2006 Big 12 College Football Preview
Colorado, after finishing the season with a disappointing 19-10 loss to the Clemson Tigers, looks to regroup under new Coach Dan Hawkins for the 2006 season. The most used player during the Buffaloes spring game was place kicker Mason Crosby, who attempted an astonishing 16 field goals. This could be a bad sign for the Colorado offense for the upcoming season, proving that they will have trouble putting the ball into the end-zone.
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The Iowa State Cyclones have a major reason to be excited about the 2006 season…junior quarterback Bret Meyer. Meyer is arguably the best quarterback in the Big 12 heading into the 2006 season and looks to improve upon the roller coaster ride that was the 2005 season. If Bret Meyer can find All Big-12 performer Todd Blythe, the Cyclones can play a major factor in the Big 12.
The Kansas State Wildcats, who have been in the decline over the past several seasons, look to rebuild and improve for the 2006 season. The good news for new Coach Ron Prince is that the Wildcats return 17 starters from their 2005 roster. The bad news is that starting tailback Thomas Clayton will miss the season opener due to a battery conviction. The Wildcats are undoubtedly one of the biggest question marks in the Big 12, and if they can stay healthy and out of trouble, this team could cause some problems for opposing teams.
The Kansas Jayhawks, which went an impressive 7-5 last year due to a stifling defense, looks to improve upon that mark this year. The major question mark is whether or not redshirt freshman Dylan Meier can lead the Jayhawk offense efficiently in his first year at the helm. If Meier can live up to the hype, Kansas will be a daunting task for any team they play in the Big 12.
The Missouri Wildcats are as much of a wildcard as any team in the Big 12. Record-shattering quarterback Brad Smith graduated from the school after leading the Wildcats to a 7-5 mark in 2005. Sophomore Chase Daniel looks to lead the Wildcats to a strong mark in 2006, and if he is as good as expected, the Wildcats can be very dangerous in 2006.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers look to build open their impressive victory over Michigan in last year’s Alamo Bowl. The Cornhuskers are a worth candidate to come out of the Big 12 North in 2006, and if Coach Bill Callahan can lead the offense with any kind of consistence, the Huskers may very will be playing in the Big 12 title game. If Quarterback Zac Taylor gets comfortable in the newly implemented Husker offense, Nebraska may be back on the rise yet again.
The Baylor Bears, who finished a dismal 2-6 in Big 12 play over the 2005 season, look to regroup for the upcoming season. The Bears, which contended for a bowl-bid in 2005, will be implementing a new offense under Coach Mike Leach. Leach decided to switch to a spread offense similar to that of the high scoring Texas Tech Red Raiders. If the change pays off, look for the Bears to be very dangerous in 2006.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys, who finished the 2005 season with a disappointing 1-7 mark in the Big 12, look to rebound with a strong start to the 2006 season. The Cowboys’ offense struggled mightily under pressure during 2005, and if quarterback Bobby Reid doesn’t improve his game, they may have another poor showing in 2006.
The Oklahoma Sooners, which struggled mightily to find any consistency besides Adrian Peterson in 2005, look to ride the Heisman hopeful to the Big 12 championship in 2006. If Peterson, who is undoubtedly the best returning player in the country, can continue to build upon his first two seasons, the Sooners can be celebrating once again. The Sooners showed a lot of heart to finish the season strong after a 2-3 start, and this character will prove to be very valuable for Oklahoma in ’06.
The Texas A&M Aggies, who finished the 2005 season with a 5-6 mark, look to replace one of their lone bright spots from the ’05 squad in Reggie McNeal. McNeal was the team’s leading passer and second leading rusher, and if the Aggies can’t find someone to replace him, it could spell for another disappointing season in 2006.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders, who ran up an impressive 9-3 mark in 2005, look to continue to build upon their explosive offense in 2006. The Red Raiders go into the 2006 season as a top 25 team, and a contender to win the Big 12. If Texas Tech can find a way to slow down opposing offenses, they could be one of the most dangerous teams in the country in 2006.
The Texas Longhorns, which won one of the most exciting National Championship games in history last January, looks to reload and repeat with a pair of talented quarterbacks. Young was not the only major star the Longhorns lost from their championship team of a year ago however, but David Thomas, the big tight-end also graduated. Look for Limas Sweed to become the big time threat the Longhorn offense needs to make a trip back to the promise land. Texas has a blockbuster match-up with Ohio State early in the year, and if the horns can find a way to squeak by the Buckeyes, look for them to run the table once again