Due to a site issue that didn't allow me to post, I'm a little behind. Which is quite different than being what I regularly am - a huge behind. Ask anyone.
As you've probably figured out, a number of Big 12 Bloggers have gotten together to vote on preseason awards for the Big 12. The poll was conducted by Burnt Orange Nation, who abstained from voting. The Big 12 blogs that participated are as follows:
Clone Chronicles, Crimson and Cream Machine, The 12th Manchild, K-State Cat Zone, Double Extra Point, Double T Nation, Off Tackle, 40 Acre Sports, TAMU & Baseball, Big Red Network, Aggie Sports, OU Sooners Blog, Bevo Sports, Husker Mike, and Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
I've already explained my choice for the Big 12 Offensive player of the year. I selected Chase Daniel, Missouri.
For the Big 12 defensive player of the year, I selected Alvin Bowen a linebacker at Iowa State. I figured (correctly as it turns out) that the consensus pick would be Reggie Smith of Oklahoma. He's the best player on the best defense in the Big 12. So why'd I select Bowen?
Bowen, like his offensive counterparts Brett Meyer and Todd Blythe, is a stand-out player on a team that isn't going to do much this season. He deserves some recognition for that, so I voted for him. Simple as that. Being a NFL-level linebacker on a bad team, he's probably going to end up with three or four hundred tackles and he's not going to get a lot of recognition otherwise. His reward will come on Sundays.
I wanted to mention Ndamakong Suh, but I thought that would be a bit too homerish. I have no doubt that the rest of the Big 12 will know his name before the season concludes.
We were asked to vote on the best Big 12 intra-conference game and non-conference games. We were disallowed from voting for our own teams, so I went with the following games:
- Best conference matchup: Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State.
The best defense in the Big 12 against the best offense, and a lot at stake for the Big 12 South crown.
- Best non-conference matchup:
Oklahoma State versus Georgia. It'd be great for the Big 12 to get a win over the SEC. The Cowboys need to showcase an explosive offense and this is the stage on which to do it. This was my vote, but there were a couple other candidates.
Kansas State - Auburn is another potentially great match up although the Wildcats will be a young team and on the road but that's another one that'd be nice to get over the SEC.
Oklahoma - Miami. Great test for a new Sooner quarterback early in the season. Miami will have a great defense, so we will find out how good the Sooner offense is going to be right away. If they can shove that Miami defense off the line, you can bet they can do that to everyone else.
As to order of finish, here's how I voted:
Given their history of choking, I don't understand how anyone can put Missouri at the top of the Big 12 North unless it's out of sheer boredom. The Tigers' offense will be better than Nebraska's overall, but Nebraska's defense will be better which is why they will win the Big 12 North. I see Kansas State coming on later in the season while Missouri starts to falter.
Texas is being ranked higher by most people because of Colt McCoy and their receiving corps. There are a lot of question marks in Texas, particularly about the offensive line. If you don't have a great offensive line, you're not going to be in the top five in the nation, let alone win your conference. Winning begins with an offensive line. Whether Texas will have a great one remains to be seen.
Oklahoma has a great offensive line, good running backs, and a potentially great defense. I'd probably rank them in the top five nationally, even without a quarterback. The Big 12 South is going to be a lot of fun to watch this season because it's going to eat itself.