It's late July, Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner. Everyone is doing their preseason awards, so I figure I'd join in as well. I'm breaking down my Big 12 thoughts into four parts as we count down to Big 12 Media Days. Part One discusses power rankings, projected standings, and projected bowl berths. Part Two will go up tomorrow, and dive a little more in depth of Part One by going through the schedules by teams (so you can see how I arrived at the final conclusions). In Part Three I will unveil my Clone Chronicles Preseason All-Big 12 Team, and other award winners. Part 4 I will provide a list of fearless predictions, along with updating my Top 25 Preseason Team. Check back between today and Monday
The "official" Clone Chronicles Preseason Big 12 Power Rankings:
- Texas A&M
- Texas Tech
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- Oklahoma State
A couple of quick notes here: Texas Tech is really hard to pinpoint, because I have no idea how Tuberville is going to handle the talent he has on the team. I've also heard of a USC player or two wanting to transfer fo CU, because they could do so without having to sit out. If CU is able to pick up a couple of impact guys, they could catapult up a little. I think in general 6-10 could be ordered however you want. I'm also not huge on Baylor like everyone else seems to be, and I think people are overrating Kansas to no end for this year. Remember, this is based on power as in who would beat who, no so much on how I think the standings will end (which is on the next page)
The "official" Clone Chronicles Projected Big 12 Final Standings:
Big 12 North:
- Nebraska (9-3 overall, 6-2 in conference)
- Missouri (9-3 overall, 5-3 in conference)
- Colorado (8-4 overall, 5-3 in conference)
- K-State (6-6 overall, 3-5 in conference)
- Iowa State (4-8 overall, 2-6 in conference)
- Kansas (2-10 overall, 0-8 in conference)
In short, Nebraska and Missouri return a lot and are the two best teams. I could actually see Missouri winning the North if Nebraska's offense does not improve. I don't think you can be an elite team without solid QB play, and I'm not 100% sold on Nebraska's defense being better despite losing one of the greatest linemen to ever play at the college level. Crick is going to be the guy double teamed all the time now instead of Suh, so we'll see.
I know some on here might think of me as hating on the team or being negative. What I worry about is that run of Utah, @Oklahoma, and @Texas to really knock a lot out of this team. I have ISU beating Texas Tech and Kansas in the conference schedule, and I think beating CU is a possible as well. We have to admit beating Nebraska was flukey and Missouri is returning a lot, and they were already ahead of us. I think we're equal to K-State talent-wise, but they don't have to play both Texas and Oklahoma. Maybe ISU can get another special win or two this season, but we are going to have to see.
Last year, I had ISU going 6-6 and back to a bowl game, and was ridiculed pretty hard by both ISU and non-ISU fans as being too optimistic. This year, I'm sure ISU fans will think I'm being pessimistic, and non-ISU fans will think I'm still being too optimistic. In my heart, I want ISU to do better than this, but it's hard to see until we watch how we look the first couple of games.
Big 12 South:
- Oklahoma (12-0 overall, 8-0 in conference)
- Texas A&M (10-2 overall, 7-1 in conference)
- Texas (10-2 overall, 6-2 in conference)
- Texas Tech (7-5 overall, 4-4 in conference)
- Oklahoma State (5-7 overall, 3-5 in conference)
- Baylor (4-8 overall, 1-7 in conference)
I'm obviously big on Oklahoma. I thought last year they were too good to be just an 8 win team, despite all of the injuries. This year most of that team is back, and while the O-Line and QB struggled at times, the experience of last year is going to help them a lot, as they return 4 guys on the O-Line, and have an experience receiving corps. They have some key spots to replace on the D-Line and at LB, but I think they will be just fine, and will finally beat Texas in the quasi-Big 12 South championship game.
Texas' QB is more of a pro-style QB, and I've heard they will have to swtich up the playbook to tailor the talent they have. I also know that nobody is too big on their running backs as well. I know it's Texas and they reload, but even powerhouses have "down" years to an extent.
With Texas Tech, they are switching everything, and I could see them going 4-8 or 5-7 as well if there are growing pains with a new offense and defense. The personnel on this team was built to outscore you 42-35, and Tubberville isn't exactly an offensive kind of a guy. It's probably one of the most interesting stories of the year.
I'm also big on A&M, but I figure this: they have a potentially elite QB in Jerrod Johnson, and they've been pulling in Top 25 recruiting classes each of the last 3 years. It has to eventually work out for them, or they'll be making a coaching change in College Station.
The "official" Clone Chronicles Projected Big 12 Bowl Berths:
In order of bowl selection order (which has been revised from last year):
- BCS Championship - Oklahoma
- Cotton Bowl - Texas vs. SEC
- Alamo Bowl - Texas A&M vs. Pac-10
- Insight - Nebraska vs. Big 10
- Holiday - Colorado vs. Pac-10
- Texas - Texas Tech vs. Big 10
- New Era Pinstripe - Kansas State vs. Big East
I don't think the Big 12 gets anyone to the Fiesta Bowl (unless Texas has only 1 loss), and I think the Dallas Football Classic will be open as well. I put Nebraska at the Insight and CU in the Holiday Bowl because those are against future conference opponents for those teams.
This concludes Part One in the series. Tomorrow, we'll go more in depth on the schedule, where I show you which games I think each team will win and lose, and why.