Handicapping The Big 12 North

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Handicapping The Big 12 North

For years now, the power that lies within the Big 12 has often resided in the South.

Traditionally, a host of North Division pretenders has dueled it out atop a perch of mediocrity, only to await an annual slaughter in the championship game on behalf of Oklahoma or Texas.

Nebraska ruled the North division during the conference's infancy days of 1996-'97.

Then came the reign of Bill Snyder and his turn-of-the-century Kansas State Wildcats.

A few years later, Colorado captured the limelight, nabbing four division titles in five seasons.

Now, it appears that the stranglehold belongs to Missouri, winner of the last two Big 12 North crowns.

Even Kansas has joined the parade with its co-ownership of the 2007 title.

But 2009 is shaping up to be one of the more interesting toss-ups the division has ever seen. As many as three or four teams have a legitimate shot to earn the right to play for the conference championship in December, but the logjam that is sure to emerge at the top of the Big 12 North come season's end is not due to a group of overwhelming world-beaters.

Instead, the parity that defines the division is the direct result of the fact that no one team is better than all the others.

Kansas and Nebraska, everyone's preseason favorites, have each shown vulnerabilities, and Missouri's youth and inexperience are just two roadblocks lining the Tigers' pursuit of another title.

Meanwhile, teams like Colorado, Kansas State, and Iowa State appear mired in the cellar, but that's not to say they don't have the firepower to knock any one of the divisional favorites off its course.

Given the wide-open nature of the Big 12 North, it would only be customary to gives reasons as to why each team will come out on top. But what fun would that be?

Rather, I'd prefer to examine why each of the six teams in the division won't be good enough to get their rear ends kicked by Oklahoma or Texas.

(Note: To avoid angry comments implying I'm some sort of idiot, I have decided to list teams alphabetically, not in predicted order in terms of standing within the division at season's end.)

Photos: Associated Press

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