Well the Big 12 has been raided and now its down to 10 schools, for now. Last summer all the talk was about how Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State were all going to the Pac 10. Well….two schools did leave the Big12 and that was Colorado(Pac 10) and Nebraska(Big 10) leaving the conference with just 10 schools. So whats going on now with the Big 12? How about instate bickering which could lead to the conference breaking down even more! Texas has signed a 15 year $300 million dollar deal with ESPN which is going to show the University’s newly formed Longhorn Network. Talk about in-state dominance! Not only that, but their have been STRONG rumors that UT will leave the conference and become an independent, basically meaning that any bowl game that UT becomes invited to, it won’t have to share ANY of that money with the conference! The rich just became richer! How does Texas A&M feel about this?? Well besides the fact that they hate their rival on and off the field, they have complained loudly that the conference shows favoritism to UT and has said in so many words “deuces, we are out of here!” So where is A&M trying to land? Oh just the South Eastern Conference, which in turn will result into a domino effect. The SEC will have to raid one to three schools from the ACC. The ACC will then have to raid the Big East for schools, and the Big East will have to raid a couple of mid-major conferences for schools, and so on! This bickering between Texas and Texas A&M could cause College Football to change completely, hence the birth of the Super Conferences! Oh yeah the Big 12 also has the preseason #1 ranked school in Oklahoma.
1. Texas A&M, 11-1 – WHAT!!!! Yes I know who the number 1 ranked team in the nation is, but honestly, so what! I’m going out on a limb and stating that A&M will go into Norman and BEAT Oklahoma! Yes they have been owned as of recent by the Sooners. Yes they have been absolutely WASHED by the Sooners in Norman, but…A&M did beat Oklahoma in College Station last season. Can the momentum carry over into Norman this season? Here is one writer that has no ties whatsoever to say “YES THEY CAN!” This is not the same Texas A&M team that has been bungling through the Big 12 for much of the decade. Head Coach Mike Sherman has this team on the rise and in the 4th year of his tenure at College Station he finally has a roster full of “HIS” players. QB Ryan Tannehill took over for the injured Jerrod Johnson and never looked back. Six starts, six victories, including wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska! Tannehill, a former WR, threw for 1600 yards and 13 tds to go with 6 ints. Now Tannehill did have help, he only had one of top WR ever in A&M history to throw the ball to in Jeff Fuller. Fuller only needs 336 yards to become the school’s all time leader in receiving yards, and his partner in crime Ryan Swoope could finish second in the record books after his career is all said and done. Basically meaning that if you double-team Fuller, then Swoope will come down beat opposing team’s defenses. Oh but this team is not all about passing, their is a STUD running back on campus who goes by the name of Cyrus Gray, and the backup Christine Michael is just as good and would start for a majority of teams in the conference. The O-line brings back 4 starters which should not just open holes for the backs, but blow the doors wide open for these talented runners to run through! The defense loses all world LB Von Miller who was the second pick in the draft, but don’t cry for this team, actually the crying will be done by the opposing team! This defense brings back shades of the feared Aggie defenses of the 80s and 90s, “the Wrecking Crew!” Those defenses back then murder-death-killed offenses during that era, and this year could be the re-birth of what occurred in the past! The defense sets up in a 3-4 scheme and features BIG BOYS: Jonathon Mathis, Eddie Brown, and Tony Jerrod-Eddie. All three weigh a combined 890lbs of BEEF! This sets up a huge problem, for opposing offenses that will try to rush the ball as the holes that they planned on will be filled up with A&M’s fast, and BIG linebackers as well. 6-4 250lb menace Damontre Moore returns to build on his freshman campaign where he earned Freshman All-American recognition. Not only that but his teammate Garrick Williams, a 6-2 240lb mad man himself registered a 112 tackles last year! The corners, oh they like to tackle as well, in fact senior Terrance Frederick lived in the backfield last year and had 7 tackles for a loss to go along with his 9 pass breakups when the ball was actually thrown into his area. The other three members in the secondary are all upperclassmen that, in fact a majority of the starters are upperclassmen, and their are some good solid depth behind these starters. Now beat Oklahoma, and not only the Big 12 conference title is in reach, but so is a spot in the National Title Game!
Wrecks-n-Effect is BACK!!!
2. Oklahoma, 10-2 – Well Bob Stoops your ranked number one again, key word is again. Are you going to finally win a national title after winning one in your second year?? I’m going with a NO, not cause your not a good coach, definitely a top 5 coach, but because your team has a sense of not showing up in the big games. Just check out the long list of gaffes: 2003 Big 12 title game, 2003 national title game, 2004 national title game, 2005 national title game, Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise St in 06, Fiesta Bowl loss to WV in 07, and 2008 national title game loss to Florida. Wow! Now that’s a list. Well Sooner fans the team finally did win a BCS bowl game, Fiesta Bowl, but that was against UCONN from the the Big East, and yes we are discussing football, not basketball. Not taking anything away from the win, its not like OU picked to play UCONN, but its still UCONN football that’s none for…….exactly! Well new decade(thank goodness), but same expectations. OU is not just expected to make it to the title game, but also to win it! The team does bring back all-american QB Landry Jones and super-humanoid-cyborg Ryan Broyles to catch his passes. Ryan Broyles is a big, in fact huge reason why this team is currently ranked number one. He is the premier WR who possess speed, quickness, breath taking moves and uncanny strength. The guy came back to not only win a national title, but also to break every WR record in the books. Can he get it? Well he already has most of the Oklahoma records, and their is no fault in trying! But opposing defenses need to not to double team him, cause on the other side of the field is young and up-and-coming Kenny Stills who had 786 yards and 5 touchdowns last year as a freshman. Not only that but the TE James Hanna took advantage of the two pass catchers and registered 7 tds as well. The wide receiver corps is deep with talent and speed, but the running backs are….well still trying to find some consistency. Last year Demarco Murray finally made it through an entire season without suffering any major injury. But his backup Roy Finch really didn’t wow anyone. He will be relied upon as well as super-phenom freshman Brandon Williams. Williams graduated high school early just to be at Oklahoma for winter drills and spring football and is be labeled as “the next” great runningback from OU. The oline always has big boys, but last year they allowed 21 sacks and the rushing attack was only getting 3.3 yards a clip. Biggum Donald Stephenson is leading the group this year, but needs a strong senior year to make an impression to the NFL scouts that do come to Norman. The defense has its own questions to answer. All-World LB Travis Lewis is out for at least six weeks with a broken foot. MLB and inspirational leader Austin Box died over the summer, and pass-rush specialist Ronnel Lewis may be ineligible for the semester(gotta hit those books)! That’s three of the top defensive players gone. On the bright side, the secondary is amazing featuring cover men Jameel Fleming and Demonte Hurst who had a combined 25 pass deflections last year. Turn some of those knockdowns into ints and its going to be a problem in this pass-happy league. As usual though it all boils down to the O-line. If the oline doesn’t come together quick and start producing, its going to be another disappointing season in Norman, and UT fans would have something else to laugh about. Someone roll that video!
3.Texas, 10-2 – Well what happened!? I mean Mack Brown really?! 5-7!!! A new season and some new coaches, Mack cleaned house and removed almost everyone, well Will Muschamp just left to be the Gators new HC, but everyone else was replaced! The new offensive and defensive coordinators are Major Applewhite(remember him) and Manny Diaz who is one of “the” up and coming defensive gurus. One of the highlighted problems last year was inefficient quarterback play by Garrett Gilbert. 17 interceptions to 10 touchdowns is not going to cut it anywhere let alone Texas. But all is forgiven, even Colt McCoy had a a bad sophomore campaign as well. Just deliver a Big 12 title and beat Oklahoma and the UT faithful will forget about last season. Gilbert wasn’t the only problem though, how about the runningbacks? Where were they at?? Welcome to Austin, TX Malcom Brown! The number one rated RB according to many recruiting services, Malcom has some huge standards to live up, he’s already being tagged as the next Rickey Williams(without the smoke). But he won’t be gaining much yards if the offensive lines to punch open some holes. But this is Texas, lineman grow on trees right? Umm last year the line gave up 18 sacks and the rushing attack averaged a pedestrian 4.0 yards a pop. More is desired, in fact a whole lot more is desired. The wideouts are also missing in action, the all OVERRATED Malcom Williams(6-3 230lbs and 4.3 forty) has done next to nothing for the Longhorns. This is his final year, and UT fans would think its nice for him to finally earn his scholarship. The defense has a lot of positives though! The defensive line is deep with HS All-Americans. Watch out for Jackson Jeffcoat to have a huge year! He has the DNA of an all-pro(dad is Jim Jeffcoat) and is ready to create his own legacy as far as destroying quarterbacks are concerned. Alex Okafor is poised for a huge season as well, as the two could combine to form a devastating effect on pass-offenses in the conference. LB’s Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho were the number 1 and 2 team leading tacklers last season. Both are looking to end their senior season with a bang, literally. These boys are fast, big, and are willing to destroy any ball carriers that they cross paths with. The corners are young though, but senior safety Blake Gideon will have their back. UT is poised for a turn-around season, and do possess the size and talent to win the conference. Hook Em Horns!!!
4.Oklahoma State, 9-3 – If you want to see an explosive offense, just tune into a Ok St Cowboy game. Last year the offense averaged 44.2 points per game! And the two of the three most important pieces come back in QB Brandon Weeden and WR Cyborg Justin Blackmon so expect some fireworks again! Its going to be like the 4th of July everytime the offense takes the field. Blackmon last season had 1782 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, the question this year is if he can hit 2000? Josh Cooper also comes back with his 736 yards, but will a new number 3 WR show up? If one does, then its going to spell a lot of trouble for secondaries in this conference as quarterback Brandon Weeden slinged the ball around for 34 touchdowns last year. Running back Joseph Randle fills in for Kendall Hunter this season, and averaged 5.5 yards a carry last year to go with 452 yards. 1000 yards is not out of the question as all FIVE starter on the offensive line come back to knock down anyone not wearing a Cowboy jersey. The defense though is another story. It gave up 26 points per game last year, and road trips to A&M, Texas, and Missouri will not be a good look. Five starters come back, and the defense is really that big. Richetti Jones leads the defensive line, and his partner Jamie Blatnick are both legit defensive ends, but just a little on the small side at 255lbs each. The starting linebackers are quick, but really small. Joe Mitchell is the smallest at 205lbs and Caleb Lavey is 230lbs and he is the biggest one. Thats not going to bode well for teams that just run straight at them. Big time booster and oil billionaire T.Boone Pickens has donated tons of money to the program, but the team has yet to deliver a Big 12 title. Could this finally be the year??? I don’t think so, just not enough defense to change my mind.
5.Missouri, 6-6 – Missouri is one thing, consistent. They are a consistent bowl team that Gary Pinkel has developed during his time here at Columbia. His all world QB in Blaine Gabbert now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and his new QB James Franklin does bring in some high school accolades with him. But expect a transition year for this team. Last year 10 wins was overachieving effort by this team, and WR TJ Moe will do everything he can to help Franklin shine in his first year. The defense does not feature any true studs, besides Zaviar Gooden but its solid. Six starters come back from a team that held opponents to 16 ppg last season. If the defense expects to improve its going to have experience a repeat effort by defensive ends Jacquies Smith and Brad Madison who combined for 13 sacks last season. This is a good team, but the schedule is brutal. Trips to AZ St, Okl, A&M, and Baylor are going to be a lot for a young QB to handle.
6.Baylor, 6-6 – Robert Griffin III is not from this world. If he played for any big boy school he would be THE Heisman candidate. But he plays for Baylor, and he will destroy all defenses that are in front of him. The closest college football has seen since Mike Vick. The rest of the team is good as well, but RGIII makes it all go.
7. Kansas St, 6-6 – Bill Snyder is back ladies and gentleman and he convinced Kansas produced and raised Brown brothers to come home. Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown, two highly recruited players, have transferred in and are ready to continue taking Coach Snyder to some bowls. Snyder always fields a overachieving bunch and expect nothing different this year. Snyder took K-State back to a bowl game last year(first since 06) and with QB Justin Tuggle on campus, he expects to bring back a bowl victory this year! Lets go PURPLE POWER!!
8.Texas Tech, 5-7 – Tommy Tuberville is still transitioning this team from former coach Mike Leach’s spread offense, to Tommy’s Power Running game. Good luck Tommy as the personnel does not match at all. Last year’s 8 wins was, well luck. Lot of cupcakes on the schedule last year, really this team lost to Iowa State last year. Cmon! Someone needs to call Mike Leach and figure out did he really put that boy in a shed, you know the spoiled little kid that showed up to practices in jeans, Armani shirts, and shades. Cause this program is going down fast!
9. Kansas, 3-9 – Wow did you know this team won the Orange Bowl in 2007?! Turner Gill inherited a heap of trash on this team. Well their is basketball season!! Oh wait, the basketball team do their best Bob Stoops impressions in March as well.
10.Iowa St, 1-11 – This team actually won 5 games last year! They must have asked Senaca Wallace to put on a jersey for some of those games. UNC Super Sophomore Harrison Barnes is actually from Ames, Iowa and his mom works for the school! Still he knew playing college basketball for UNC was going to be a lot better for his future. Hey free Jordans! Well hey Iowa always have the Straw Poll!
OPOY – Justin Blackmon
DPOY – Keenan Robinson
Recruiting: UT; The University of Texas has their recruiting wrapped up early every year. The kids out in Texas KNOW they are playing for Texas when they are in grade school. Football recruits line up as really Texas does not recruit, more so SELECT who will be playing for them in the state of Texas. Malcom Brown is supposed to be next great back, but defensive lineman Desomond Jackson also will make his presence known as well! Watch out also for Jaxson Shipley who is rumored to being better than his All-Texas brother Jordan Shipley.