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BIG 12 2007 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW

North Division

Missouri - Missouri started last year 6-0 and people started to take notice. They then proceeded to lose 5 of their last 7 games. A look back at last year tells us that once Mizu stepped up in class, they couldn't get it done. When it came time to play A+M, Oklahoma or Nebraska, the Tigers came up short. So it should be no surprise that this season it will come down winning against the stiffer competition if they are to break out of the 7 or 8 win season routine. The Mizu offense was one of the better units in the country last year. They lose QB Brad Smith, however they are otherwise loaded, returning just about everyone else from last years offense. It's on the defensive side of things where the Tigers had trouble last year, particularly against the run. Unless they improve, it's another 7 or 8 win season for Mizu. Many of the pre-season pundits are picking Mizu to do big things in the Big 12 this year. It's possible, but we'll wait until after the first two weeks in October to pass final judgment. That will be after facing Nebraska and Oklahoma back to back. That should answer all of our questions.

Nebraska - It took former Nebraska QB Zac Taylor a couple of years to learn Bill Callahan's offense, but things started to click last year. Unfortunately, Zac Taylor is now gone, and a new QB must step in and execute this offense. Nebraska's 2006 season was not that different than Missouri's in that, they beat the teams they were supposed to beat, but couldn't get it done against the cream of the crop, with losses to Texas, Oklahoma,  USC and Auburn in the Cotton Bowl. With some holes to fill on both sides of the ball, The Huskers may be looking at another 8 win season at best. It will be interesting to see what happens September 8th at Wake Forest. If Wake Forest still has the good, the Huskers could be looking at a 1-2 start (they have USC the following week) and could have a little hole to dig out of early on. It won't get much easier after that as they have road games at Mizu and Texas. We see more of the same for Nebraska this year. Good but not great.

Kansas State - Yet another Big 12 team that was able to handle lesser opponents but couldn't handle the step up in class with the exception of their upset 45-42 win over Texas last November. The bright spot heading into this year is that 2nd year QB Josh Freeman has another year under his belt. But with the exception of the Texas game, the margins between Kansas State and the better teams they lost to, wasn't close enough to expect any significant changes this year. 24-6 to Louisville, 21-3 to Nebraska, 41-21 to Mizu, 37-10 to Rutgers. This year they have road games at Auburn, Texas and Nebraska. Last year was a 7 win season. This year, we see a repeat, plus or minus a game.

Kansas - When teams have magical seasons, like Rutgers or Wake Forest last year, they get just about every break. The ball just bounces their way. Well, 2006 for Kansas was just the opposite. They finished 6-6 but were in every game they played with the exception of their season ending loss to Mizu, 42-17. A couple of overtime losses, including one at Nebraska, as well as a 3 point loss to A+M are usually the types of building blocks that lead to improvement in the win column the following year. But they Jayhawks will have their work cut out for them as they try to improve a very shaky defense and look to replace a few key offensive starters, including the QB. The goal for this team, this year, should be to get to a Bowl game. To accomplish that, they'll need the 6 win minimum, preferably 7 wins, and the schedule looks like it might cooperate with them. It's certainly not a lock though.

Colorado - Only one way to go for the Buffs......up. Can't get much worse for a team that was 2-10 a year ago. So it's hardly stepping out on a limb to predict some improvement this year. But "some" is the key word. This offense was near the bottom of several categories, Nationally. Too much of a gap to expect much this year. 5 wins would be a good year for this team. Anything more than that would put them way ahead of schedule and would certainly be a major accomplishment.

Iowa State - Under former coach Dan McCarney, Iowa State was generally a team that could win 7 games, pull an upset or two along the way and get to a Bowl game. But a 4 win 2006 season put an end to the McCarney era as Iowa State brought in new head coach Gene Chizik. Chizik comes with a great resume, having been the defensive coordinator at Texas and Auburn. But he figures to find the going a bit tougher at Iowa State for one very big reason. Talent. Iowa State will simply never get the same talent as schools like Auburn and Texas. Such is life in College football. That will never change. Sure, he may be able to have the lone 10 win season once in a blue moon. but otherwise, the best Chizik can hope for is to be able to equal what McCarney did. Which is make Iowa State a team which can win 7 games a year and pull an upset or two along the way. Let's see what he does in year number one. Looks like less than 6 wins to us this year.

South Division

Oklahoma - For the same reason new Iowa State coach Dan McCarney will find it tough going at Iowa State, the Sooners will once again be a force in the Big 12...... Talent. If there's Talent to go around in the Big 12, Oklahoma will always have their share of it. This is a team that's won 11 or 12 games 4 of the last 5 years and returns a good bunch on both sides of the ball. Where the Sooners figure to struggle a bit is at QB, with no clear choice having yet emerged. There's perhaps 4 games on their schedule that could be question marks, but even a split in those 4 games puts the Sooners at 10-2 with perhaps a shot at the Big 12 title game with a chance to make some noise in the National Picture. But the QB position will be key if that's to play out. Circle October 6th on your schedules. That's when Texas comes to town and the Sooners get a chance to avenge last years 28-10 loss.

Texas - With the Big 12 South bound to come down to Texas and Oklahoma, the Longhorns may very well get the nod due to the all important QB position. With Oklahoma struggling to find a starter, there's no doubt in Texas as Colt McCoy returns with some very high expectations. Texas struggled on defense against the pass last year, but with the toughest divisional test likely coming against the Sooners, even just a slight improvement against the pass from a year ago may be enough to get it done in 2007. This team will win at least 10 games with the October 6th Oklahoma game more than likely deciding the South.

Oklahoma State - This is a very dangerous team that could very well upset the apple cart in the Big 12. One thing is certain. Oklahoma State can beat any team on their schedule. They proved as much last year by knocking off Nebraska and with the exception of only scoring 10 on Texas, they had no trouble putting the ball in the end zone against every other team they played last season. It will be more of the same this year as the offense remains intact. While the defense also remains intact, it's a defense that couldn't stop anyone last year and doesn't figure to stop many this year. But it won't matter. This team will be involved in some exciting shootouts this year and should be fun to watch. They'll no doubt pull a major upset or two and could have something to say when the dust clears in the Big 12.

Texas A&M - A&M was 6 points away from a perfect regular season last year. They lost by 4 to Texas Tech, and by one in consecutive weeks to both Oklahoma and Nebraska. Of course they then failed to show up for their Bowl game as Cal routed them 45-10, but this team left little doubt that it can play with anyone, and returns  several key players from a year ago. The problem with this years schedule is that all of their toughest tests will come on the road which figures to keep this team in the 8 win range this year. They could be an attractive dog this year though, as they figure to be able to stay with anyone on the dance card.

Texas Tech - Another team that due to it's high powered offense, it can be a threat to beat anyone it plays on any given day. There is room on the schedule for Tech to grab 7 wins, but it's how they do against A&M, Mizu, Okl St, Texas and Oklahoma that will decide whether the season is a success or not. With only two of those at home, we'll give Tech 7 or 8 wins and a December Bowl game.

Baylor - Next

 

To sum up - It looks like all the excitement in the Big 12 this season will be in the South division. Sure, you have Oklahoma and Texas, but every other team except Baylor also has the potential to make some noise and beat any other team on any given day. Not so in the North where you have much more mediocrity mixed in with a couple of teams with some major rebuilding to do. It's easy to pick the usual suspects here. If we had to go out on a limb with one team to watch it would probably be Oklahoma State as they look to be the most dangerous of the bunch. But in the South, anything can happen and probably will. Should be fun!

 

2007 BIG 12 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Thursday, August 30
Kent State at Iowa State

Saturday, September 1
Colorado vs. Colorado State (in Denver)
Central Michigan at Kansas
Kansas State at Auburn
Illinois vs. Missouri (in St. Louis)
Nevada at Nebraska
Baylor at TCU
North Texas at Oklahoma
Oklahoma State at Georgia
Arkansas State at Texas
Montana State at Texas A&M
Texas Tech at SMU

Saturday, September 8
Colorado at Arizona State
Northern Iowa at Iowa State
SE Louisiana at Kansas
San Jose State at Kansas State
Missouri at Ole Miss
Nebraska at Wake Forest
Rice at Baylor
Miami at Oklahoma
Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma State
TCU at Texas
Fresno State at Texas A&M
UTEP at Texas Tech

Friday, September 14
Oklahoma State at Troy

Saturday, September 15
Florida State at Colorado
Iowa at Iowa State
Toledo at Kansas
Missouri State at Kansas State
Western Michigan at Missouri
USC at Nebraska
Texas State at Baylor
Utah State at Oklahoma
UCF at Texas
UL Monroe at Texas A&M
Texas Tech at Rice

Thursday, September 20
Texas A&M at Miami

Friday, September 21
Oklahoma at Tulsa

Saturday, September 22
Miami University at Colorado
Iowa State at Toledo
FIU at Kansas
Illinois State at Missouri
Ball State at Nebraska
Baylor at Buffalo
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
Rice at Texas

Saturday, September 29
Oklahoma at Colorado
Iowa State at Nebraska
Kansas State at Texas
Baylor at Texas A&M
Sam Houston State at Oklahoma State
NW State at Texas Tech

Saturday, October 6
Colorado at Baylor
Iowa State at Texas Tech
Kansas at Kansas State
Nebraska at Missouri
Oklahoma vs. Texas
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M

Saturday, October 13
Colorado at Kansas State
Texas at Iowa State
Baylor at Kansas
Missouri at Oklahoma
Oklahoma State at Nebraska
Texas A&M at Texas Tech

Saturday, October 20
Kansas at Colorado
Oklahoma at Iowa State
Kansas State at Oklahoma State
Texas Tech at Missouri
Texas A&M at Nebraska
Texas at Baylor

Saturday, October 27
Colorado at Texas Tech
Iowa State at Missouri
Kansas at Texas A&M
Baylor at Kansas State
Nebraska at Texas
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Saturday, November 3
Missouri at Colorado
Kansas State at Iowa State
Nebraska at Kansas
Texas Tech at Baylor
Texas A&M at Oklahoma
Texas at Oklahoma State

Saturday, November 10
Colorado at Iowa State
Kansas at Oklahoma State
Kansas State at Nebraska
Texas A&M at Missouri
Baylor at Oklahoma
Texas Tech at Texas

Saturday, November 17
Iowa State at Kansas
Missouri at Kansas State (in Kansas City)
Oklahoma State at Baylor
Oklahoma at Texas Tech

Friday, November 23
Nebraska at Colorado
Texas at Texas A&M

Saturday, November 24
Missouri at Kansas (in Kansas City)
Kansas State at Fresno State

 

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