We've taken a look at Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri--here's a preview of what to expect from the other Big 12 football programs.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are picked as the preseason number one in the country by some media outlets and are the consensus pick to win the Big 12. Key returnees: Landry Jones, QB; Ryan Broyles, WR; Frank Alexander, DE. Schedule: Key games are September 17 at Florida State, September 24 at Missouri, the Red River Shootout against Texas on October 8, Texas A&M at home on November 5, and the season finale against Oklahoma State, in Stillwater, on December 3.
Texas A&M: In what will be their last season in the Big 12, look for the Aggies to finish second to OU. Key returnees: Ryan Tannehill, QB; Trent Hunter, FS; Cyrus Gray, RB. Schedule: The Aggies get Oklahoma State and Missouri at home along with Baylor and Texas. Key road games are at Texas Tech, October 8, and at Oklahoma, November 5. A&M plays Arkansas in Cowboys Stadium on October 1, a preview of a renewed rivalry with the Razorbacks once the Aggies make their move to the SEC.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys return key players from last year’s third-ranked offense nationwide. Key returnees: Brandon Weeden, QB; Justin Blackmon, WR; Shaun Lewis, LB. Schedule: OSU had no road losses last season but have to go on the road this year to Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Texas Tech. The toughest non-conference game will be at home against Arizona.
Texas: Oh, how the mighty fell and are now trying to get back up. The preseason pubs are skeptical about Texas but I have a hunch that they may sneak into the conference’s top four teams. Key returnees: Emmanuel Acho, LB; Garrett Gilbert, QB; Mike Davis, WR. Schedule: The key game is week two against BYU at home. The Longhorns need that win before heading west to play UCLA in Los Angeles. In the league, UT faces OSU, Kansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State at home—all winnable games.
Texas Tech: Tommy Tuberville brought in a top 20 recruiting class to Lubbock and has had a year to install his system and way of coaching. Key returnees: Lonnie Edwards, LG; Eric Stephens, RB; Delvon Simmons, DT, the highest-rated recruit ever to sign with the Red Raiders. Schedule: Last year, Tech went 1-5 against its former Big 12 South foes. This year, Texas Tech plays A&M, KSU, OSU and Iowa State at home and journeys to Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The game against Baylor on November 26 will be played at Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Baylor: Baylor went bowling in 2010 and it tasted good—they expect to duplicate that feat in 2011 with a program which has crept back to respectability. And, head coach Art Briles brought in a new defensive coordinator—Phil Bennett, who formerly had been a DC under Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Key returnees: Robert Griffin III, QB; Kendall Wright, WR; Elliott Coffey, LB. Schedule: Talk about a tough opener—Baylor starts off with TCU before two automatic W’s against Stephen F. Austin and Rice. In the league, their winnable games are on the road or at a neutral site—at Kansas State, at Kansas and Texas Tech in Arlington. Iowa State is at home.
Iowa State: It’ll be tough for Iowa State to get to a bowl with the round-robin schedule of the new Big 12 coupled with tough non-conference games. Head coach Paul Rhoads said, “If we don’t have the toughest schedule in the conference, we have one of the top two or three.” Key returnees: Leonard Johnson, CB; Jake Knott, LB; Darius Reynolds, WR. Schedule: Yep, it’s tough—Northern Iowa and Iowa at home followed by Connecticut on the road. In the league, ISU gets Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State at home, as well as Kansas—a key game if ISU has any hopes of a .500 season.