Matt over at Crimson and Cream Machine has started the first Big 12 Roundtable of what is almost the 2008 college football season. Check it out and stay tuned for the roundup of all of everyones responses on Wednesday.
1. There has been lots of talk this pre-season about scheduling. Colorado has arguably the strongest schedule but who do you think has the weakest and which cream puff on your teamʼs schedule do you wish wasnʼt there?
It's very hard to argue that anyone other than Texas Tech has the easiest non-conference Big 12 schedule this year. No one should be surprised at that assertion as I would be willing to bet that Tech has had the most pathetic non-conference scheduling in FBS football since 2000. A whopping 3 BCS teams (Ohio St, NC State twice and Ole Miss twice) in that time period and a season (2005) with an incredible two out of three non-conference games coming against FCS schools.
The second question is a little bit harder, but if I had to answer I would say Eastern Washington. In all honesty I am very happy that they are on the schedule as we will need at least one lay up game (please no Montana comments), but I would prefer a terrible FBS team.
2. As a whole the Big 12 has the best quarterbacks in the country. Make a case for your quarterback being one of the conferenceʼs top signal callers and tell us which other conference quarterback you would pick to replace him if you had to.
This is probably an easy question to answer for a lot of the Big 12 sites but Cody Hawkins is not in the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the conference. Do I think he is going to be a Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell or Sam Bradford? No, but do I think he can in the top 5 by seasons end? Yes, I do. I did a previous post on Cody Hawkins' freshman year and where he needs to be in order to be on a similar playing field with the top QB's. His freshman numbers were very strong and if he can limit his interceptions, the Buffs are going to be a good team. Most people think Cody Hawkins is strictly a game manager but I think he is on the verge of being a playmaker. I don't think he is scared to make big plays or lead a team. His freshman numbers aren't that of a game manager. Stephen McGee's numbers are that of a manager and he is going to be a senior. I am not going to anoint Hawkins until he improves his consistency but with a no huddle offense, a year of experience and more weapons, I think Cody might be this years Todd Reesing.
Trying to pick the best QB in the Big 12 is not an easy task. You can't go wrong with Bradford, Harrell or Daniel. Next year, my answer will be Sam Bradford. I think he is a star and at 6'5", he will be a top 15 draft pick. We all know that a QB needs a lot of tools to be successful and OU definitely has them but I am not sold on the receiver core even though I love Gresham. Plus he is a sophomore and he will have his spotlight the next two years. I am going to go with Chase Daniel. Missouri has a good chance to go undefeated this year in the regular season. Daniel is what makes the team go and he has a great TE and arguably the Big 12's second most explosive player in Jeremy Maclin. Daniel can do it all and he is one of the most efficient quarterbacks I have ever seen play.
See the rest after the jump...
3. Going into the season which unit for your team are you most confident in, offense or defense?
About a month ago, the offense would have been a runaway choice as the unit I am most confident in. It is still my choice but I am relatively confident in 8 or 9 of the positions on defense now rather than about 3 or 4 like I was before camp started. Let's face it, the Big 12 is scary on offense and the Buffs don't have any proven cornerbacks. The Buffs are going to be good on offense. They have a more than adequate quarterback, a young but athletic offensive line anchored by a Remington nominee in center Daniel Sanders. Riar Geer is a solid tight end and the Buffs are explosive at the skill positions. I haven't been this excited about a wide receiving corps at Colorado for at least the past 7 years. All the receivers have something to offer that is different from the other. Sophomore Josh Smith can be a top 5 WR in the Big 12 and Scotty McKnight will grow into Hawkins most dependable target. And if Patrick Williams plays up to his ability the Buffs are going to be very hard to contain. Watch out for KR/RB/WR freshman Rodney Stewart to be Darren Sproles like this year for the Buffs. And do we need to mention the runningbacks? They have been getting too much attention anyway.
4. Who is the new guy on you squad that will be a household name among your fan base before the season ends?
Darrell Scott is already a household name so he shouldn't count. Look for RB Rodney Stewart to make the biggest splash in special offensive situations as well as special teams. You can also put guard Max Tuioti-Mariner on this list as a freshman who may start even though he is now #2 on the depth chart. On defense, look for transfer LB Shaun Mohler to be a strong contributor on special teams and at outside linebacker.
5. Prediction time! Tell us how the north and south divisions will wind up.
1. Missouri (11-1, 7-1)
2. Kansas (9-3, 5-3)
3. Colorado (8-4, 5-3)
4. Nebraska (7-5, 4-4)
5. Kansas State (4-8, 1-7)
6. Iowa State (4-8, 1-7)
1. Oklahoma (12-0, 8-0)
2. Texas Tech (9-3, 5-3)
3. Texas (8-4, 5-3)
4. Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4)
5. Oklahoma State (7-5, 3-5)
6. Baylor (1-11, 0-8)