This article is intended for all my fans who may not be as proficient with the Big 12 schools as I, but may still want to keep an observational eye on the conference.
Every week, for your assistance, I will provide you with a rundown off the conference, a weekely update, if you will.
This is intended to be a convinient way for you to keep up to date with the petty details of the Big 12. Who's playing well, who's not, who's playing who, any important facts you should know about the teams (injuries, other side notes), important games to watch, players to look out for, etc..
Also, since this is my first year doing this, feel free to give me advice or input on how I can best service you with the information you need, something I may want to add in my report, anything at all, just let me know.
This is for you guys.
I know, come season time, we tend to focus on our own teams and conferences, and it's hard to be as in tuned with what's going on outside of the realm of our respective leagues.
So, without further ado, here is my inaugural weekly Big 12 Rundown:
7. Texas Tech
10. Texas A&M
11. Kansas St.
12. Iowa st.
Games to watch:
1. (9)Oklahoma St. vs. (13)Georgia – Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK. 3:30 pm, ABC
This is being billed as the biggest home game in Oklahoma State history.
Win, and OSU gains instant credibility; nationally and within the conference as a team that poses a serious threat to the traditional Big 12 South powers (Texas and Oklahoma) and as a team that could contend for the Big 12 crown and crash the BCS party.
Oklahoma State comes into the game with their highest preseason ranking in school history, raising expectations in Stillwater to their highest level ever.
Georgia comes into the game with high hopes of their own, and would like nothing more than to chop down a highly touted Big 12 opponent, and continue the trend of SEC dominance.
Keys to the game:
For OSU the gameplan should be to play to their strengths.
OSU comes into the season as one of the most prolific offenses in the country. Coach Gundy should focus on getting the ball into his playmakers' hands, players such as Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant.
Conversely, for Georgia to win, the Bulldogs will have to find a way to contain Dez Bryant.
OSU comes into the season without a receiver who caught more than 10 passes, other than their All-American stud. If Georgia can contain Bryant, win the line of scrimmage, and run the ball effectively, I give the Dawgs an excellent chance to win.
Players to watch:
For Oklahoma State the players to watch will be QB Zac Robinson, WR Dez Bryant, RB Kendall Hunter, and LB Orie Lemon.
For Georgia look out for QB Joe Cox, WR A.J. Greene, and SS Reshaud Jones.
Georgia secondary vs. Dez Bryant
OSU OL vs. Georgia DL
OSU secondary vs. A.J. Greene
This should be a fun game to watch, lot’s of offense and tons of scoring should take place. At the end of the day, I think OSU will ride the crowd and ride their offense on the way to the win.
OSU 35 – Georgia 31.
2) (3)Oklahoma vs. (20)BYU, Cowboy Stadium, Arlington, TX. 7:00 PM, ESPN
In the first college football game at Cowboy Stadium, OU will square off against the 20th ranked Cougars in a contest that pairs two outstanding QBs against each other.
For OU, the reigning Heisman trophy winner, Sam Bradford, lines up opposite Max Hall of BYU.
Both teams are capable of putting up gaudy offensive numbers. However, OU is much more proficient on defense and this unit is capable of finishing the year in the top five statistically.
Players to watch:
BYU – QB Max Hall, RB Harvey Unga, TE Dennis Pitta
OU – QB Sam Bradford, WR Ronny Broyles, DT Gerald McCoy
In order for BYU to have a chance in this game they are going to have to protect Hall up front.
OU has one of the best defensive line's in the nation and BYU is returning just one offensive lineman from a year ago.
OU is similar to BYU in this regard, they too have just one experienced starter on the line from a year ago.
BYU plays a 3-4 scheme and has an athletic group of linebackers, so that will be an interesting subplot to watch.
OU has too much on defense for BYU to realistically have a shot at winning. I expect them to control the line of scrimmage and shut down the high flying Cougar attack.
OU 42 – BYU 21.
3) Illinois vs. Missouri, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO. 3:40 PM ESPN
The Tigers will look like a completely different team than the one they fielded a year ago.
Gone will be QB Chase Daniel, WR Jeremy Maclin, TE Chase Coffman, as well as all but four starters on defense (which may not be a bad thing).
Illinois and the Fighting Zookers return 16 starters from a talented, but underacheiving 2008 squad.
Juice Williams and Arrellious Benn are back and many have the Illini penciled in as their dark horse in the Big 10.
Players to watch:
Missouri – QB Blaine Gabbert, RB Derrick Washington, LB Sean Weatherspoon.
Illinois – QB Juice Williams, WR Arrellious Benn, LB Martez Wilson.
With the top receiving threats gone, and a new QB under center, Missouri must be effective running the ball to have a realistic shot at upsetting the Illini.
If they cannot get 1,000 yard rusher Derrick Washington going, placing the burden on Gabbert for most of their offensive production, it could spell disaster for Mizzou.
Illinois, conversely, must contain Washington, and force Gabbert to defeat them through the air.
The combination of Juice Williams and Arrellious Benn should be on full display in this game.
Missouri was 2nd to last in the entire FBS in pass defense a year ago. Couple that with their inexperience and I expect the Illini to win comfortably.
Illinois 38 – Missouri 24
2nd Tier Games
1) Colorado vs. Colorado st., Folsom Field, Boulder, CO. 7:00 PM, FSN
Colorado and Colorado St. have traditionally played one of the more exciting games of the early part of the season.
Each year, this game goes down to the wire, is decided on the last possession of the game, and has been lots of fun for both sides.
Colorado comes into the year expecting to compete for the Big 12 North crown.
CSU has reason to be optimistic as well, as they are coming off a 7-6 season and return quite a few players from 2008.
Players to watch:
CU – RB’s Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart, LB’s Jeff Smart, Shaun Moeler.
CSU – WR’s RaShaun Greer and T.J. Borcky
Keys to the game:
Both teams will look to control the line of scrimmage.
CU and CSU both return their entire offensive lines from a year ago and will devise their attack on being physical up front.
Whoever controls this battle should win the game.
Both teams have issues on defense, but CU may have the best running back duo in the Big 12 in Darrell Scott and Stewart.
I expect both of these guys to have big days and carry the Buffs to victory in another hard fought game between these two programs.
CU 24 – CSU 21.
Other Notable Games:
1) Baylor @ Wake Forest
Robert Griffin and the Buffs travel to Winston Salem in game one of their bowl quest. Wake forest will be down this year, expect Baylor to roll. Big day by griffin
2) Texas A&M vs. New Mexico
The Aggies still have a way to go to be competitive on a consistent basis in the big 12 south, if NM comes to play the Aggies could find themselves in a dogfight late.
3) Nebraska vs. Florida Atlantic
Florida Atlantic has a history of playing Big 12 opponents tough. Perhaps they can make a game out of this one as well..
Read about it in the paper:
1) Iowa St. vs. North Dakota St.
ISU one of the worst teams in the big 12, who is NDST…I have no idea?
2) Texas vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Unless you’re a Texas fan, not to much as far as entertainment value here. Expect the starters to play a half or so
3) Texas Tech vs. North Dakota
Again who is North Dakota?
4) Kansas St. vs. UMass
Don’t know much about UMass…Kansas State won’t be very good however, so perhaps UMass can make a game out of this.
5) Kansas vs. Northern Colorado
Todd Reesing should have a field day, not much intriguing about this one folks.