NCAAF: Big 12 Preview

August 21, 2010


The Big 12 should be a very interesting conference to watch this year. They were the talk of the off-season, with Colorado and Nebraska going public with their intentions to bolt for the Pac-10 and Big 10 conferences next year, and that’s just the beginning. Multiple teams, including Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, will start the season with high hopes of going undefeated and possibly receiving a bid to play for the national championship. However, the question will be whether or not those teams have the answer at quarterback. Texas must replace Colt McCoy, but his successor Garrett Gilbert showed promise when he stepped into the national championship game last season and played surprisingly well. Oklahoma must replace Sam Bradford, but will do so with Landry Jones, who played most of the season last year for the Sooners after Bradford went down with an injury against BYU. Nebraska is also high in the preseason rankings, but had real problems last year at the quarterback position, and unless someone in that camp got much better over the off-season, will likely encounter those problems again. With all this being said, it could be a rollercoaster ride in the Big 12 this season. However, the conference has been on a rollercoaster ride for the last four months, so that isn’t saying much.

Team(s) With the Best Shot at a National Championship Bid

Even without defensive standout Ndamukong Suh, the Cornhusker defense should be strong under Bo Pelini. However, you can’t always have the defense bail you out. Nebraska should easily win the Big 12 North, but if they want to be serious contenders for the national title, then they will need better play on offense, especially at quarterback. If Nebraska drops a game they shouldn’t this season, the blame will likely be put on the offense. The bottom line is, if they have good quarterback play, then they are a national title caliber team. If they don’t have it, then they aren’t.


I think I’m more obligated out of recent success than anything to include Texas in this list. Not only do they lose Colt McCoy, but they also lose wide receiver Jordan Shipley, as well as some key proponents on the defensive side. Texas will probably drop a few games due to the inexperience of Gilbert and Co., but you never know. Mack Brown knows how to coach young players into confident leaders quickly, so I’ll keep them on this list just in case.

Watch Out! (Team That Could Surprise)

Yes, I think that Oklahoma will be the team out of the Big 12 that could surprise people. I don’t know if people are giving enough credit to Landry Jones, who is a good quarterback. Oklahoma is flying under the radar somewhat, which may sound kind of weird, considering they’re a preseason Top 10 team. After an 8-5 season, people seem to forget that they have possibly the best team in the Big 12, with an experienced quarterback. Don’t be surprised if they win the Big 12 South and are still in the national title conversation heading into the Big 12 championship game.

Out-Of-Conference Game To Watch
Oklahoma vs. Florida State (September 11th)

This game features two teams that I picked to “surprise people” this year. If Florida State has a better defense than they did last year, then this game may surprise people as well. It’s still early enough in the season that Florida State could rattle Landry Jones, who although talented, is still only a sophomore. A win for Florida State would definitely catch the nation’s attention, and a win for Oklahoma is solid as well.

In-Conference Game To Watch
Nebraska vs. Texas (October 16th)

Oklahoma is not on the schedule for Nebraska, so this game is no doubt the biggest of the year for them. As for Texas, this game could be a chance to either prove they’re for real, or to take out their frustrations if they happen to lose to Oklahoma, whom they play the week before. In addition, this game is a chance for the quarterbacks to have a breakout performance in front of a national audience. A lot should be at stake in this final meeting as Big 12 rivals.

Conference Predictions

North Division

1. Nebraska (11-1, [7-1])
2. Colorado (6-6, [4-4])
3. Iowa State (5-7, [3-5])
4. Missouri (7-5, [3-5])
5. Kansas (3-9, [1-7])
6. Kansas State (2-10, [0-8])

South Division

1. Oklahoma (11-1, [7-1])
2. Texas A&M (9-3, [5-3])
3. Texas (9-3, [5-3])
4. Texas Tech (8-4, [4-4])
5. Baylor (6-6, [3-5])
6. Oklahoma State (6-6, [2-6])

Championship Game (Nebraska vs. Oklahoma)
Winner: Nebraska

– K. Becks

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