The Season To Be Jolly: 2009 Big XII Preview

Clint TalbottContributor IAugust 4, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 06:  The Oklahoma Sooners recieve the trophy as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Championship game against the Missouri Tigers on December 6, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

August is here and hell is receding from the Midwest. Soon, September will arrive. Across the plains and into the Rockies, we’ll all crack a brew and settle in for another magical season. Across Big XII country, heaven is an Autumn Saturday.

Heaven is a little closer in some areas of the conference than others. Iowa State, Kansas State, and Colorado in the north, as well as Texas A&M and Baylor in the south, will most likely be planted on this earthly plain. Meanwhile, Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State in the south and Nebraska and Kansas in the north are flying high.

Texas appears to still be playing with their freshman class of 1999. Exaggerations aside, there’s plenty of experience at some key positions. Their QB is more talented than the 2005 National Championship edition, but I’m not sure the team around him this year is. I think Stoops exacts revenge in that Red River bit this go round.

Oklahoma lost a lot on the offensive line over the offseason. This is a big deal considering OU’s offense relies heavily on the boys in the trenches. The D may be improved from last season, which should be enough to give the big boys on the line plenty of practice.

Nebraska just might wake up this season. If they do, it’s curtains for the rest of the north. If the coach can motivate the kids they have up there, the black shirts will look like the four horsemen rolling across the Great Plains.

The classic rivalry with Oklahoma comes to Memorial Stadium this go round. Oklahoma might come out of this one cut down to size.

Other important dates include a game at Virginia Tech, Missouri, and Kansas, while they have a home matchup with Texas Tech. This makes for one of the more uphill schedules in the conference. Look forward to seeing how this shakes out.

Texas Tech enters the season a little under appreciated by the masses. Understandably, they’ve lost arguably the greatest receiver in the NCAA last season as well as one of the most gifted quarterbacks.

The rest of the team is just a year more experienced and no one denies the projected starter at quarterback is more athletically gifted. On the bright side, at least he grows an awesome beard. It’s a tough road to success with games at Texas, Houston, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma.

Knowing more about the home team, I’ll make some predictions with the Raiders. I’m on the fence in most of these games but here it goes.

The game at Texas is a loss. I hope it isn’t, but the home team has won recently and Texas is just too good. Tech comes out of Houston in mighty fine shape.

The game at Nebraska should be a loss. I think Nebraska takes out some pent-up rage on the Big XII this season.

The game at Oklahoma State is up in the air. However, I’ll take OSU since they’re the home team but the homer in me picks Tech.

Finishing up, I think Tech upsets Oklahoma in Lubbock, another series that has gone to the home team recently.

Oklahoma State has the horses to outscore anybody. I’m not sure they can hold anybody out of the end zone yet either.

If they string together some defensive stops in key situations and the dice rolls their way, they could be well into the BCS. If they pull it off, T. Boone should be the first one with his hands on the trophy. Seriously, that guy is rebuilding the university.

Kansas has experience and a winning attitude at the signal caller position. They also thin in the middle of the defense.

Mangino is expected to adjust by basing out of the 4-2-5. It remains to be seen how that shakes out. Their key games are at Colorado, Texas and Texas Tech, along with home games against Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri, with an emphasis on Missouri and Colorado.

Missouri is a bit of an unknown to me. They lost a lot of players over the offseason, but it’s not like Pinkel hasn’t been recruiting the past few seasons.

I’m sure they’ll field a contender in the north. The games to watch are against Nebraska, Texas and Kansas, along with an away game against Oklahoma State. The Kansas and Nebraska games are key matchups for them.

Colorado probably won’t make much noise but if they do, they’ll have to get through West Virginia, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska. I think this giant sleeps another year.

Baylor needs to keep their foot on the Aggies' throat. I don’t think they leapfrog any other south teams this season. They’ve got games against the entire Big XII South, along with road games at Missouri and Wake Forest.

Texas A&M will most likely disappoint again this season. On the upside, the expectations are lowering.

I really don’t know what to say about these guys. They just don’t win lately. I fear their return to greatness, but they keep falling further.

Kansas State and Iowa State may have a losing record, even if you combine their wins and only took losses from one team. Both are rebuilding from teams that haven’t done much in recent history.

I think Nebraska or Texas will come out on top in the end. It promises to be a fun ride. Crack a brew and settle in for the season.