Wednesday, September 02, 2009


The Big XII provided the most controversy, and possibly the most excitement in college football last year. And once again, the two big teams in the Big XII - Texas and Oklahoma - will be contenders, with Texas being a heavy favorite to win the National Championship.

The Longhorns will win the Big XII South without tie-breakers, then the Big XII title game in Arlongton, and then the National Championship in Pasadena. Colt McCoy finished 2nd in Heisman voting, in case anyone forgot. And Texas didn't lose much talent. They beat Oklahoma last year, and beat Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. They're loaded, and they're going all the way, unfortunately. But hey, at least they're not USC or fucking Florida.

However, they might be tested in the middle of the season, with back-to-back trips to Missouri, and Oklahoma State. Those aren't easy places for anyone to win in.

Key games:
10/17 vs. Oklahoma (Dallas, TX)
10/24 @ Missouri
10/31 @ Oklahoma State

13-1, Big XII Champs, BCS Champs

The Sooners have the reigning Heisman winner, but lost 4/5 of their offensive line, which gave Sam Bradford the time to make so many big plays. The Sooners also lost talent in their receiving corps. OU is great at reloading, and if they were in just about any other conference, they'd contend for a conference title. But they'll lose the Red River Shootout in October, and perhaps Bedlam against Oklahoma State in November.

I do think they'll have the talent and ability to figure out how to impress people, and earn a BCS berth. But maybe it would be better to settle for an easier win in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners haven't won a bowl game since 2005, and haven't taken home a BCS Bowl trophy since 2002.

Key games:
9/5 vs. Brigham Young (Arlington, TX)
10/3 @ Miami
10/17 vs. Texas (Dallas, TX)
11/7 @ Nebraska
11/28 vs. Oklahoma State

11-2, Fiesta Bowl loss

Oklahoma State replaces Texas Tech in the spoiler role for the Big XII South. Last year, how Texas and OU fared against Tech turned out to be much more important than how they did against each other. The same could turn out to be true about Oklahoma State in '09.

Similar to Texas Tech, OSU has an insane offense, and a very susceptible defense. They return 8 starters to an offensive unit that averaged nearly 500 yards a game. But on defense, they struggle to pressure QBs, and their coverage units are frequently scorched. That combination doesn't bode well in a conference with Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford.

Key games:
9/5 vs. Georgia
10/31 vs. Texas
11/28 @ Oklahoma

10-3, Cotton Bowl Champs

The Blackshirts are back. Nebraska's defense is capable of propelling them to the Big XII title game. They also have a very fortunate schedule. Out of conference, apart from a trip to Blacksburg to play VA-Tech, the Cornhuskers host Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, and Louisiana-Lafayette. They also don't have to play either Texas or Oklahoma State. And their matchup against Oklahoma is in Lincoln.

Nebraska has little offensive firepower, but they won't really need it to win the Big XII North.

Key games:
9/19 @ Virginia Tech
10/8 @ Missouri
11/7 Oklahoma
11/14 @ Kansas

10-4, Big XII North Champs, Holiday Bowl Champs

And the rest, in alphabetical order...

Baylor is no longer a guaranteed win for opponents in the Big XII. QB Robert Griffin threw for 2,000+ yards and 28 TDs in his freshman year, along with 843 yards on the ground and only 3 INTs. The Bears won't contend for the Big XII South, and will be fortunate to finish the season bowl eligible, but thanks to Texas A&M, they're no longer the worst Big XII team in Texas. And watch out for this squad to surprise a Big XII powerhouse with a scare game, as most of the big teams have to come down to Waco to face Baylor.

Key games:
9/19 vs. UConn
10/10 @ Oklahoma
10/24 vs. Oklahoma State
10/31 vs. Nebraska
11/14 vs. Texas

Where are you Kordell Stewart? Boulder turns its lonely eyes to you.

CU sucks at just about everything that matters. There are question marks at QB, a below average offensive line returns 4 starters, which is probably a bad thing, and a there's a defensive line that couldn't put pressure on a mosquito. The Buffaloes will be the Big XII North whipping boys, except when they play Iowa State.

Key games:
10/1 @ West Virginia
10/10 @ Texas
11/19 @ Oklahoma State
11/27 vs. Nebraska

New coach Paul Rhodes inherits a program that was 2-10, and 0-8 in conference play. This is another team that sucks on toast, both offensively and defensively. They need to make Seneca Wallace get some plastic surgery, come back as Cayuga Waltrip, and play QB.

Key games (one's they might win):
9/3 vs. North Dakota State
9/26 vs. Army
11/14 vs. Colorado

Just one or two good years and people think KU has an amazing program. I'm still not sold on anything in Kansas that isn't basketball. But they do have a comical out of conference schedule (Northern Colorado, @ UTEP, Duke, Southern Miss), so contending for a Big XII North title, and a longshot at the BCS isn't totally out of the question.

QB Todd Reesing is solid, and has a pair of 1,000+ yard receivers to throw to. But there are weaknesses, as well as dates with Oklahoma and Texas on the schedule.

Key games:
10/24 vs. Oklahoma
11/14 vs. Nebraska
11/21 @ Texas

There are some solid players in Manhattan. But the QB spot is still up for grabs. Then again, the Wildcats have some cupcake games to figure that out before they play their first real team on October 10th. K-State could surprise people, either with a big upset win, or bowl eligibility.

Key games:
10/31 @ Oklahoma
11/7 vs. Kansas
11/21 @ Nebraska

No Chase Daniel, and the Tigers are left struggling. Mizzou also lost most of its other skill players, as well as 7 defensive starters. Unlike the powers in the Big XII, teams like Missouri need a few years to recover from such losses. The Tigers might make some noise in the Big XII North, and could help DETERMINE who goes to the conference title game, but they won't COMPETE for the divisional title.

Key games:
10/8 vs. Nebraska
10/17 @ Oklahoma State
10/24 vs. Texas
11/14 @ Kansas State
11/28 vs. Kansas (Kansas City, MO)

The Aggies might have a decent passing game, which they'll need because they'll be behind most of the time. They have NO running game, which is sacrilegious in the Big XII. They were 114th in the country last year with 88.5 rushing yards per game. Both their offensive and defensive lines are consistently pushed back, and their only conference wins in '08 came against Colorado and Iowa State.

The Aggies might just be the worst team in Texas.

Key games (winnable ones):
9/5 vs. New Mexico
9/19 vs. Utah State
10/31 vs. Iowa State
11/7 @ Colorado

No Harrel, no Crabtree, but somehow Texas Tech will average 500 passing yards and 30 points a game once more. The unsung hero of TTU's 2008 campaign was Brandon Williams, who's also gone. Tech will always have a prolific offense, but last year their defense was almost as fierce, especially in the pass-rushing area, because of guys like Williams. Tech will provide audiences with some thrilling 49-42 games. Good for us fans, bad for Tech.

Key games:
9/19 @ Texas
10/17 @ Nebraska
10/31 vs. Kansas
11/14 @ Oklahoma State
11/21 vs. Oklahoma

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