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Spring Snapshot- The Big XII

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Before I jump into analyzing the quality depth in the ND offense I wanted to take a look at the Big XII. In the last few years the Big XII has emerged as a solid contender with several good programs. So here’s some of what’s going on with the major players in Big XII country this spring.

Big XII North
Nebraksa- Bo Pelini just signed a contract extension through 2014 and the Huskers are collectively regrouping in Lincoln. From the looks of it the Defense is coming together and with Pelini there that unit will continue to tighten up. A solid Defense will give the Huskers a leg up in a league that has a chink in the armor when it comes to sketchy defense. Shawn Watson is in the process of replacing his QB and has a few choices, but keep an eye out for Freshman Cody Green. Green is a legit prospect and will likely be eased into the lineup by making situational appearances in 2009. Before all is said and done Green will likely be a serious player in Lincoln.

Colorado- Is Dan Hawkins really not going to play his son Cody at Quarterback? Does he really think the Buffs are going to line up and pound it? Are they going to put Ralphie in the backfield? I think Hawkins is grasping at straws here. The Boise magic has not yet manifested itself in Boulder which makes one wonder how much he had to do with the Broncos rise in the first place. If Hawkins doesn’t have the Buffs in the Big XII North mix this year he might be on the fast track to Franchione town.

Missouri- Check out these stats from a Tiger Spring Scrimmage. Get a defense! Seriously. Blaine Gabbert will likely fill in well for the highly overrated Chase Daniel and despite losing their OC to Wyoming (bad career move) I suspect Pinkel’s offense will still put up points under the direction of Jeff Spicoli. Despite that unless Pinkel pulls some Defense out of a hat ricky tick they won’t be a legitimate contender in the North.

Kansas- The fighting Manginos are still quietly plugging along and Todd Reesing is coming back to take his turn as the Chase Daniel of 2009. On the other side of the ball Rock Chalk Jayhawk has some holes to fill on a defense that was less than stellar in the first place. In all honesty the more I think about the North the more I think Nebraska is about to take it back over uncontested.

Big XII South
Texas- After spinning his wheels unsuccessfully trying to figure out how the BCS works for a portion of the spring Mack Brown continues to sign every top recruit in Texas then stands back and watches his coordinators run the show. It works for him. Mack is like Bobby Bowden 10 years ago. On Saturday the Horns finished up spring workouts then literally sold off their turf which I commented on a few days ago. I’ll delve into a full explanation in my preseason write ups over the summer but I expect the Horns to make a title run in 2009.

Oklahoma- Big game Bob likely won’t get another shot at losing the BCS National Championship in 2009 and he probably knows it. The Sooners will get a lot of hype for returning some superstars at the glamour positions, mainly Sam Bradford, but at the end of the day replacing their entire offensive line is going to leave a mark. I don’t care who you are you can’t pull that off. Look at Georgia last year.

Oklahoma State- Does anyone know what’s up with those crazy tic tac toe boards they hold up on the sidelines to call their plays? If someone does please e-mail me an explanation. Check out the picture in the upper left hand corner of the post if you don’t know what I’m talking about. To call it bizarre is an understatement. Mike Gundy is a strange cat but he gets the benefit of the doubt because he used to throw TD passes to Hart Lee Dykes, and in case you forgot he’s a man. A man with an allowance from T. Boone Pickens no less. OSU can throw it but what makes them dangerous is that they’ll also run like crazy out of their version of the spread. I think the Cowboys will be the 2009 version of 2008 Texas Tech and the most likely team to mess with Texas.

Texas Tech- The Dread Pirate is mixing up another batch of outrageous offense coupled with sketchy defense. There is much speculation as to whether or not Taylor Potts can step in at QB but does anyone really expect Leach to have a QB that doesn't throw for 4000 yards and 50 TD's? If Ruffin McNeil can get the D together the Raiders might make some noise again in the South.

Baylor- If you don’t know who Baylor QB Robert Griffin is you will shortly. He finished 3rd in the NCAA in the 400 hurdles a few months after graduating from high school as an early enrollee in 2008. That was after joining the track team for the last few weeks of the season following spring football. He’s a freakish athlete that could potentially make the Bears pseudo competitive under Art Briles.

Texas A&M-; The fact that I have no real comments on the current state of the Mike Sherman experiment says it all.