Big 12 Media Preseason Poll
All-Big 12 Preseason Team
Last year's preseason forecast came within one victory of the exact record of three teams in the Big 12 Conference, and it missed on five other teams by just two wins. It correctly tabbed Nebraska to win the north but missed on its pick for Texas to claim the south.
The computer thought Texas and USC would repeat their 2005 BCS
title game matchup, but the Longhorns stumbled down the stretch with losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M in their final two regular season games. Texas finished 10-3 with a 26-24 win over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.
USC was poised to play for the title before falling to arch-rival UCLA on the final week of the regular season, 13-9. They blew past Michigan 32-18 in the Rose Bowl to finish 11-2.
For the first time since 2000, the computer doesn't pick a Big
12 team to make it to the BCS finale, but two of the usual suspects - Oklahoma and Texas - are certainly in the mix. Over a five-year period from 2001-2005, either Oklahoma or Texas played in the national title game four times and each school came away with one trophy.
This year, the Sooners land in 3rd in the projected final CCR
Top 119 with an undefeated record and they are the slightest of favorites to (-0.18) beat rival Texas. That would reverse the trend of the last two years that have seen the Longhorns haul off victories of 45-12 and 28-10. Of course, Texas would like to win a few more in-a-row. Especially after Oklahoma dominated the Longhorns for five straight seasons from 2000-2004.
Last year, Oklahoma overcame that defeat to win the Big 12 title for the fourth time since 2000. Oddly enough, each of those titles came in an even-numbered year. The odd-numbered years have witnessed conference championships by Colorado (2001), Kansas State (2003), and Texas (2005).
Since the Big 12's formation, eleven championship games have
been held. The south has won seven of those, and six have gone to Texas (2) or Oklahoma (4).
The south's domination is expected to continue this year. The
best example is Missouri. The Tigers are the No. 2 pick in the north but they enter the season with a power rating that is lower than each of the top five teams in the south. The north's No. 1 pick, Nebraska, is more than seven power points behind the top two teams in the south.
Over-all, the computer sees the conference producing nine bowl-eligible teams.
Texas A&M is a team that, everyone seems to agree, could
make some noise. The Aggies were just 9 points away from an unbeaten regular season in 2006, and they snapped a six-game losing streak to Texas. Still, the computer's 8-4 forecast for Texas A&M doesn't leave much room for improvement. All but one forecasted loss (at Miami by 1.51) is by more than six points, and two of the projected wins (at Texas Tech, at Missouri) are by fewer than two points.
Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Kansas State are also expected to
obtain the six victories necessary to receive a bowl invitation.
Colorado, Baylor and Iowa State are given little chance to even compete for such accolades.
Colorado is in its second-season of rebuilding the program under Dan Hawkins. We ridiculed the computer's 5-7 prediction for Colorado in 2006 as we expected Hawkins to work a minor miracle. Instead, the season gave stark evidence as to how far the program had fallen at the end of Gary Barnett's trouble-ridden tenure. Now the Buffs are slapped with a forecast that repeats last year's 2-10 debacle and includes a third consecutive loss to Baylor (+0.10). The only time Colorado is favored in a Big 12 game is
when it visits Iowa State (-1.82) on November 10.
Baylor is also picked to go 2-10, and the squeaker over Colorado is its only foreseen conference win. Guy Morriss is 15-31 in his first four seasons at the Waco school which hasn't produced a winning season since 1995, and hasn't gone bowling since 1994.
Iowa State is the only school in the conference that enters the 2007 campaign with a new head coach. Gene Chzik was the defensive coordinator for Texas the past two seasons, and served in that same capacity for Auburn from 2002-2004. Dan McCartney coached Iowa State to a split of its final two games after resigning on November 8, 2006. The Cyclones finished 4-8, and McCarney ended his coaching career in Ames with a record of 56-85 in 12 season. Iowa State went 22 years without a bowl appearance, including their first five seasons under McCarney. But the Cyclones went to five bowl games in McCarney's last seven years.