlight will be on from day one in the 2009 season with the expectations jacked through the roof. For all the good things the team did last year, and as screwed over as the team might have been, it was still yet another year when Oklahoma won the Big 12 title. Anything less than a conference championship will be considered a major disappointment.

Texas A&M

CFN Preseason Prediction: 6-6   Final Record: 4-8

Recap
: Mike Sherman’s first year started out with a disastrous loss to Arkansas State and never got much better. The offense clicked at times, and there was a nice win over Colorado, but three of the four wins were by a touchdown or less and the Aggies weren’t even close to staying with the better teams in the South. While it was ultimately forgivable to lose to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas, getting ripped up by Baylor 41-21 is never acceptable for a program that wants to be among the league’s elite. Outside of the opening day loss to ASU, A&M never came closer than 14 in any of the other seven losses.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Jerrod Johnson
Defensive Player of the Year: FS Trent Hunter

Biggest Surprise: The freshmen receivers. Redshirt freshman Ryan Tannehill led the team with 55 catches, while true freshman Jeff Fuller was a major bonus with nine touchdown catches and 50 grabs. These two tall, talented young players will give QB Jerrod Johnson some nice targets to work with next year. Johnson was a bit of a surprise, taking over for Stephen McGee and running the offense for most of the year.

Biggest Disappointment
: The running game. Sherman came to College Station saying he was going to get the Aggie ground game going, but the offensive line was awful, Jorvorskie Lane never slimmed down as asked, and Mike Goodson, who Sherman said was going to be in the Heisman race because of the workload, was dinged up and never got going. A&M finished 114th in the nation, and last in the Big 12, in rushing.

Looking Ahead: It was generally accepted that it might take a little while for Sherman to start to turn things around. No one expected the Aggies to win the South, but they weren’t even competitive in several games. The cupboard wasn’t totally bare from the Dennis Franchione era, but the lines have to be far better and there has to be something the team can count on every week. A hot start could be a must for the team’s psyche.

Texas Tech

CFN Preseason Prediction: 11-1   Final Record: 11-2

Recap
: With ten starters back on offense and everyone of note returning on defense, Texas Tech was supposed to come through with a breakthrough season. It did, but it ended on an empty note losing two of the final three games in ugly fashion. While the wins over Nebraska and Oklahoma State were strong, and the last second victory over Texas was a classic, they were all but erased by a 65-21 loss to Oklahoma. While the Red Raiders finished in a three-way tie for the South title, they weren’t even in the picture when it came down to the tie-breaking considerations. Any and all beefing was eliminated by a 47-34 loss to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. Making matters worse in the respect department, QB Graham Harrell wasn’t invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony. However, Michael Crabtree won his second straight Biletnikoff Award.

Offensive Player of the Year:
QB Graham Harrell
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Brandon Williams

Biggest Surprise: To quote Dennis Green, they are who we thought they were. There weren’t any real surprises for a team that had the schedule, the experience, and the talent to come up with an 11-win season. Harrell was terrific, Crabtree was Crabtree, the defense did enough to get by, and everything was humming until late November.

Biggest Disappointment: The Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma was on an all-timer of a roll, and while it stunk that the Red Raiders couldn’t keep up in the shootout, the 65-21 loss was par for the course in the South. But the Cotton Bowl was when the team was supposed to make a big statement for its program and the Big 12, and it came up with a clunker. A team like Ole Miss wasn’t supposed to outgain the high-powered Red Raider attack, but it did.

Looking Ahead: There’s some retooling to be done. With Harrell and Crabtree gone, along with many of the key linemen, it might take a while for the machine to get cranked up again. If the team couldn’t get it done last year and play for the Big 12 title, why is it going to be better in 2009? It won’t be better, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a player in the race.