Our Sports Handicapping Columnists' 2009 Big 12 Conference Preview
**2009 Big 12 Conference - Preseason Preview**
The Big 12 displayed one of the most prolific offensive performances of any conference in 2008. Oklahoma and Texas were National Championship battled a top the polls all season, but Oklahoma feel short to Florida 24-14 in the BCS Title Game. Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy leading the Sooners to nearly 5,000 yards through the air. Bradford and company will again be favorites in the Big 12 this season. However, the Sooners lost their top two receivers along with other playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Bradford will now take aim at a young group of receivers that will have to step up early in 2009.
Texas will be their biggest challenge in the conference. After all the Longhorns beat Oklahoma 45-35 last season in Lubbock, but fell short to Oklahoma in the BCS rankings keeping them out of the National Championship Game. QB Colt McCoy was a Heisman Finalist last season after throwing 34 touchdowns and will be back under center. McCoy’s favorite target Jordan Shipley was granted a medical hardship and will return for another season at wide out. Shipley posted over 1,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 2008. One surprise team to keep you eye on in the South this season is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have the fire power to keep up with the major scoring teams in America. QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter, and WR Dez Bryant are among the top players in the nation at their respective positions. This trio will have the ability to give the Cowboys the opportunity to rack up some big wins and perhaps be one of the surprise stories of the year.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers and Kansas Jayhawks will do battle in the North Division. Kansas QB Todd Reesing racked up nearly 4,000 yards a year ago and will take aim to perhaps the best receiving core in the conference. The Cornhuskers return a solid defensive group which is nearly a forgotten part of the game in the Big 12. However, there will be some inexperience issues behind center with Zac Lee limiting the fire power on offense.
The Big 12 will again have all the tangibles to put together a National Championship contender. The Longhorns could be the most complete team and they may look for a little revenge after missing out on a championship opportunity last year.