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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Big XII Preview, a la Heavy Soul

Like Michael Jackson deprived of Diprivan, ol' Heavy Soul is hurtin' for posts. Fear not, King of Blogs fans, MIB is here with your fix.

Big XII North

1. Nebraska Cornhuskers. With a more physically talented, albeit less experienced, quarterback at the helm in addition to the most legitimate rushing attack the school has seen since a Heisman winner named Crouch donned the Scarlet and Cream, NU looks to be the favorite in the North Division. NU looks to have an improved defense in the second year of the new scheme.

2. Kansas Jayhawks. KU returns the Division's best QB in diminutive Todd Reesing as well as their top 5 rushers and top 4 receivers. One of those receivers is Dezmon Briscoe who with a similar season to 2008 will land himself multiple post-season accolades. However, offense was never the problem under Mark Man-i'll-eat-anything-including-your-child-if-you-don't-mind-gino, it was a defense that gave up about 450 ypg. And they lose their LB crew from that mediocre defense. To boot, the Jayhawks face Oklahoma, Texas, and Tech from the South Division. A bit rough.

3. Missouri Tigers. MU loses everyone that mattered to their recent success including key members of their coaching staff. They have the conferences fewest returning starters and fewest returning letterman. And Gary Pinkel couldn't coach Creighton's football team. Their best recruit, DT Sheldon Richardson failed to qualify academically. Missouri probably shouldn't even field a team this year. They'll probably fold after the Nebraska, @Okie St., Texas stretch.

4. Colorado Buffaloes. Dan Hawkins is predicting 10 wins from a schedule that includes games at West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma St. They also draw Kansas and Nebraska at home. That's 5 pretty conservative choices for losses. And these days, unless you play in the NFC North and not the Big XII North, it's difficult to rack up both 10 wins and 5 losses. And they can't stop receivers from transferring.

5. Iowa State Cyclones. Call me crazy, but this Iowa State bunch might surprise a few foes. Sure, they've had 3 head coaches in 4 years. And I'll spot you the fact that Iowa State is in fact still located in Ames, Iowa and not Dallas, Texas. And yes, I realize they do not have a bye week during the regular season. They do return a veteran QB that threw for nearly 2800 yards while completing 62% of his passes. They do return both of their leading rushers and add former Florida RB Bo Williams to the mix. They do return 4 of their top 5 tacklers. They get Iowa, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Colorado at home. They WILL improve on a 2-10 record.

6. Kansas State Wildcats. So Bill Snyder has returned to Manhattan to resurrect the program he built up from nothing. They're gonna suck this year. He's 70. JoePa called him an old fart. Their defense won't be awful. Everything else will be.

South Division

1. Texas Longhorns. I think that Oklahoma is a more dangerous team, but am giving Texas the edge due to their schedule. By no means is their schedule filled with creampuffs, in fact I don't think Texas will be the beneficiary of any huge blowouts. They only lose one of their top 7 rushers and return their top 5 tacklers. Getting WR Jordan Shipley back for a seemingly 16th year of eligibility will help tremendously. Colt McCoy is the key and is my favorite to win the Heisman.

2. Oklahoma Sooners. I'm not so sure that we might not have a repeat to last year's South Division race. It could come down to a tiebreaker. They have a salty defense returning and serious star power coming back on offense. Games versus BYU and @Miami have the ability to be dicey early season tests. Probably not.

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys. A great QB, RB, WR, and LT have the Cowpokes primed to jump on any mistake the Longhorns or Sooners make. The opener against Georgia could make me look like an idiot.

4. Baylor Bears. Wha? For reals? Yep. They have the most returning starters in the Big XII. However, none of them are offensive tackles. Luckily, they have the most mobile QB in the nation. LB Joe Pawalek and S Jordan Lake are All Conference and Penn State transfer DT Phil Taylor is expected to be difficult to run around. They'll go bowling for the first time since joining the Conference.

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders. I think it's letdown time in Lubbock. Mike Leach just got a big deal and while coaches aren't exactly like free agents, it's one less thing to motivate the quirky coach. They lose their two best players on offense and just lost potential All Big XII DE McKinner Dixon to the NFL supplemental draft. They are on the bad side of the momentum battle right now. Last year, #2 TTU got their Red Asses handed to them by #5 OU. The next week they barely beat Baylor at home. After a month to get their shit together, they ran into the buzzsaw that was Ole Miss last January. They'll still go to a bowl, but I can honestly see up to 5 conference losses.

6. Texas A&M Aggies. Well, they shouldn't get worse. They do return 10 starters on offense, albeit a shitty one. They lose former fixtures in Mike Goodson, Jorvorskie Lane and Stephen McGee. Despite his name, true freshman Christine Michael is a MAN. Should win Conference Freshman of the Year.

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