It's time for me to put together a pre-season Big 12 conference team and get my picks together for the Big 12 North and Big 12 South.
Here's what I have for order of finish to date:
- Kansas State
- Iowa State
- Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Okie State - I'm thinking you throw dice here.
The Big 12 is going to tear itself up pretty well this season. I believe Nebraska is a step above KSU and Mizzou. Even if the Huskers would lose in Columbia, I think Mizzou will falter later in the season with KSU overtaking them.
The South - it's a crapshoot and I'm fresh out of dried chicken bones. The easy pick is Texas, but they have more question marks than Oklahoma. Tech, A&M and Oklahoma State are all coming on strong. I really want to move Oklahoma State up but I'm not so sure about their defense, where I'm pretty sure Oklahoma is all about defense.
Where would you pick 'em?
Big 12 Quarterback:
Sam Keller? Colt McCoy? Josh Freeman? Chase Daniel? McGee out of Texas A&M? Harrell out of Tech? Bobby Reid from Oklahoma State? Holy Cow, there's a lot of them.
Colt McCoy is the easy pick here, but I'm thinking he has to come back after last season's injury more from a mental standpoint than physical. And he has to avoid the sophomore jinx. Last year he was a wide-eyed freshman and played well, but will he start thinking too much this season and try to do too much? I think so.
Sam Keller - the offense is set up perfectly for him, but we know nothing about how he plays in red.
Josh Freeman - set to be a superstar, but does he have enough of a team around him?
Can Chase Daniel finally get over the Mizzou curse? Will anyone stop Tech from putting up 6,000 yards in the air? And can Bobby Reid emulate Vince Young well enough to put the cowboys over the top?
Jamaal Charles, Texas is the favorite, but will Texas' offensive line establish the run?
Goodson, Texas A&M? Javorskie Lane scoring 20 TD's from one yard out?
Lucky, Nebraska, who is going to have to carry more of a load this year?
Look at the wide receivers in the Big 12. Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker out of Mizzou. Adarius Bowman from Okie State. Limas Sweed from Texas. Maurice Purify of Nebraska. Under-rated Todd Blythe of Iowa State.
People tend to look at size and that's rather silly because the world is full of enormous linemen. Nebraska's Lydon Murtha is a perfect example - sheer size, but not a lot of people are talking about him. Will he break out this year?
Reality is, no one notices (well, Nebraskans do) offensive lineman except when they do something wrong. But trying to pick the guys who are the best..... I'm going to have to rely on last year which isn't such a bad thing because most of the time guys who are coming out of high school or JUCO's haven't had the weight training needed to do well at Div-IA football, so it typically takes them a year to get their strength up well enough to play. This is especially true in the Big 12. When I look at the Big 12 media picks for the offensive line, I think they're about right. This is the media list for the offensive line:
- OL Tony Hills Texas 6-6 305 Sr/3L Houston, Texas
- OL Duke Robinson Oklahoma 6-5 330 Jr/2L Atlanta, Ga.
- C Cody Wallace Texas A&M 6-4 294 Sr/2L Cuero, Texas
- OL Matt Slauson Nebraska 6-5 335 Jr/2L Colorado Springs, Colo.
- OL Anthony Collins Kansas 6-5 310 Jr/2L Beaumont, Texas
Perrish Cox out of Okie State was 14th in punt returns last season, so he's the easy pick in this category. Will one of Nebraska's young 'uns surprise everyone?
Interesting that the Big 12 media picked Alex Trlica out of Tech for first team when Jeff Wolfert out of Mizzou had a 90% average on his field goals last season, including a 53 yarder against the Huskers. He didn't miss a field goal in his last seven games.
I'll post some stuff about defensive side of the ball later, but I would appreciate any feedback y'all have about the Big 12 in the coming season.