This is sort of a more cheery writeup than last year. And hopefully more accurate, because I think we included Kansas among the Big 12's "dreg" teams. Big oops! The league is deeper this year, but we've managed to identify the likely bottom feeders of the bunch. College football carp, if you will.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES
|Woo hoo, 12th man !!! Woo hoo !!! Reveille !!! Crotch grabbers woo hoo !!! Better make the noise now because this season and the entire Mike Sherman regime could be a disaster. Let me explain.|
Texas A&M has found a way to get some decent talent to College Station, but will likely never approach the depth of talent you find within this conference at Oklahoma and Texas and to a lesser extent Nebraska. Luckily it's college football so there is a second option: innovate. Run the option (which they did last year), run the spread, run unusual defensive looks (which they also did), and so forth. Basically do anything to be different and chances are you'll overachieve.
But Sherman appears to have decided to go with a pro style offense which is conventional and happens to have shackled once great offensive powerhouses like Miami and USC. Not good.
Maybe I'm wrong but between the transition pains and the already drab offense, I see trouble on the horizon and quick. The Big 12 is resurgent thanks to an army of crazy offenses taking over, right at a time Texas A&M has taken a step backwards.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
|If it's possible for a competitive D-I program to be more reliant upon junior college players than Kansas State was in the Bill Snyder era, Ron Prince has has found a way at the same school. Nowhere is that more obvious than this year's recruits, 19 of whom are from the JUCO ranks. This isn't a football team, it's a mercenary squad.|
Among players of the four year variety, junior quarterback Josh Freeman is the big ticket player. He's a two year starter with an NFL body but hasn't quite put it all together yet and was accused of eating too many cheeseburgers around this time last year.
These cats found a way to be competitive with Auburn and completely dominate Texas last year, but consistency is the mark of elite teams and that is something we've yet to see out of KSU.
|Well, give them credit for trying. Baylor's made a move in this offensive era of football, replacing coach Guy Morriss with offense-happy Art Briles, formerly of Houston.|
Baylor should now have an exciting scheme to help put more points on the board and lure a few more recruits to play for them. Problem is, the existing talent isn't much to write about and struggles this year will likely be a down payment on what should soon be a credible offense and more wins.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
|Um, well, uh, they've got a new quarterback? Bret Meyer was an interesting player with nice athletic ability, but sometimes a roster change at a big position reveals new and interesting possibilities. At least that's the hope in Ames this year.|
Defensive minded coach Gene Chizik is entering his 2nd year at Iowa State and it's unclear yet nationally how much progress he's made. The offensive and defensive numbers were almost identical to 2006, but its reasonable to assume things wouldn't turn around right away especially with a more conventional style.
Phil Steele says they'll be more competitive, but gains will most likely be made through the run game with receiver Todd Blythe and tight end Ben Barkema gone.
If all else fails, maybe the new uniforms with a similar color combination to USC's will work its magic. Nahhhhh.