because of a natural aversion to writing, researching, and pretty much any kind of deadline,i've been forced to squeeze an off-season's worth of analysis and prediction into two posts.
the Big XII North, in no particular order...
Since the heralded arrival of Bill Callahan and his new fangled west-coast offense, Nebraska fans have been wandering in the desert, surviving on mana (a.k.a - the North as of late), waiting for Callahan to return them to the BCS promised land. Yet, there is hope, and it comes in the form of a rugged senior quarterback named Zac Taylor.
Taylor, sacked a staggering 38 times in 2005 (Nebraska was 105th in sacks allowed), remained calm and unwaivering as he dropped back to pass throughout the season. His leadership in the double-OT victory over Iowa State as well as in the Huskers victory over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl was inspiring. It is his ability to lead his teammates coupled with a toughness rarely found in the QB position that leads the state of Nebraska (as well as ESPN) to revere him as their probable football savior.
Unfortunately, it will take more than the spirited leadership of a senior quarterback to lead the Husker nation through their brutal guantlet of a schedule to salvation, and talented support on the offensive side of the ball will be lacking. The Huskers lose their starting tailback from their 107th ranked rushing offense, in addition to only returning C Kurt Mann from the offensive line that allowed 82 tackles for loss (-342 yds) in 2005. Although Taylor will have quality passing targets in So WR Nate Swift and Jr WR Terrence Nunn, without a significant running threat to defend against, opposing defenses will only need to drop back into coverage to negate Taylor's aerial threat.
The blackshirts should have less to worry about than the offense. With a healthy and deep LB corps, as well as an experienced Secondary returning, the only unknown is whether or not the interior line can reload. Expect the blackshirts to reload with no problem, and to carry this team in 2006.
projected # of wins: 7
the Buffs are entering uncharted territory with new head coach Dan Hawkins. Expectations for Hawkins' first season are, naturally, not very high. Returning talent and difficulty(ease) of schedule are critical factors for success in a rebuilding/transition season such as this, and the Buffs won't be receiving much help in either category.
The offense returns 3 experienced upperclassmen to anchor the OL, as well as Jr RB Hugh Charles. Yet, the combination of an untested QB and an untested receiving corps could prove disastrous. Oh, and let's not forget the inevitable confusion and miscues that come with the first season of a brand new offensive scheme.
The Colorado defense, which ranked 11th(NCAA) against the run last season returns a solid nucleus of LBs in Jr Jordon Dizon and Sr Thaddaeus Washington. The secondary, on the other hand, is much more suspect. With the pass-heavy teams on CU's schedule (Arizona State, Missouri, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Iowa State) the Buffs could find themselves in dire straits.
projected # of wins: 4
The 7-5 (4-4) Mizzou team that overcame a 21-pt lead to win the Independence Bowl last season was young and relatively inexperienced. In 2006, the Tigers return 8 starters on Offense and 7 on Defense...(it's ok, I had to re-read it and pick up my jaw too). Is there anything that could prevent these now fully grown Tigers from romping in the Big XII North?
Yes. Although the offense returns 8, including 4 Linemen, there will be one glaring void: Brad Smith. With Brad Smith gone, so is Mizzou's explosive running game. Defenses will no longer need to spy the QB, alleviating past coverage problems when faced with Mizzou's very talented receiving corps and pair of TE's.
The defense returns almost its entire interior unit with the exception of WLB. Although the secondary will be breaking in new talent, look for the experienced D-Line and LBs to compensate with increased pressure on opposing QBs.
If the preceding potential weaknesses can be adressed early, Mizzou could very well find itself in Kansas City on Dec. 2 playing for the Big XII Championship.
projected # of wins: 8
Will the demise of the Bill Snyder era signal the demise of the Kansas State program? It all depends on whether the Prince turns out to be a Machiavelli, or an Artist Formerly Known As.
Coach Prince has brought with him a healthy dose of NFL level coaching and playbook. The new offensive coordinator, fresh from Green Bay, is expected to institute a hefty portion of West Coast. The new DC, from Tampa Bay, is bringing with him the Bucs' vaunted Cover 2. The question is, not only will there be enough time for the players to learn and perfect their execution of the new schemes, but will the new systems even be able to compensate for the pitiful performance of 2005. The Wildcat's favorable schedule says...it's possible. 6 of their first 7 games are played home, giving K-State plenty of time to adopt the new systems and develop the necessary confidence before facing division foes: Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa State.
projected # of wins: 4
With Vince Young, Brad Smith, and Reggie McNeal gone, the Big XII quarterback on everyone's lips will be Jr Brett Meyer. With 9 starters returning on offense, expect Meyer and the Cyclone offense to retain their status as one of the top offenses in the conference.
Although the defensive line lost two all-conference players, the defense as a whole will continue to dominate, especially in of the most obscure, yet critical statistical categories: Turnovers Gained. In 2005, the Cyclones led the conference with 35 turnovers gained, 22 of which were INTs(!!).
Unfortunately, the Schedule Gods have not smiled on Iowa State this year. The Cyclones face a brutal schedule this season: @ Iowa, @ Texas, @ Oklahoma, Texas Tech. If the Cyclones can stay healthy, only Nebraska and Missouri stand in between them and a date with Arrowhead Stadium in december.
predicted # of wins: 8
"3 and Out" was often the theme for the Jayhawks last season, on both Defense AND Offense. So far, the theme for 2006 seems to be "role reversal". This year, it'll be KU's defense that will be the weak link. The Jayhawks only return 3 starters on defense; DT James McClinton, CB Aqib Talib, SS Jerome Kemp. The defense will have to quickly compensate for a lack of experience if they want to retain their rank as #1 against the run in the Big XII again this year.
The Jayhawks return 7 on offense, 4 of which are offensive lineman. Lead by Outland Trophy watch list-er, Sr David Ochoa, the line should prove to be an experienced and consistent base for coach Mark Mangino to build the offense upon. Under center this season will be the 6'3" 210lb redshirt freshman, Kerry Meier. In the Spring game, Meier proved himself to be a talented passer and explosive athlete out the pocket. The combination of a consistent QB in Meier, and an experienced offensive line should prove to be a potent one for Sr RB Jon Cornish. If he can stay healthy, look for Cornish to flirt with 1,000 yds this season. The only question mark for the Jayhawk offense is the lack of experience and depth in the receiving corps.
Their schedule is a little bit of good news and a little bit of bad. The absence of such South powers as Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech will provide a significant boost to the season. Yet, the Jayhawks will face a rather rough road schedule with Toledo, Nebraska, and Iowa State all on the road.
predicted # of wins: 6
Two Minute Drill: the South, coming tomorrow
a countdown and review of the yells: 12-8
12. Kyle Field
Although I respect the motivation for bringing it back (the reinforcement of pride in Kyle Field), it's little more than a 1st grade spelling bee with 80,000 participants who are not using their six-inch voices.
[Hand Sign: Point down at the field with one hand, while waving the other.]
11. Horse Laugh
used when we really respectfully disagree with a ref's call. Don't get me wrong, I love the "Ssss.." and how we never boo, but "Chiffity Chiffity Chif-Chaff!" just doesn't really seem to convey my anger properly.
[Hand Sign: Hands with fingers straight are held palms together, and then hands move back and forth in a pointing motion]
Riffety, riffety, riff-raff!
Chiffity, chiffity, chiff-chaff!
Let's give 'em a horse laugh:
10. Fifteen For Team
does anyone know when we yell this other than at Yell Practice?
[edit: i'm an idiot, it's one of the many things we do after scoring.]
[Hand Sign: 15 fingers are shown, followed by a "T" motion similar to a "time out" signal]
Rah! Rah! Rah! Team!
It's not that it's a bad yell, it's just that it sucks when we use this yell because it means we were scored on.
[Hand Sign: Hands form a "T", like a "time out" symbol]
Team! Team! Team!
8. Fifteen for Team , Farmers Fight, Call it a Night
It gets props for combining two yells, but the hand sign is the hardest damn thing to master. This will be my 4th season as a student, and I STILL can't do it right. Also, I'm pretty sure we only do it at the end of Midnight Yell or a victorious night game.
[Hand Sign: 15 fingers are shown, followed by a "T" motion similar to a "time out" signal; Closed fists rotating around each other in alternating directions; Hands clapped together, brought to right side of head in a "sleeping" motion]
Rah! Rah! Rah! Team!
Farmers, farmers fight!
7-4 cont'd tomorrow
Posted by Brad @ 6:00 PM
now that summer school is over and i'm back from a relaxing weekend in Orange Beach, Alabama..
..i promise i will finish previewing the other 11 schools.
a couple of changes to the format:
- i won't predict the W/L of each team's schedule, i'll save that for an overall conference prediction post.
- expect much less optimism and more statistical evidence, as i have recently discovered and spent hours perusing the NCAA's 2005 Div. I Football Stats page.
expect atleast one later tonight.
Posted by Brad @ 4:41 PM
original thread: here
aggiegrant06 (posted 1:30a, 1/30/2006):
I ill try to be as discrete as possible, because i din't want to implicate someone and then get sued. My girlfriend works in the office of a large dealership where we live. She has only been there about a month, and she was dealing with handing out payroll checks. She didn't recognize several of the names, and asked her boss. Her boos told her that she would take care of them, and that it was no big deal. She thought it was fishy and asked me....the checks were made out to football players of the local University, and even though they had never actually been to work there, they were recieving HUGE!!!! pay checks. On top of this a player was in buying a car recently, and when she say the finance stuff, he had only paid about 1/100th of the sticker price. Is this legal?
...of course, nobody believed him. after being accused of being a bored liar he had this to say:
aggiegrant06 (posted 2:27a, 1/30/2006):
I am not lying, and I am not bull****ting. The school is OU, and the specific player is Bomar.
3 hours later, Mods locked the thread and it gathered dust in the forum archives...until 8/03/06.
"TexAgs - We know stuff" ..we just might not realize it
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P.S. - if you're an investigator for the NCAA or a journalist for a major newspaper in the Big XII region, i found the identity of aggiegrant06 and his g/f who worked at Big Red Sports & Imports. i take payment in the form of cash, paypal, and guarantees of OU's decline.
-- Update 8/08 --
Stewart Mandel of SI.com reports on the TexAgs posting
With the news of OU's dismissal of Bomar and Quinn, surely Longhorn fans everywhere are gloating and riding high on the sadness of their Sooner buddies and co-workers ("Ohhh, the tears of unfathomable sadness, mmm, yummy… yummy you guys!"). It is with more of a spirit of hatred for Texas than pity for OU, that i bring you these gems:
1) that is most certainly NOT how we do it in Texas
2) i'll take a photoshopped truck in a lake over that guy anyday of the week
Mack Brown cameo in the sure to be short-lived TV series based on the movie, Friday Night Ligths. It's like he's not even acting. Here's hoping my first YouTube upload stays up for awhile before either NBC has it pulled for copyright issues or the Longhorn blogosphere petitions YouTube to have it pulled in order to preserve their fearless leader's non-Krzyzewski-like (sellout/whore) image.
as reported by the AP tuesday night and announced by OU wednesday, starting QB Rhett Bomar was permanently booted from the Sooners football team for collecting unearned funds from his booster-owned employer. According to ESPN's Joe Schad:
Bomar apparently filed for 40-hour work weeks at a Norman, Okla., auto dealership, making up to $18,000, when he only worked 5 hours a week,
His employer? Norman, OK's Big Red Sports & Imports. Sound familiar? it should. Big Red Sports & Imports is the same dealership at the center of Adrian Peterson's SUVquasi-scandal. Not only did Big Red Sports & Imports employ Sooner athletes, it was also the official supplier of cars for OU Athletics Coaches and Staff.
although Oklahoma University (emphasis on the University...not the Athletic Dept.) should be commended for initiating and completing a thorough investigation, it is more than obvious that there was (is?) a culture of shady benefits institutionalized in OU's football program. Many will commend Stoops for the tough decision of dismissing Bomar (and his roommate J.D. Quinn) possibly sacrificing a season that was all but assured a BCS berth before the first snap. Yet, tonight in Norman and all over the state of Oklahoma, there will be people praying that the NCAA gods are satisfied with their holocaust and will spare Norman the same fate as Sodom, Gomorrah, Tuscaloosa, and Dallas.
the race for the Big XII south is now wide open. i can't think of a time when there was such parity between the top 4. (and yes, A&M is included in the top 4...jackasses)
- - update: 8/03 - -
i just had to post these farks: