2009 CFN Big 12 Team Capsules

Iowa State QB Austen Arnaud

2009 CFN Big 12 Predictions and Team-by-Team Thumbnail Views

2009 CFN Big 12 Preview

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- Colorado | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State | Missouri | Nebraska

- Baylor | Oklahoma | Oklahoma State | Texas | Texas A&M | Texas Tech

- 2009 CFN Big 12 Preview
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CFN 2009 Big 12 Championship Prediction: Oklahoma over Missouri


1. Missouri | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 10-2   Conf. Record: 7-1
Best Offensive Player: RB Derrick Washington, Jr.
Best Defensive Player: LB Sean Weatherspoon,, Sr.
Offense: It might seem like new offensive coordinator David Yost was handed an empty bag with the loss of Chase Daniel, receivers Jeremy Maclin and Tommy Saunders, and Mackey Award tight end Chase Coffman. As tough as it might be to lose the stars, the passing game has the potential to be more dangerous, in time, with new quarterback Blaine Gabbert having a far better deep arm than Daniel to push the ball deeper. Derrick Washington and De'Vion Moore are special backs who should be fantastic behind one of the Big 12's best lines Three starters return up front, and one of the new ones, tackle Dan Hoch, could turn out to be the best of the lot. The receiving corps needs to get healthy, but there's plenty of speed, size, and upside. No, the O isn't going to finish fourth in the nation, sixth in scoring and eighth in yards, but it's going to be awfully good.
Defense: After a rough year, allowing 412 yards per game, with most of them coming through the air, the defense has to hope that all the good athleticism and speed recruited over the last few years will pay off with big season. Only four starters return, but the cupboard is hardly bare with Sean Weatherspoon one of the nation's best linebackers to work around, and tackle Jaron Baston a good leader who should dominate at times. The secondary did a whole bunch of nothing last season, so replacing three starters isn't that big a deal. There is an upgrade at corner with Kevin Rutland appearing to be ready to become fantastic, while Kenji Jackson could turn out to have a better free safety than the much-heralded William Moore did. The line has to find pass rushers, but there are plenty of good options to choose from with Aldon Smith, Brian Coulter, and Jacquies Smith all appearing to be ready to shine.

T2. Kansas | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 9-3   Conf. Record: 5-3
Best Offensive Player: QB Todd Reesing, Sr.
Best Defensive Player: SS Darrell Stuckey, Sr.
Offense: The offense wasn't as consistent, efficient, or as effective as it was in 2008, but it still finished 21st in the nation averaging 432 yards per game thanks to Todd Reesing and a passing game that averaged 306 yards per game. Reesing returns and should put up even better numbers than last year when he set school records in completion percentage (67%) and yards 3,888 yards thanks to his receivers. Dezmon Briscoe is becoming a special talent while Kerry Meier is a NFL caliber H-Back who'll catch 90 passes. The problem is the O line that struggled last year and now has to replace the interior. The tackles will be fine, but there has to be a push for the running game and better overall pass protection. It'll be running back by committee with Jake Sharp getting the first look, but with Jocques Crawford looking to be the main man early on.
Defense: The defense got picked clean by the good offenses, and was fine against the mediocre ones. Unfortunately, KU had to take the best shots from all the top Big 12 offenses and struggled against the pass. Even so, compared to the rest of the league, the D wasn't all that bad. Now the defense will have promise up front, issues at linebacker, and good potential in the secondary. Darrell Stuckey is an all-star safety to build around and Daymond Patterson is a good-looking young corner, but there will be a battle for the other two spots. Jake Lapted is an elite pass rusher who'll need the rest of the line to take some of the heat off by getting into the backfield. At the very least the defensive front, led by Caleb Blakesley, should be good against the run. And then there's the linebacking corps that loses 288 tackles of production with James Holt, Joe Mortensen, and Mike Rivera gone. There's excellent athleticism and quickness stepping in, but there's nowhere near the size of last year's trio.

T2. Nebraska | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 8-4   Conf. Record: 5-3
Best Offensive Player: TE Mike McNeill, Jr.
Best Defensive Player: DT Ndamukong Suh, Sr.
Offense: The offense finished 15th in the country with a good group of players, but there weren't many superstars and they are replaceable. At least that's the hope for the Huskers. The line will undergo some shuffling, but there's plenty of talent and plenty of versatile blockers to create a decent front that should be solid after a few games of work. Zac Lee appears to be a more than capable of replacing Joe Ganz and be a quarterback to work around for the next few years, but he needs receivers. The one big problem area is the loss of Nate Swift and Todd Peterson, who combined for 125 of the team's catches, but Lee will have a tremendous group of tight ends to throw to, led by Mike McNeill. Roy Helu and Quentin Castille form a nice 1-2 rushing punch that should be serviceable. There might not be a slew of All-Big 12 performers across the board, but the numbers should be impressive once again.
Defense: The defense improved by leaps and bounds allowing 350 yards per game, after giving up 477 yards per game in 2007, and was far, far more physical and far better. It wasn't a brick wall of a defense thanks to playing in the Big 12, but it was good enough to finish second in the league and now should be even better. The line is the strength by far with tackle Ndamukong Suh and end Pierre Allen sure to be on All-Big 12 teams. The veteran linebackers are mediocre, but there's young talent waiting to play big roles and upgrade the corps. The secondary will get plenty of help from a line that should hit quarterbacks early and often, and now there needs to be more production. The corners have to come up with more big plays while the safeties have to do more than just tackle. The Pelini brothers, head coach Bo and defensive coordinator Carl, will have this group flying around and being disruptive again, and their D will only keep getting better.

4. Colorado | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 7-5   Conf. Record: 4-4
Best Offensive Player: RB Darrell Scott, Soph.
Best Defensive Player: CB Jimmy Smith, Jr.
Offense: There was a fun offensive party going on in the Big 12 last season and Colorado didn't get the invite. While it was generally acknowledged that the O needed a year of seasoning, finishing last in the league in total offense and scoring offense still stunk. Worst of all, the Buffs were last in passing efficiency. There won't be too much of an improvement in the passing game unless a slew of new recruits can shine right away, but QB Cody Hawkins is a promising veteran who should be more consistent. The running game should be far better with an improved, deep line that should pound away for, arguably, the Big 12's best stable of backs. Darrell Scott appears to be ready to be the superstar everyone was hoping he'd be as the team's top recruit last year, while Rodney Stewart, Demetrius Sumler, and Brian Lockridge can all carry the load. For the passing game to improve, the line has to be far better keeping the quarterbacks upright and the receivers have to be far more explosive.
Defense: There will be plenty of switching around in styles as the season goes on with the D starting out running a 4-3 but likely playing mostly a 3-4. The strength of the defense is at linebacker with six good options to go along with a nice-looking secondary. The Buffs gave up 215 passing yards per game, but that was good enough to finish first in the Big 12. The line has potential with Marquez Herrod a strong pass-rushing option, but the tackles aren't big and will need to be a part of a constant rotation. Overall, the defense won't be bad by any stretch, the back seven, or eight, will make sure of that. However, this isn't a big-play group and it'll have problems with its consistency.

5. Kansas State | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 5-7   Conf. Record: 2-6
Best Offensive Player: WR Brandon Banks, Sr.
Best Defensive Player:  CB Josh Moore, Jr.
Offense: It might not be the old days of Michael Bishop or Darren Sproles and Ell Roberson, but Kansas State will be looking to throw less and run more. The pieces might not be there to do exactly what Bill Snyder would like, but the old coaching staff left a ton of very fast receivers, quick running backs, and a not-that-bad line. The problem is the departure of Josh Freeman, who left early to make millions in the NFL. The offense relied on his talents a bit too much, and now it'll be up to Carson Coffman to hold down the starting quarterback job and be a steadying force. There are big bombers waiting in the wings, and JUCO transfer Daniel Thomas to run like Snyder would like, but Coffman will get the early call ... maybe. The depth chart is written in pencil with lots of tinkering to be done on the line and with the starting spots in the backfield up for grabs.
Defense: The switch to the 3-4 alignment didn't work, and the addition of a bazillion JUCO transfers didn't help. Co-defensive coordinators Vic Koenning and Chris Cosh will switch things up to a 4-2-5 alignment to combat the spread and the high-octane Big 12 passing attacks. There are some positive stars to get excited about like Brandon Harold at one end and Virginia transfer at tackle, while Josh Moore is one of the best tackling, best all-around corners in the Big 12. However, the run defense was lousy last year and needs far more production out of the linebackers, who put up stats but didn't do enough to make big plays. The secondary has lots of live bodies, but there will be an open casting call for defenders to play next to Moore and Tysyn Hartman.

6. Iowa State | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 3-9   Conf. Record: 0-8
Best Offensive Player: QB Austen Arnaud, Jr.
Best Defensive Player: CB Leonard Johnson, Soph.
Offense: New offensive coordinator Tom Herman will bring in the spread attack that helped make Rice an offensive juggernaut over the last few years. That means the tight ends should shine, and there are two good ones in Collin Franklin and Derrick Catlett, and it means the quarterbacks will do some bombing away. Austen Arnaud is a promising passer, who got better as last year went on, but speedy Jerome Tiller will get his chances. The receiving corps returns everyone of note but R. J. Sumrall, who led the team last year, while the running backs are better with Florida transfer Bo Williams and Jeremiah Schwartz bringing more power to the equation. And then there's the line. It's full of veterans and there are several options to play around with, but going from a man to a zone blocking scheme is going to take a little while. Staying healthy up front, something that didn't happen last year, will be the key.
Defense: Last year's defense took its lumps in a big way throwing several young players to the wolves. On the plus side, this is now a veteran group with good depth all across the board and with the potential to do far more index the new coaching staff. Step one for the nation's 112th ranked defense is to find some semblance of a pass rush. There might not be a ton of talent on the front seven, but there will be more shooting of the gaps and lots more aggressiveness across the board. The secondary might be the team's most talented area, and after getting bombed on last season, it should be better now that there should be more help from the front four.


T1. Oklahoma | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 11-1 Conf. Record: 7-1
Best Offensive Player: QB Sam Bradford, Jr.
Best Defensive Player: DT Gerald McCoy, Jr.
Offense: The numbers were too good to be for real. Once the machine started to roll, it was unstoppable with four games with 600 yards or more of total offense, ten games with 500 or more, and five straight games with 60 points or more to close out the regular season. Lost in the national title loss to Florida, and the loss to Texas, was that the offense moved the ball well and the attack actually worked. There's not going to be a whole bunch of tinkering to the formula in Kevin Wilson's attack with Heisman winner Sam Bradford returning as the triggerman and with speed and talent to burn both in the backfield and the receiving corps. The return of tight end Jermaine Gresham gives Bradford a go-to guy, while the receivers will be more than fine with Ryan Broyles leading the way and with the expected emergence of Adron Tennell. The rushing tandem of Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray is among the best in the country, and they'll have a big line to work behind. Trent Williams is the only starter up front, but the line has decent potential. No, the numbers might not be as strong as they were last year, mainly because the line won't be as strong, but this should still be a statistical juggernaut.
Defense: The defense will never get the spotlight like the high-octane offense, but there are areas that are just as strong as anything on the other side of the ball. The defensive line might be the strength of the team with too many great pass rushers to get on the field at the same time, and they're all going to work around tackle Gerald McCoy, who could start in the NFL right now. With the return of Ryan Reynolds in the middle, the linebacking corps is loaded helped by Travis Lewis, who made 144 tackles, and Keenan Clayton on the outside. The secondary isn't going to be a rock, but it'll get a ton of help from one of the nation's best pass rushes and has great potential with corners Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson good ones to rely on. The depth is lacking in the back seven, but there are great athletes across the board. On the flip side, the line is loaded with a second team good enough to start almost anywhere else.

T1. Oklahoma State | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 10-2   Conf. Record: 7-1
Best Offensive Player: WR Dez Bryant, Jr.
Best Defensive Player: FB Andre Sexton, Sr.
Offense: After finishing seventh in the nation in total offense two years ago, the OSU offensive machine was even better finishing sixth in the country averaging 488 yards and 41 points per game. Possibly the nation's most balanced and efficient attack, there are four superstars to build around in QB Zac Robinson, WR Dez Bryant, OT Russell Okung, and RB Kendall Hunter, with Bryant and Hunter likely to be among the top ten players taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. There's a little work to be done on a line that was dominant throughout last year, but there are good options at guard. A No. 2 receiver has to emerge and the dream season would likely go kaput if Robinson got hurt, but there's depth across the board and the talent is in place for the offense to be even more special.
Defense: With defensive coordinator taking off to take over the Toledo job, it'll be up to Bill Young to take all the athleticism and all the potential and improve on the situation. The first step is to generate some sort of a pass rush, especially from the ends, and while there are some good options to work with, it remains to be seen if there's any one play for quarterbacks to worry about. The linebackers will be the strength of the defense by far with starters Andre Sexton, Orie Lemon, and Patrick Lavine forming a sure-tackling trio that should be able to do more if the line is a bit better. The secondary can hit but coverage is a problem. The return of safety Lucien Antoine from a knee injury will be a plus, but the corners have to be more consistent.

3. Texas | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 9-3 Conf. Record: 5-3
Best Offensive Player: QB Colt McCoy, Sr.
Best Defensive Player: DE/LB Sergio Kindle, Sr.
Offense: The offense wasn't very flashy, and the running production wasn't always there, but the attack was ruthlessly efficient and very, very productive finishing ninth in the nation in yards and fifth in offense. The Longhorns only scored fewer than 30 points twice, against Oklahoma State and Ohio State. Colt McCoy returns after a tremendous season; he should be able to make everyone around him better. That's not to say there isn't talent all across the board, but the key is the all-around depth and steadiness. The line returns four starters, and now it needs to do more for an underwhelming corps of running backs that didn't do enough. The receiving corps has the potential to be fantastic with Jordan Shipley back to be the steady leader of a fantastic group of young targets. And then there's McCoy. The Heisman finalist did a little of everything for the offense last year, and now he has a more experienced, more talented group around him.
Defense: With defensive coordinator Will Muschamp sticking around and secured for the future, signed up to take over for Mack Brown as the head coach in the succession plan, the defense should continue to be fantastic after finishing third in the nation against the run, first in sacks, and fifth in scoring D. However, there are a few issues. The defensive tackles are a bit questionable, even with Lamarr Houston moving to the nose, and the secondary doesn't make enough big plays. However, the production will be there thanks to the aggressive scheme, a great pass rush, and tremendous athleticism and speed all across the board. The lighter schedule will help the overall stats, and it'll give the defense time to fill in the holes and figure out the right fits for the right spots. Is Sergio Kindle really going to take over for Brian Orakpo on the end, or is he going to spend most of his time back at linebacker? Who will emerge as the starters at corner in a four-man race for two positions? Most teams could only dream about having the "problems" Texas is facing.

4. Texas Tech | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 7-5   Conf. Record: 3-5
Best Offensive Player: QB Taylor Potts, Jr.
Best Defensive Player: LB Brian Duncan, Jr.
Offense: There will be the inevitable drop-off after losing a quarterback the caliber of Graham Harrell and an all-timer of a receiver in Michael Crabtree, but Tech will still have one of the nation's top passing offenses, it'll still put up a bazillion points, and it'll still be good enough to rise up and beat anyone on a given day. Taylor Potts is a more talented quarterback than Harrell with a bigger arm and better pro upside, but he has to be far, far better than he was this offseason. Head coach Mike Leach praised Potts throughout spring ball, but the consistency wasn't always there. The receiving corps will be more than fine despite the loss of Crabtree, and the backfield is loaded, by Texas Tech rushing standards, with three very quick, very good backs in Baron Batch, Harrison Jeffers, and Aaron Crawford. There will be question marks on the line with several new starters in the mix, but it's a big line that should be solid with a little bit of time. It won't be as good as last year's line, but it'll be fine.
Defense: It's all relative. The overall defensive numbers might have stunk, but no one in the Big 12 could play any defense and opposing offenses had to up their firepower and their overall game in a desperate attempt to keep up with the Red Raider offense. This year's defense won't fall off the map, but it won't be as good hurt mostly by the problems on the end. McKinner Dixon is out of the mix because he didn't get to class, while Brandon Williams took off early for the NFL. The line will struggle against the run and could have problems generating a steady pass rush, but the linebacking corps should help pick up the slack with a great trio in Brian Duncan, Marlon Williams, and Bront Bird to work around. Safety is a big problem after losing Darcel McBath and Daniel Charbonnet, but this is a lightning fast secondary with Jamar Wall leading a promising group of corners.

5. Texas A&M | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 5-7 Conf. Record: 2-6
Best Offensive Player: WR Jeff Fuller, Soph.
Best Defensive Player: DE Von Miller, Jr.
Offense: The passing game bombed away because it had to, but last year might have been a positive step forward to get the passing game on track sooner. It was trial by fire, and QB Jerrod Johnson wasn't bad thanks to the emergence of first-year stars Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller. Tannehill will push for the starting quarterback job, he's that good, but could end up back at receiver, while Fuller has the talent to be every bit as good as the rest of the star Big 12 wideouts. The running backs are quick and talented, helped by the addition of superstar recruit, Christine Michael. But it all comes down to the line that was arguably the worst among the BCS teams, needs to get healthy in a hurry and needs to find the right combination.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Joe Kines wanted to generate more pressure, come up with more sacks, and create a more aggressive defense. However, with no talent to work with, the Aggie defense was awful, even by Big 12 standards, finishing last in the league in scoring D, allowing 37.4 points per game, and 114th in the nation in total defense. The big problem was a line that did absolutely nothing, but that should change with the move of linebacker Von Miller to a hybrid end position called the Jack. The line needs the backup tackles to shine to provide a bit of beef to a front four that was shoved around all over the place. The linebackers are suspect and need several true freshmen to play key roles, but the secondary will help the cause with safeties Jordan Pugh and Trent Hunter strong enough to clean up a lot of messes.

6. Baylor | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record: 4-8 Conf. Record: 1-7
Best Offensive Player: QB Robert Griffin, Soph.
Best Defensive Player: LB Joe Pawelek, Sr.
Offense: Robert Griffin, Robert Griffin, Robert Griffin. Not since Michael Vick took Virginia Tech from good to special has one player completely changed a program around. Griffin, one of the fastest players to ever play quarterback, will get to throw more, will still run, and will still be the smart leader who'll be the focal point of the offense. He has a ton of speed and athleticism around him with Kendall Wright leading a fast, experienced receiving corps and Jay Finley a good back who averaged 5.8 yards per carry. The line will be fine, but it will hardly be special after losing tackles Jason Smith and Dan Gay. With Griffin a year older, and smart enough to handle anything thrown his way, the offense will open it up a bit more with more emphasis on the passing game to go along with the speedy running attack. Griffin will make more mistakes and he'll throw more picks, after throwing three last year, but he'll also come up with more big passing plays.
Defense: The change to the 4-3 alignment from the 4-2-5 proved to be a major positive, even if it didn't seem that way on the stat sheet. Considering how good the Big 12 offenses were last year, especially in the South, finishing seventh in the league against the run and sixth against the pass, even if the Bears were 103rd in the nation in pass defense, showed how much things really did change. This year there should be an even bigger jump in production with nine starters returning including two of the Big 12's best defensive players in LB Joe Pawelek and FS Jordan Lake. Throw in the addition of Penn State transfer Phil Taylor at tackle and the Bears are rock-solid up the middle. Even though there are some major positives, especially at linebacker, there are some big holes and huge concerns. There needs to be more of a pass rush and more plays in the backfield, and the cornerback play has to be far more consistent. However, even with the issues, the defense should be better than it's been in years.

- 2009 CFN Big 12 Preview
- 2009 CFN All-Big 12 Team & Top 30 Players
- 2009 CFN Big 12 Team Capsules
- 2009 Big 12 Schedules & CFN Picks
- 2009 Big 12 Unit Rankings
- 2008 CFN Big 12 Preview 


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