Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Preseason Outlook: Big "12"

The Big 12 has started to crumple with the losses of powerhouses Colorado and Nebraska for the upcoming season but that hasn't stopped them from having a highly anticipated season in 2011. The Big 12 will produce some of the best offense in the nation with elite quarterbacks and the two best wide receivers in the country but defense will be the game changer. I take quick look at the Big 12.

1. Oklahoma: Sooner fans have been excited for the upcoming season since January 11th and they are less than a month away from seeing Bob Stoops and the boys take the field as the preseason #1. The last team to win the nation title after being the preseason favorite was USC in 2004 but Oklahoma looks to stay ontop all season long and bring a title back to Norman in January. The Sooner offense should be one of the best in the nation with Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles on the roster. The defense took a huge blow recently with the loss of star LB and Big 12 defense player of the year favorite, Travis Lewis, to a broken toe injury. Even with the loss of Lewis for 6-8 weeks the Sooner defense should still be an improvement over last season's unit.

2. Texas A&M: The Aggies return 18 starters from a team that finished in the top 20 last season, most starters returning in the Big 12. Cyrus Gray and Christine Micheal will surprise many and they could represent the best running back tandem in College Football while proven winner,Ryan Tannehill, will be under center (6-1). The defense will try to bounce back after the loss of All American Von Miller to the draft and leading tackler Micheal Hodges.
Nation's best Receiver Justin Blackmon

3. Oklahoma St: QB Brandon Weeden, soon to be 28, will lead one of the best passing offenses in College Football and his number one option will be the best receiver in College Football and Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon. The two connected 111 times for over 1700 yards and 20 touchdowns last year and they look to improve on that stat in 2011. RB Joesph Randle looks to fill in for 1500 yard rusher Kendall Hunter. The defense will be led by CB Brodrick Brown and Big 12 defensive freshman of the year Shaun Lewis.

4. Texas: Mack Brown is still in the rebuilding process but this year it should result in a bowl game for Longhorn fans. The Longhorns return 13 starters and have talent in every position because of Top 10 recruiting classes year after year. Texas loses their long time defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to Florida but defense should still be the focus in 2011. The offense is still developing with an inexperienced line, an unproven quarterback in Garrett Gilbert, and an incoming freshman likely to start at running back.

5. Missouri: The Tigers dont have the elite receiver like Oklahoma and Oklahoma St but overall it should be a better receiver core. 1,000 yard receiver T.J. Moe, Elite TE Michael Egnew, and young receivers Wes Kamp and Jerrell Jackson are exactly what a young quarterback needs. The Tigers lost two players to the first round of the draft but should still have a winning team in Columbia.

Michael Egnew caught 90 passes last season and comes in
to the season as one of the best Tight End is College Football
6. Baylor: Robert Griffin III helped end a 15 year bowl drought for the Bears and he returns as one of the elite dual threat quarterbacks in College Football. Griffin's five best receivers return to field but they will need to make up for the loss of Jay Finely at running back. The defense gave up 435 yards a game last season and if the Bears want to improve on their 7-6 season in 2011 that number will have to drop.

7. Kansas St: This upcoming season is all about transfers for the Wildcats. Brothers Bryce and Arthur Brown lead the strong transfer list. RB Bryce comes from Tennessee and was the #1 overall recruit in the 2009 class while LB Arthur comes from Miami and looks to start right away for a defense that struggled in 2010. Chris Harper (Oregon) and Brodrick Smith (Minnesota) will be two new targets for quarterback Collin Klein. The struggle for this upcoming season will be improving the front seven, who gave gave up the most rushing yards in the NCAA last season (3,008). If the Wildcats improve their defense and the offense gets rolling then we should see another bowl appearance in 2011.

8. Texas Tech: Tommy Tuberville enters his second season at command of the Red Raiders but its not looking like a promising season with only 11 starters returning, lowest in Big 12. Tech loses star quarterback Taylor Potts, leading rusher Baron Batch and their top two receivers but they have an fairly easy first 8 games. Junior Seth Dodge will come into a pass happy offense buy their defense must improve dramatically for this team to succeed in 2011.

9. Iowa St: The Cyclones lost their two best playmakers, QB Austen Arnaud and RB Alexander Robinson and depth remains an issue but there is still optimisium for the upcoming season. Most of the key players from a solid defense last season return, led by linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. If the offense can hold its own then we could see the Cyclones back in a bowl game.

Malcolm Brown will be the workhorse
in the Longhorn backfield
10. Kansas: The Kansas football program has gone severely downhill since their Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech in 2007. The quarterback situation will probably fall in the hands of part time starter last season, sophomore Jordan Webb, and the Jayhawks have two good young players at running back in sophomore James Sims and transfer Darrian Miller. Many key players on the team are young unproven players so I would say that the program is still a year or two away from another bowl appearance.

Preseason Awards
Player of the Year: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St

Defensive Player of the Year: Jake Knott, LB, Iowa St

Coach of the Year: Mike Sherman, Texas A&M

Freshman of the Year: Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas

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1 comment:

  1. Re-Check your KSU section. Chris Harper and Broderick Smith do not play QB for Kansas State.