McCoy, Suh Lead All-Big 12 Awards

  • Thursday, December 3, 2009 5:47 PM
  • Written By: Jonathan Crowl

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2009 ALL-BIG 12 FOOTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Coach of the Year Mack Brown, Texas

Offensive Lineman of the Year Russell Okung, Oklahoma State

Defensive Lineman of the Year Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska

Offensive Freshman of the Year Christine Michael, Texas A&M

Defensive Freshman of the Year Aldon Smith, Missouri

Special Teams Player of the Year Brandon Banks, Kansas State

Defensive Newcomer of the Year David Sims, Iowa State

Offensive Newcomer of the Year Daniel Thomas, Kansas State

Defensive Player of the Year Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska

Offensive Player of the Year Colt McCoy, Texas

2009 ALL-BIG 12 FOOTBALL FIRST TEAM

Offense

Pos. Player School Class

QB Colt McCoy Texas Sr.

RB Daniel Thomas Kansas State Jr.

RB Keith Toston Oklahoma State Sr.

FB Bryant Ward Oklahoma State Jr.

WR Jordan Shipley Texas Sr.

WR Danario Alexander Missouri Sr.

WR Dezmon Briscoe Kansas Jr.

TE Jeron Mastrud Kansas State Sr.

OL Russell Okung Oklahoma State Sr.

OL Trent Williams Oklahoma Sr.

OL Nick Stringer Kansas State Sr.

OL Brandon Carter Texas Tech Sr.

OL Nate Solder Colorado Jr.

PK Grant Ressel Missouri So.

KR/PR Brandon Banks Kansas State Sr.

Defense

DL Ndamukong Suh Nebraska Sr.

DL Gerald McCoy Oklahoma Jr.

DL Von Miller Texas A&M Jr.

DL Brandon Sharpe Texas Tech Sr.

DL Jared Crick Nebraska So.

LB Sean Weatherspoon Missouri Sr.

LB Jesse Smith Iowa State Sr.

LB Travis Lewis Oklahoma So.

DB Earl Thomas Texas So.

DB Perrish Cox Oklahoma State Sr.

DB Dominique Franks Oklahoma Jr.

DB Prince Amukamara Nebraska Jr.

DB Larry Asante Nebraska Sr.

P Derek Epperson Baylor Jr.

Big 12 Preview | Texas No. 1

  • Thursday, September 3, 2009 3:25 PM
  • Written By: Jonathan Crowl

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2008 record: 13-1 overall, 7-1 Big 12 Conference, co-Big 12 South champions

2009 projection: Chip or not, the Longhorns are the best team in the country, and my pick to win the BCS Title Game.

Reason to get excited: "... my pick to win the BCS Title Game."

Reason not to get worked up: High expectations leave no room for error. One loss could derail the Longhorns' season.

The gist: I wouldn't choose anyone other than Colt McCoy to be my quarterback, even though two others in the NCAA have Heismans. He's got more balance than either Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow. But he probably won't have to lead the team in rushing again this season as the running backs mature and take on a greater workload. Jordan Shipley will once again be McCoy's favorite target, and the attention he draws will create a perfect situation for sophomore wideout Malcolm Williams -- who has drawn comparisons to former Longhorn Roy Williams -- to become the star he's expected to be. The offensive line will once again be strong, let by tackles Adam Ulatoski and Kyle Hixx. Sergio Kindle leads the defense, playing both defensive end and linebacker. Lamarr Houston joins him on the line, and linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy returns after leading the team with 112 tackles. Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's unit is solid overall but needs to improve on forcing turnovers.

Rallying point: McCoy. The senior says the right things, does the right things and could put together a memorable season if he can lead his team to a national title.

Cover your eyes: At the Red River Shootout. Losing to Oklahoma would be the ultimate suckerpunch to a team who watched the Sooners play in the BCS Title Game last year after beating them in the regular season.

For what it's worth: Texas' schedule this season is favorable, particularly the non-conference. The Longhorns have the benefit of sympathy running in their favor, this year -- expect the voters to give them an extra boost if they find themselves on the fringe of the title game. If they win the Big 12 Championship Game, McCoy will win the Heisman.

Big 12 Preview | Oklahoma No. 2

  • Wednesday, September 2, 2009 3:05 PM
  • Written By: Jonathan Crowl

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2008 record: 12-2 overall, 7-1 Big 12 Conference, Big 12 Champions

2009 projection: The Sooners will be in the thick of the national title race until the very end, but they might only be the second-best team in their division.

Reason to get excited: Great coach, great program, Heisman-winning quarterback, high preseason ranking ... what's left?

Reason not to get worked up: Let's face it -- at this point in the rankings, there's no reason not to get worked up.

The gist: Sam Bradford returns as Oklahoma's quarterback, but his spot may not be as comfortable as it was last year. DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown return at running back, and Jermaine Gresham is one of the nation's best tight ends, but the offensive line loses four of its starters from last season. Tackle Trent Williams is the only returner, though he was arguably the best of the lot. None of the wide receivers is exceptional, but they're good enough. The defensive front seven is as strong as any other group on the team, led by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Linebackers Ryan Reynolds and Travis Lewis lead a strong second line, of defense, but pass defense remains a question mark. If teams go into four- and five-receiver sets, OU's depth at defensive back beyond Dominique Franks could be exposed.

Rallying point: Is a Heisman Trophy winner ever NOT the rallying point? It's Bradford.

Cover your eyes: At Nebraska and Kansas. Both teams have quarterbacks with arms and balanced offenses that could cause trouble in the Sooners' secondary, and both have improved defenses. Losing to either could kill OU's BCS title hopes.

For what it's worth: Making the BCS title game two years in a row is a tough order, but expecting Texas to beat Oklahoma twice in a row isn't much easier. Nebraska over OU is a trendy pick, maybe because of NU coach Bo Pelini's familiarity with OU after one season as a co-defensive coordinator in 2004. I'd expect OU to beat Texas but stumble elsewhere later in the Big 12 season.

Big 12 Preview | Texas Tech No. 6

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2009 4:08 AM
  • Written By: Jonathan Crowl

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2008 record: 11-1 overall, 7-1 Big 12 Conference, co-Big 12 South champions

2009 projection: They're the only team in the South Division to get worse (except maybe Oklahoma -- but dropping from second to third nationally only matters to one team). It'll be bad.

Reason to get excited: Coach Mike Leach is still around -- good news for Tech fans and reporters looking for a quote.

Reason not to get worked up: Think back to that 65-21 loss to Oklahoma. Remember pregame? The anticipation? That was the high point for Texas Tech football. Coming that close to a national title run won't happen again while Leach is there.

The gist: Junior Taylor Potts is Tech's new quarterback, and there are a lot of reasons to expect success from him: Leach's proven system; a proven corp of wide receivers with Lyle Leong, Edward Britton and Detron Lewis; and running backs Baron Batch and Harrison Jeffers. The interior offensive line returns starters and should be of little concern. The Red Raiders defense, however, proves problematic. Brandon Williams has left for the NFL, and McKinner Dixon is suspended until who knows when. They've lost Darcel McBath and Daniel Charbonnet from an otherwise impressive secondary, but strong safety Franklin Mitchell looks poised to become a stud. Colby Whitlock is the strength of a weak defensive line that will struggle to stop the run and pressure the quarterback.

Rallying point: Potts. In Leach's system, it all rides on the quarterback.

Cover your eyes: When the defense takes the field. I keep hearing there won't be a big drop-off, but a quick look at the talent lost, coupled with Tech's historic tendency to be at or slightly below average on defense, means bad things in the Big 12. They face six offenses that could kill them.

For what it's worth: The tone when discussing TT may sound negative, but it's only because this season's performance should be a big drop-off from 2008. Still, Texas Tech had in 2008 what it had always lacked: a strong defense. Without that, even a reloaded offense will struggle to keep the Red Raiders in the Top 25, though schedule will make them look worse than they are.