Oklahoma State (6-6, 3-5) – The Cowboys don’t look to influence the conference any, but they do have one of the more intriguing out of conference schedules. They face a Georgia team on the first week of the season which should be challenging for the SEC crown. At the end of September, they take on Div. 1AA Sam Houston, and former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar, who was dismissed from the team last season because of extra benefits he received. The Cowboys also face what should be a tough Troy team on September 14th. Look for that one to be closer than you would expect.
Baylor (2-10, 0-8) – You can’t return only 4 starters on offense and hope to compete in the Big XII. One win will come against a Div. 1AA team and the other will be against Rice. Don’t look for anything special after the 3rd week of the season.
Big XII North:
Nebraska (10-2, 7-1) – The Cornhuskers don’t return the wealth of talent that you would like but Bill Callahan is developing the former powerhouse back into something special. With new quarterback Sam Keller, this will be an interesting team to watch, as we know that Keller has an arm from his time at Arizona State. The offensive line is huge and should protect him well. The question will be the defense and if they can stop the run. I only project a single loss in the league to Texas, and what will likely be a crushing defeat by USC. Otherwise, Nebraska should be able to handle their division and get back to the title game in the conference for the second year in a row.
Missouri (9-3, 5-3) – Last year’s surprise team in the Big XII won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this year. Chase Daniel is back for his junior season, and a second year at the helm should help him in the pocket and allow him to improve on his shocking numbers from last season. The team loses a chunk of defense including the core of the linebackers and a big piece of their defensive backfield. In a league with so many quarterbacks returning, that could leave them vulnerable. They will have to count on the offense improving over what was a very impressive last season to have any shot of competing for the conference title.
Kansas State (8-4, 5-3) – The Wildcats could surprise this season and were one of the hardest teams to read based on the numbers and their returnees. I see a close loss to Texas and two losses late to Nebraska and Missouri which keep them out of the lead in the North.