2010 Big 12 College Football Preview: Oklahoma reclaims top spot

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 3:   Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners hands the ball off to teammate runningback DeMarco Murray #7 in the first quarter against the Miami Hurricanes on October 3, 2009 at Landshark Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Here’s a quick and dirty look at how I see things playing out in the Big 12 this season:

#1 Oklahoma
In Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Jermaine Gresham, Keenan Clayton, Brody Eldridge and Dominique Franks, there’s no doubt that the Sooners lost a ton of talent from last year. However, this season is all about two names: Landry Jones and DeMarco Murray. Jones filled in admirably when Bradford went down last season, throwing 26 touchdown passes and gaining valuable experience throughout the year. Murray’s health history is a major concern, but if he can stay upright he’s scary good. He’s more versatile than Adrian Peterson was in that he can catch the ball out of the backfield or beat teams as a rusher. He’s big, he’s fast and he can get north and south in a hurry. He’s also going to get a ton of opportunities to shine this year as both a runner and a pass-catcher and again, if he can stay healthy he has the ability to be one of the best backs in college football. Defensively, Bob Stoops’ team has good depth and while the loss of McCoy hurts, don’t forget that Jeremy Beal was fifth on the team in tackles last season and first in sacks with 11. The linebacker corps has a chance to be special thanks to redshirt freshman Tom Wort and sophomore Ronnell Lewis. I know many pundits still like Texas in the South, but with Landry, Murray and nine starters returning on offense, I think Oklahoma reclaims the conference this season.

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2009 CFB Preview: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Check out our other 2009 college football previews.

Preseason Ranking: No. 11 in AP Top 25; No. 9 in USA Today Poll.

Key Returning Players: Zac Robinson (QB); Dez Bryant (WR); DeMarcus Conner (WR); Kendall Hunter (RB); Keith Toston (RB); Brady Bond (OT); Russell Okung; Andrew Lewis (C); Andre Sexton (LB); Orie Lemon (LB); Jeremiah Price (DE); Derek Burton (DE); Ugo Chinasa (DE); Perrish Cox (CB).

Key Losses: Brandon Pettigrew (TE); Steve Denning (G); Jeray Chatham (DT); Jacob Lacey (CB); Quinton Moore (S); Tonga Tea (DT); Ricky Price (S).

Player to Watch: Dez Bryant, WR.
Bryant is coming off a tremendous 2008 campaign in which he tallied 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and a whopping 19 touchdowns. He scored multiple touchdowns in five of 12 games last season, including a four-TD performance against Iowa State on November 1. At times, it didn’t matter if he was double covered because he would still come down with the ball. When it comes to Bryant’s talents, some are drawing comparisons to Michael Crabtree given how big, fast and strong the OSU wideout is. His coach Mike Gundy even believes that Bryant is a legitimate Heisman candidate this season.

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Oklahoma State proves they’re for real, upsets Missouri

Oklahoma State-MissouriComing into Saturday’s action, people were wondering whether or not No. 17 Oklahoma State was for real or not. Sure their offense was averaging 530 yards and over 50 points a game, but their toughest opponent prior to this week was arguably an unranked Troy team.

But no longer do we have to wonder if the Cowboys are for real after they beat No. 3 Missouri 28-23 in Columbia. They picked off Heisman candidate Chase Daniel three times in the second half, including on MIZZOU’s final drive when the Tigers were in range to possibly take the lead late in the fourth quarter. The job OK State’s defense did in getting pressure on Daniel was outstanding and the trio of QB Zac Robinson (19 of 28 for 215 yards, 2 TDs), RB Kendall Hunter (154 yards rushing, 1 TD) and WR Damian Davis (3 rec., 76 yards, 2 TDs) came up with big plays all night.

Now that Missouri, LSU and Oklahoma all lost, the top 10 in college football will undergo a major shakeup. It’ll be interesting to see how everything takes shape when the new polls are released. How far will MIZZOU fall?

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