In my last article I discussed the top 5 teams in the now 10 team Big 12. Now I will discuss the other 5 teams. Though they aren’t as talented as top tier teams, teams like Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas St are talented enough to play spoiler and surprise some teams.
Here is a look at the other 5 teams and their odds to win the conference and the BCS Championship courtesy of Bodog.
Baylor Bears (18/1 conference, 20/1 BCS (field) )
Last year Baylor qualified for a Bowl game for the first time since 1994, and upset Texas in Austin. The Bears actually had an outside shot to win the Big 12 South last year before a 3 game losing streak to end the regular season quashed those dreams. Baylor was then crushed 38-14 by Illinois in the Texas Bowl.
Coach Art Briles thinks the Bears will be even better this year, as they were young but talented last year. The offense runs though junior quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Duel threat QB passed for over 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and 8 picks. He also ran for 635 yards and rushed for 8 more TD’s. Baylor also returns leading receiver junior WR Kendall Wright who had 78 catches and 7 touchdowns last season. Baylor does have to replace second receiver Phil Gordon who also had 7 touchdown catches last season and leading rusher Jay Finley who was drafted by the Bengals. Junior halfback Jarred Salubi and Senior Terrence Ganaway will replace Finley.
Baylor opens at home against a tough TCU team and also has home games against Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and a neutral site game against Texas Tech in Dallas. They have road games against Kansas St, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma St. Another bowl bid is likely and they could surprise some of the upper tier teams in the conference.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (20/1 conference, 150/1 BCS)
The Red Raiders won 8 games last year in Coach Tommy Tuberville’s first year in Lubbock. Tech beat Northwestern 45-38 in the Ticket City Bowl last season. Tuberville will install the pistol offense and has a new quarterback. Seth Doege takes over for the departed Taylor Potts. Sophomore running back Eric Stephens will handle most of the running duties after rushing for 668 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. Stephens also caught two touchdown passes and had 33 receptions. Senior receiver Lyle Leong returns after catching 74 passes and 19 touchdowns.
The defense gave up tons of yards and points last season in the high Octane offensive minded Big 12. Coach Tuberville has installed a 4-2-5 alignment to shore up the defense.
Texas Tech has home games against Nevada, Texas A&M, Kansas St, Oklahoma St, and plays Baylor in Dallas. They travel to Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri on the year. Some pick the Red Raiders as a dark horse to contend for the conference title. I don’t buy it but they will contend for a bowl berth. 7 or 8 wins are likely.
Kansas St Wildcats (35/1 conference, 125/1 BCS)
Last season a 4-0 start led to some high hopes in Wildcat land. However they ended up going 3-5 down the stretch to barely qualify for something called the Pinstripe Bowl. Kansas State lost that game 36-34 to Syracuse to finish 7-6 on the season.
Last year the problem was defense as the Wildcats couldn’t stop anyone. Coach Bill Snyder promises this team will be more disciplined with the addition of Miami transfer linebacker Arthur Brown. His brother, Bryce Brown, is a running back and also transferred into the program from Tennessee.
Senior quarterback Carson Coffman returns after throwing for 2,060 yards with 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also ran for 9 touchdowns. Bryce Brown will try to replace the talented Daniel Thomas who was drafted by the Dolphins. Chris Harper and Aubry Quarles return at the wideouts.
Kansas St is very experienced with 32 seniors and 24 juniors on the roster. The schedule includes home games against Baylor, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. K-State plays road games against Miami- (FL), Texas Tech, Oklahoma St, and Texas. Kansas St will go to a bowl game and might actually be better than Baylor or Texas Tech.
Iowa St Cyclones (100/1 conference, 20/1 BCS (field) )
Last season Iowa St had a chance to go to a bowl game but a season ending 3 game losing streak dropped them to 5-7 and out of the bowls. They did have upset wins over Texas and Texas Tech though.
It doesn’t get any easier for third year coach Paul Rhoads as he has to replace 3 year starting QB Austin Arnaud along with his leading rusher and top two receivers. Junior Jerome Tiller takes over behind center and RB Shontrelle Johnson will take most of the carries. Senior WR Darius Darks is the top receiver.
The schedule is brutal as well, with home games against Iowa, Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma St. The Cyclones also have road games against UConn, Baylor, Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Kansas St. 4 wins would be a stretch for this team with such a difficult schedule and big roster changes.
Kansas Jayhawks (150/1 conference, 20/1 BCS (field) )
Last year the Jayhawks went 3-9 last year under first year head coach Turner Gill, including an embarrassing 6-3 loss to FCS school North Dakota St. It won’t get much better for Kansas and Jayhawk fans will wait until Bill Self’s basketball team starts fall practice in October.
The Jayhawks will start sophomore Jordan Webb at quarterback but expect senior Quinn Mecham to see significant time as well. The offense does return leading rusher James Sims and leading receiver Daymond Patterson. However, the offense was pathetic last year averaging only 17 points a game. The defense wasn’t much better giving up 34 points a game.
The schedule includes home games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Kansas St, Baylor, and a neutral site game against Missouri in Kansas City. They have road games against Georgia Tech, Oklahoma St, Texas, Iowa St, and Texas A&M. They will compete with Iowa St for the worst team in the conference and they might improve on their three wins from last year but won’t get many more wins than that.
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