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College Football Handicapping


Free College Football Predictions - NCAA Online Betting - Tony George College Pick


2006 Big 12 South Preview

College Football Handicapping By: Tony George
Tony George enters his 14th years a professional handicapper, and is a well known NFL guru. Tony George is a documented member of The Professional Handicappers League. Read more of his articles and get his premium plays here.




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tony george handicapping - Big 12 south Preview


Big 12

Big news out of the Big 12 South division on August 2nd, Oklahoma's highly touted and potential All Big 12 Selection at QB is out of the program, along with his roomate, a starting offensive lineman. Rhett Bomar, who threw for over 2000 yards as a freshamn, and the heir apparent to the throne for the next 3 years was outsted from the team along with J.D. Quinn for taking money from boosters who owned a car dealership in Norman, an NCAA violation. This throws a monkey in the wrench in the Big 12 South, and puts Texas at #1 in the South, versus Oklahoma who was my number one until this recent news. A fatal blow to the OU program this close to fall camp. There is a heap of teams in the mix this season in the South, lets break it down from first to worse.

Texas Longhorns Texas Longhorns PREVIEW

Texas Longhorns - After a national title in 2005, the era of all world Vince Young is gone, but numerous top ranked recruiting classes from Mac Brown will reload the program nicely. Texas holds the nations longest winning streak, and have went 26-1 in their last 27 road games, but with roadies at in state rival Texas tech, who is loaded, and a trip to LIncoln to meet an improved Husker squad who should win the north, it will not be easy this season to repeat as national champs. Do not forget that Mac Brown finally won the coveted Red River Shootout with Oklahoma last year, and that is always the biggest game of the year in Loghorn land.

On offesne, a freshamn QB is starting. All signs point towards redshirt Colt McCoy, who has the offfense in grasp, but newcomers Jevan Snead and Sherrod Harris will contend. It boils down to possesion receivers and running the ball with a deep stable of talented backs, all 3 of which could start for anyone in the Big 12 this year. The QB position could be a 2-headed monster, which means playing 2 different QB's at times, but that never works (aka Chris Simms and Major Applewhite-remember?). I assume the opener against North Texas will be a proving ground for either McCoy or Snead to win the job. With a veteran offensive line, and RB's Selvin Young, Jamal Charles and Ramonce Taylor and Henery Melton (combined the 4 backs have 41 TD's between them), look for the running game to dominate their offense until the QB's get the offense down in tact. They are loaded at WR with Limas Sweed, Pittman and Cosby and have a 2 capable tight ends. The offense will not be as explosive without the services of Vince Young, but they will move the chains and have weapons all over the place if the QB situation settles down. Look for 24+ ppg out of these guys in 2006.

The defense returns 7 players and they are talented at the secondary position, as Ross, Brown and Driffen are very gifted and can cover in man-to-man with the best of them. They have re-loaded a DL that was one of the best around last year and are deep at LB and rush ends. Texas does allot of things very well on defense, it will continue. It will be hard to throw on Texas and equally tough to run on them, this is a solid unit, one of the best in the Big 12. This defense will be counted on more this year than last year and it will win them some games.

With questions marks in the kicking game, probally a true freshman is going to start, and a decent punter and excellent return game in place, special teams will be better than average but no experince in the kicking game might hurt early on. Ohio State travels to Texas for their second game, and that one looks to be a tough one, as the Buckeyes are avenging a wild 3-point loss last yeat to Texas at home. Oklahoma looms large as always Oct. 7th and a trip to not only Lincoln, NE on October 21, but the next week a trip to Lubbock to play Texas Tech will be a brutal 2 weeks with road games. They do get Texas AM at home this season which is a plus, but a 2 loss season is not out of the question and a dog fight with Oklahoma for the South title here, I'll take Texas because of their deep talent at skill postions.

Oklahoma Sooners Oklahoma Sooners PREVIEW

Big 12 - Oklahoma Sooners - With the departure of 2nd team preseason All Big 12 QB Rhett Bomar, Bob Stoops is at def-con 4 about right now, no doubt moving Paul Thompson back from WR to play quarterback, as he started the first game last year for OU there before Bohmar took over. In any respect, it was a huge blow to the highly touted Sooners, who many writers have in the top 3 in the nation. After a dismal year last year, inluding losses to TCU at home, a blowout loss to UCLA, and a embarrassing loss to Texas 45-12 in the red river war and a 4 loss season overall, Bob Stoops has the Sooner nation on hold with this talented team, minus their star QB as of August 2nd. The loss of Bohmar is HUGE.

With only 3 players back on offense, look for Adrian Peterson to get back to form after an injury filled 2005 with a better OL than last year, as he was a Heisman canidate as a freshman and should be the workhorse on offense. Either Paul Thompson or junior community college transfer Joey Halzle out of California who threw for over 2000 yards last year will lead the attack at QB. The offensive line is a problem and was injury riddled last year, and in the spring game only 7 lineman were avaliable. Run blocking will be the schemes stressed and with returning guys with past experience, I expect them to be better in 2006. The Sonners are deep at RB and they have returning WR's who are playmakers and real burners including Malcolm Kelly, who is a good one. Joe Jon Finley is a great receiver at tight end and back up Eldridge is a great run blocker at that position. Oklahoma does not use the tight end a whole lot, but with a shaky QB, the tight end may be incorporated more into the offense. Without the services of Bohmar at QB, this offense slipped enough to make OU #2 in this division, and will be a work in progress, but I expect them to be run oriented with short passes on offense this season given the curcumstances, and getting better all the time.

On defense OU returns 7, plus some guys out with injury that played a ton in 2004. They will rush the passer well, and have Big 12 freshamn of the year on defense C.J. Ah You. They have plenty of experience with returning players and their secondary, a weak point last year, as OU returns 3 starters and they are deep in depth here, led by Reggie Smith, who moved to corner from safety last year. They can and will cover in man-to-man and should be a solid unit. The linebacker unit is solid, as they return 2 out of 3 players here and outside LB Rufus Alexander is a good one, and the returning leading tackler from 2005. This unit will have to be the key for the offense by forcing a lot of 3 and outs this season and giving them a short field. OU will count on the defense to win some big games this season.

Oklahoma has a punter problem, so look for that to be a sore spot early on, they have a solid placekicker in Hartley. With a schedule that includes a trip to Oregon their 3rd game, who they beat in a Bowl Game last year, that is a tough nut to crack early. They also play Washington at home, have Texas in Dallas for the Red River Shootout which looms large, and road dates at stingy Oklahoma State which is always a tough game. OU gets Texas Tech and Iowa State at home and end the season with 2 straight road games. Last year OU had the nation's toughest schedule, that is not the case this year, however with a shaky QB situation 3 weeks before the season starts, OU has some work to do early, and a 2 to 3 loss season if the offense does not gel is not out of the question. I see them getting beat in Oregon on week 3.

Texas Tech TEXAS TECH PREVIEW

Big 12 - Texas Tech - Look for the high flying Red Raiders to contend again for the title, as they get a chance to play Texas at home, and a beatable OU team in Norman. Going 1-1 somehow in those games would be a huge plus for Mike Leach's spread offense attack. Another year at Texas Tech and another QB to replace is commonplace, and this year the best of all of them to replace Cody Hodges is Graham Harrrell, who is highly touted as Leach's best prospect ever, and that is scary. Throwing for 4800+ yards and over 60 TD's in a spread offense his senior year in high school is impressive to say the least. He played sparingly last year and completed 67% of his passes and knows the offense. Wins at OU, Nebraska, Texas AM and Kansas State in 2005, bolstered this program to a bowl game against Alabama they lost 10-13. The Raiders are my dark horse to win the South title, and they can do it without question if the offense clicks.

On offense they return 8 starters from one of the best offensive units in the nation in 2005. If Harrelll can get it going at QB, look out folks, these guys can average well over 30 ppg this season. The offensive line returns all starters and an All Big 12 canaidate in Manuel Ramirez. They can zone block as well as anyone and should be good against the pass rush. At running back there is an issue replacing Taurean Henderson, but Shannon Woods is a good replacement and last years special teams star. In his playing time at RB last year he displayed good hands to catch with at 9.4 yards per catch and averaged over 7 yards per carry, and has a capable backup with Taurance Rawls who has plenty of experience his first 2 years playing in 23 games. At receiver, Tech has some playmakers and burners, as all 3 starters from last year rerturn, which is bad news for the rest of the conference. With Hicks, Filani and Johnson, who was Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year in 2005, you have depth, experince and proven playmakers here. This offense, if Harrell steps up, will lead the Big 12 in 2006.

On defense they return 5 players, and 2 others that werre starters and lost for the season with injuries, so rushing the passer and being tougher up front is the order of the day, and they will be better in the trenches. Gone are 2 key players the 15th best pass defense in the USA last year, but capable replacements are in house here and Huffman returns as the top cover corner. The linebackers get a boost with all Big 12 defensive end last year, Keyunta Dawson moving to outside linebacker, along with all world player Fletcher Session, who had 81 tackles last year at middle LB. This defense will be better than last years addition in my opinion and will help the Radiers cause in 2006, especially against the run.

All in all, you have the makings of a dark horse here, with Texas down this year from last, and OU losing their QB, the Red Raiders could sneak up on the south title with some luck. Getting Texas at home is a huge plus in October and tough games against TCU and Texas AM on the road in Septmeber will be huge games also. The Raiders also have Iowa State (which should be a 80 point game) and Oklahoma on the road, but a 2 loss season and major bowl bid may be in store if the quarterback poistion settles in. None the less, there will never be a shortage of points with this offense and they will be in every game they play.

Texas AM Texas AM PREVIEW

Big 12 - Texas AM - What a horific year in 2005 for the Aggies. Finishing dead last in Division I football against the pass, in the Big 12 South division spells doom. The once proud Aggie defense was like a funnel last year and injuries devastated this team, and to add insult to injury, they lost all world QB Reggie McNeal to graduation, so it is re-building time for head man Dennis Franchione this season, and hopefully the injured stars from 2005 return to help the Agiies cause. The finger was pointed at the coaching staff for the poor season, and 4 new assistants including a defensive coordinator was brought on for new life to be breathed into this program.

On offense, replacing McNeal is at top priority at QB, and it looks like Stephen McGee is the man. He filled in nicely for McNeal last year, is a great passer and can break out and run the ball as well. This is a godsend for the Aggies offense, and he is a solid kid with good leadership skills as well, a real fireplug. The running game returns both players, Lewis and Lane from last year and blue chip back Mike Goodsend also will play as a freshamn, the #1 RB out of the state of Texas last year. The WR unit is deep and talented and healthy, so I look for the Aggies to be able to balance the attack and make some big plays this season as the OL returns 4 starters. A work in progress but an offense than can move the chains and make some plays.

On defense they rerturn 6 players from a deplorable unit that allowed huge plays last year and many teams buried the Aggies last year in embarrassing fashion. This unit will be led by a new cooridinator and a new scheme, so it will be a learning curve. They need more beef up front on the line and do not rush the passer well, so that must be stressed in order to win games in the southern division. Having the worst pass defense in the nation is not only a testemant to a poor pass rush, but a poor secondary so the return of injured DB Japhus Brown will help at saftey. The linebacker unit is so poor right now, they play a 4-2 type scheme so they only have to start 2 of them, and nothing has changed. This is a huge weak point for AM this season, and the defense will be mediocore at best. I expect teams with a strong line and a good running game to have success against the Aggies this season.

With a work in progress on defense in 2006, look for many shootouts for AM to be involved in this season, but that does not win big games at the end of the day. Without the services of an experinced place kicker, and questions on defense and tough road games at Texas, and Kansas (much improved), as well as trying to stop teams like Oklahoma and Texas Tech in College Station, this team needs to win every game in their weak pre-conference schdule and steal a win along the line in order to get to a 4 loss season. A big game against Nebraska in November will be a big test for the Aggies. Better than 2005, but not quite up to par for Aggie fans yet in 2006.

Oklahoma State Oklahoma State PREVIEW

Big 12 - Oklahoma State - Mike Gundy's first year as a head coach was a rough one, but talent, although young talent, is in the stable for the Cowboys, and I expect them to make some strides in 2006. I look for OSU to make some noise this year and cupboards are far from bare. At one point last year, 19 freshmen were recruited to start or play in games, and with the Big 12 south in 2005 loaded with good teams, the Cowpokes struggled and gave up some huge plays on defense. Look for Mike Gundy's squad to make up some ground in 2006, and while not yet a bowl contender, this is a young team with some weapons.

On offense it starts with QB Bobby Reid and his ability to run the spread offense of Larry Fedora (formerly of Florida). Getting the ball to playmaker J'waun Woods at WR is the key. Reid replaced Donavan Woods who is now a starting DB, but injuries in 2005 cut Reid's season short. Look for 8 returnee's on offense, all young, but talented, a deep WR unit and a running game that features Mike Hamilton a 900+ yard back from last season as a freshman, this guy will be a good one and does some things very well. They are deep at RB with JUCO transfer Savage in the mix as well. The line returns 3 of 4 and should make progress as well, but they have to start a freshman at guard, so there is some concern early on. This offense is a B+ type unit and they have a full season of spread attack under the their belt, and they will score some points this season, and they'll have to so they can stay in games.

The defense returns 4 starters and this is the weak point of the team. The front line is solid and deep, but the linebackers and secondary are young and inexperienced. I expect many teams to score on them, and often, especially throwing teams with good WR's. The defense is a work in progress. Games with Texas and Texas Tech on the road could get ugly, and OSU has Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas AM at home and I expect them to compete in those games to a certain degree. All in all, the Cowboys are far from the Les Miles days and have some growing pains in 2006, but with young talent and some weapons on offense, they'll make it interesting. Look for them to be in the mix in a year, but struggle this year, a go against team on the road.

Baylor Bears Baylor Bears PREVIEW

Big 12 - Baylor Bears- Finally a road win in conference action last year for Baylor, and an OT loss at Oklahoma, shows signs of life in Waco this past season, but this is still Baylor, and I expect them to lose more games this season than last. The went 5-6 last year and make some strides, but a 2-6 conference record could be repeated in 2006 or maybe worse. Running a quick strike spread offense with short passes on slants does not establish dominance in the Big 12, unless you are Texas Tech, and Baylor is missing some key components in 2006 to be as good on offense as they were last year, and the caliber of opponents has not dropped off.

On offense, the spread attack is the option for QB Shawn Bell, who is a good QB and threw for 12 TD's last year and almost 2000 yards, but his receiver unit is depleted, so I expect Guy Morriss to go to his deep stable of running backs this year more, and run it at people. They have a great RB's in the stable, led by Paul Mosley and backed up by Brandon Whitaker. This is a great 1-2 punch and should be used in order to keep the defense off the field more. The line is weak at best and returns 2 starters and some freshmen are figured into the mix here.

Not as potent and quick strike like last year, but with 8 starters back and 2 good running backs, a slight change in plan might be in the wind, meaning the RB's should get 50% of the action this year, if they want a chance in games in my opinion.

The defense is taking a huge hit, with only 4 returnee's, and having to replace 2 senior starters at linebacker is asking a bit much of this unit to stop the high octane offense's of the Big 12 South. Once again a work in progress and serious need for a pass rush will have to be addressed. If they cannot stretch the field on offense, this unit will not be able to stop teams late in the game, with depth and experience being an issue. With their first 5 games at home, and tough opener against TCU, and games at Texas and Texas Tech, which both should be ugly, look for a 4 to 5 win season max out of the Bears this season, as the woes continue in Waco. Look for the 13th straight year that Baylor does not go bowling.

More College Football Previews

Big 12 South Preview
Big 12 North Preview


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