The media types have the Sooners and the Cornhuskers playing in Dallas in December, and as a Husker myself I'd love to see it, but there is a lot of football to play before then. So what do you say we take a look at a few games each week that could completely change the Big 12 outlook.
Week 1: Here we are looking at 4 maybe 5 big games, the first game that has all the hype is the game in Stillwater Ok. The Georgia Bulldogs come to town looking for some new offensive star power, and with what should be a roudy sellout at Boone Pickens stadium, the Cowboys come away with a close win at home. Next is Baylor and a chance to start a dream season rite out of the gate, as well as a lil payback, when they visit Wake Forest. I look for Wake to be the favorite in this game but the Bears go home to Waco with the win, thanks to Robert Griffin. The other two games are two big chances for the Mountain West, with the Lobos of NM heading to college station and OU hosting BYU in Cowboys staduim. Any win by the MWC this season against a "power conference" will be heard from the mountains of the west all the way to capital hill, a NM win is big but if Hall and BYU can pull off the huge upset of the mighty Sooners it may mean a more rapid change to the BCS system( can't come soon enough). The other possible big game would be Mizzou at Illinio, a big win for either team is needed to get the season off on the right foot. The MWC has one more shot to make the news on Sunday when Colorado and Colorado State meet.
Week 2: Not many games that jump off the paper at you this week. I see a lil more amo for the "smaller conferences" here if we can see a upset or two, with high flying Houston heading to Stillwater, the Owl's of Rice leave the city and head to the panhandle for a game with Texas Tech, but the biggest game could be at the Sun Bowl when KU goes for a trip to the dessert. Lets start by saying there could very easily be over 300 combined points in these 3 games. I see the Cowboys riding high after a week one victory and pull off a close one over the Cougars. Then there's the game between rebuilding Tech team against a rebuilding Rice team, and with Tech looking at Texas the following week, its a good chance for the Owl's to fly off with a big upset. The other game is pivitol for the Big 12 North, as the north contender Jayhawks take on UTEP, expect a lot of points and don't be surprised if the Hawks lose some tail feathers and watch thier season head into a slight tail spin(not saying they'll lose).
Week 3: There's at least 2 possibly 3 games here worth looking into. I'm going to start this week with a big prediciton with Nebraska pulling off the upset in Blacksburg, with tough D, and a new-found vertical game, Bo will have the Big Red in the right mind set to deal with the crowd. Nebraska goes back to Lincoln with its first big win since OU 2001. Texas gets its revenge against the Red Raiders, as does Baylor as they host UConn, who won at home last year. The Owl's of Rice head north yet again, this time to Stillwater, with not as much luck.
Week 4: Week 4 kicks off on a friday with Mizzou hosting hall of fame coach Chris Ault, O'Brien award prostpect Colin Kaepernick, and a team hungry to push Boise State for the WAC Championship. If the wolfpack can out run the tigers, and with a huge match-up with Nebraska around the corner, I see a very good chance at an upset here for the Wolfpack. The only other game here i see being a problem for the Big 12 is when Texas Tech comes out of the sticks and heads into Houston to take on the cougars. The Cougars win by 2 touchdowns with Keenan at the helm. Souther Miss heads to Lawrence but the Jayhawks will have enough fire power to win that one by a decent margain. Oh yeah then there's that lil thing in Lincoln...300 straight sell-outs, in all aspects of social gatherings its just unheard of.
Week 5: We start on a Thursday this week with CU trying to make strides as they travel to West Virginia, and if I was a Buff fan(I'm not) I wouldn't hold my breath on this one, but all the Big 12 will be pulling for you. This game looks to me to hinges on where the buffs are at in their development, and where they are sitting going into Big 12 play. OU does make a trip down to FL to take on Miami, OU wins by 3 TD's.
Now that we have made our way through the "preseason", here's my prediction as far as records goes, we'll start with the north: Nebraska comes in 4-0, Missouri 3-1, Kansas also coming in at 3-1, Colorado should be happy if they end up 2-2, same with Kansas State and Iowa State as one team will be coming into week 6 with 2 wins, and one win for the other. The south should be in much better shape: Texas and OSU both come in 4-0, followed by OU and Baylor with 3-1 marks, then I see Texas Tech winning 2 of 4(one loss to Texas) and A&M will be lucky to be 1-3. As we get into Big 12 play we will take a lil longe look at the games each week.
Week 6: Aside from a couple games the official start of Big 12 play begins Oct. 8th when Nebraska looks for some redemption against the Tigers. This game is a huge game for Pinkel and the boys, they have had a good run against Nebraska lately but they did the same thing back in the 40's and 50's I do beleive. Well let them talk thier smack, as they still lack class, but Bo brings a new look defense with Suh in the middle look for Gabbert to have a long day, and the Big Red to control the clock and head home with a 10 point win. Baylor heads up to Norman where the sooners defense will contain Griffin and send the Bears back to Texas with a big loss. Colorado makes one of the longest treks in the Big 12 as they head to Austin to play the Horns. Texas has bout everything to win this game but if CU can control the horns in the trenches and run the ball they could give a big boost to the north to start the season, Texas by 10. KU, Texas Tech, and OSU all pick up wins in the first full week of Big 12 play.
Week 7: Lets start this week with a north battle that could have big impications on the remainder of the year, when Colorado host Kansas. The offensive firepower obviously goes to KU but once again if Hawkins has his head on straight CU will control the clock with a sound running game, and a above average defense makes a couple stops as CU pulls the upset. We turn our attention to the south and the red river rivalry. So much hype around this game every year, all I'm going to say is OU wins with a deeper more athletic defense, even with Texas's chip on their shoulders. Nebraska gets redemption against the Red Raiders at home. Baylor, OSU, and KSU also get wins in week 2 of Big 12 play.
Week 8: Not really any games that jump out me this week so I'm just gonna say how i think it will play out, Texas over Missouri, Nebraska blows past the Cyclones, Baylor upsets the Cowboys, the Sooners roll past the Jayhawks on the road, Colorado and Tech also find wins.
Week 9: Week 9 brings up a couple big inter-division games. Lets start in the south with Texas at Oklahoma State, both teams come into this game with at least one loss apiece. Mac Brown has his team back on track and they pull together to keep their Big 12 chances alive. CU host the Jayhawks in a big north game, KU gets the win in what I see to be a shoot-out. Nebraska is able to slow Griffin down with a athletic front seven and improve to 8-0 as they prepare for their game at home with the Sooners. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa State also pick up wins.
Week 10: Texas heads out of conference to take on UCF in what should be a big win for them. As for the Big 12 play, well its a undefeated Nebraska taking on a top 10 but one possibly 2 loss Sooner team, playing at home Nebraska should pull out another big win in a defensive battle(17-10). Colorado, Baylor, and Kansas also pick up wins as we head down the stretch.
So with 3 weeks left in the regular season lets look at how the teams stand at this point, the north: Nebraska 9-0, Kansas 6-3, Colorado 5-4, Missouri 4-5, Kansas State 2-7, and Iowa State 1-8. The south wil be without a loss free team, as I see Oklahoma State leading the way at 8-1, Texas 8-1, Baylor 6-2, Oklahoma 6-2, Tech 2-7, and A&M 1-8. I know pretty wild huh?
Now we get to crunch time in the Big 12 with Nebraska on a roll in the north and the south shaping up to be mess again, we can only hope we end up with that OU-Nebraska game in Dallas. Things aren't looking all that great for OU, and Nebraska still has to go to Lawrence Ks.
Week 11: The north will be a lot clearer after this weeks game when Kansas host the Cornhusker. With a new found deep attack and a consistant rushing game the Huskers should come out of this game and find themselve on their way to Dallas, Nebraska by 17. The only other game that stands out here is Texas at Baylor, with wat still is and outside shot at the Big 12 title game Baylor brings all they have but fall short. Texas looks like they are ready to down the road to the new Cowboys stadium. Colorado, Oklahoma Stat, Oklahoma, and Missouri all get wins this week.
Week 12: I'm just going to list the winners this week as there shouldn't be anything crazy this week; OSU takes down the Buffs, Texas beats Kansas at home. Nebraska and Missouri both pick up wins at home while Baylor and OU go on the road for their wins.
Weeks 13: Thanksgiving day is the classic between Texas and Texas A&M, Texas wins big at College station and the Aggies look for a new coach. Next its the friday after thanksgiving game between Colorado and Nebraska. Last year Colorado was playing for a bowl birth, this year it will be about knocking off the Big Red at home, and ruining Bo's first perfect season. This game will be determined by which team can slow the other teams running game, but at the same time Nebraska has much more as far as ability to stretch the feild. Nebraska should head back to Lincoln with a perfect record, and begin preparing for the Big 12 championship game with a one loss south team(Texas as they beat OSU head to head). The saturday games have the Bedlem game in Oklahoma, I like OU to take down the Cowboys after what is a disappionting season. Baylor takes out Tech and makes that bowl game they were shooting for. Finally in the border war, Missouri wins behind a big game against the KU rush defense with over 300 yards rushing as a team.
Big 12 title game: Nebraska looks to remains undefeated (12-0)and Texas (11-1) will look to spiol the party and allow a one loss team into the big game(I refuse to say championship game till there's a playoff). Nebraska pulls off the win with Defense and takes on Florida in the big game.
Now your all probably thinking I'm crazy right now, so let me explain my thoughts. This whole article comes down to what made Nebraska great for so long, Coaching!!! Missouri bings in 2 new coordinators, Kansas is implementing a new defense(4-2-5 always has holes against the run), Colorado lacks a big playmaker on the edge, and Kansas State and Iowa State bring in all new staffs. Nebraksa gets an upgrade in talent at QB which if Lee was coming out high school he'd be great, since he's only thrown 2 1-A passes the pundits are saying it will hurt the huskers this year. The thing that we seam to forget is a guy by the name of Shawn Watson, the best offensie coordinator in the country, who's done more with much less (Joel Klat). Other talk has been how the Huskers are breaking in all new recievers, to that i say, last year also they said the same thing and the Huskers ended the season the the top 20 in passing yet again. I'll get more into that as I preview the Big 12 top to bottom.
When it comes to the South its basically a toss up, but with a new offensive line and young wide outs I just don't see OU getting back to the title game( hell they shouldn't have been there last year). I picked Texas to make it but it very well could be the Cowboys from Stillwater, it all hinges on defense, and with Young at OSU they have as good a shot as anybody to win the south. Oh yeah they get Texas at home too.