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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Texas exacts revenge on Tech

Texas has been waiting almost a year to get the taste of losing to Texas Tech out of its mouth and it did just that on Saturday night as the Longhorns defeated the Red Raiders 34-24.

This wasn’t a very clean game by the No. 2 team in the nation, as Heisman candidate Colt McCoy threw two interceptions and the Texas defense was shredded by Tech quarterback Taylor Potts, who passed for 420 yards and three touchdowns. But the Longhorns did just enough to stay ahead of the Raiders for the entire game and managed to exact revenge on their in-state rivals.

The Longhorn defense also did a nice job giving Potts multiple looks in order to confuse him on several series throughout the game. Texas was also incredibly aggressive, although that allowed Potts to complete some crossing routes that helped moved the chains.

Offensively for the Longhorns, receiver Jordan Shipley had big night, hauling in 11 passes for 75 yards and returning a punt 38 yards for a touchdown to give Texas its first score. The Longhorn offense essentially took what Tech gave them and didn’t try to force the action outside of when McCoy found Dan Buckner down the seams for a 25-yard completion that set up a Cody Johnson 1-yard touchdown run.

Considering Texas was an 18.5-point favorite coming into this game, one would have thought that the Longhorns would take it to Tech more than they did. But on a day where Florida only beat Lane Kiffin’s Volunteers by 10 points and USC lost to Washington, I guess Texas’s sound, yet rather unsatisfying 10-point win over Tech is pretty much par for the course.

Mack Brown’s program will host UTEP and Colorado over its next two games before its big matchup with Oklahoma on October 17.

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