Big 12 Preseason Report: Baylor will win a conference game!

July 16, 2002 6:33 AM
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COLORADO

Head coach: Gary Barnett, 4th year

Player to watch: QB Craig Ochs

2001-02 ATS record: 8-5

Victory margin: +8

Comments: Ochs missed five of last six games with an injury. Buffs led nation with 2,620 rushing yards, but in all three losses were held below 125. Barnett is 63-72-2 SU in his career. Drew Wahlroos has made a smooth transition to inside LB, a past weakness.

 

NEBRASKA

Head coach: Frank Zolich, 4th year

Player to watch: I-back Dahrran Diedrick

2001-02 ATS record: 7-6

Victory margin: +19

Comments: Jammal Lord top QB candidate to replace Crouch. Defense allowed 99 points in losses to Colorado and Miami. Hosts BCA Classic Aug. 24 vs Arizona State. Solich’s .816 win percentage tied with Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops for sixth all-time in Division I after three years (31-7).

 

KANSAS STATE

Head coach: Bill Snyder, 14th year

Player to watch: QB Marc Dunn

2001-02 ATS record: 8-4

Victory margin: +11

Comments: Ell Roberson listed as No. 1 QB, but Dunn is the better thrower. Snyder (105-49-1) has led K-State to nine straight bowl games. Players accounting for 105 of 110 receptions are gone. Should be 3-0 SU entering games with USC and Colorado.

 

IOWA STATE

Head coach: Dan McCarney, 8th year

Player to watch: QB Seneca Wallace

2001-02 ATS record: 8-3

Victory margin: +6

Comments: Closed 3-0 ATS, allowing just 42 points. Opens with Florida State in Robinson Classic Aug. 24 in Kansas City. Cyclones were 5-1 ATS on the road. Schedule features eight bowl teams from 2001. Wallace was the top Big 12 Offensive Newcomer last year.

 

MISSOURI

Head coach: Gary Pinkell, 2nd year

Player to watch: Center A.J. Ricker

2001-02 ATS record: 4-6

Victory margin: —8

Comments: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Ricker was named third team All-American by Street & Smith. The Tigers could wind up 4-0 SU heading into home clash with Oklahoma if able to defeat Illinois in season opener at St. Louis. Missouri was the third worst passing team in the Big 12.

 

KANSAS

Head coach: Nick Mangino, first year

Player to watch: QB Zach Dyer

2001-02 ATS record: 3-7

Victory margin: —19

Comments: Dyer passed for 163 yards and two TDs in spring game, including a 60-yard score. Outscored 189-20 in losses to K-State, Nebraska, Texas and Iowa State. Defense allowed 30 points or more during 0-7 ATS run. Visits UNLV on Sept. 7.

 

OKLAHOMA

Head coach: Bob Stoops, 4th year

Player to watch: TE Trent Smith

2001-02 ATS record: 6-7

Victory margin: +18

Comments: Ranked No. 1 by Football News, Lindy’s and The Sporting News. Smith’s 64 catches led all tight ends. Does not face Nebraska or K-State in regular season. First-team defense blanked offense in spring game. Solid QB trio in Jason White, Nate Hybl and Brent Rawls. Running game ranked 84th nationally (121 YPG).

 

TEXAS

Head coach: Mack Brown, 5th year

Player to watch: QB Chris Simms

2001-02 ATS record: 6-7

Victory margin: +24

Comments: Ranked No. 1 by Street & Smith and Texas Football. Landed consensus No. 1 recruiting class. Simms 15-4 SU as a starter, yet many felt Texas should have played Applewhite. Ranked sixth in scoring (39.2 PPG) and returns nearly everyone. Great shot at winning first national title since ’69.

 

TEXAS A&M

Head coach: R.C. Slocum, 14th year

Player to watch: LB Jarrod Penright

2001-02 ATS record: 5-6

Victory margin: +3

Comments: Heartbreak kids of the Big 12. Average score was 21-18. Offense ranked dismal 107th out of 115 in Division I. Penright (6-2, 240) is a first team Football News selection. Only Bobby Bowden (123) has won more games than Slocum (109) since 1990. Aggies a stellar 69-8-1 SU at Kyle Field.

 

OKLAHOMA STATE

Head coach: Les Miles, 2nd year

Player to watch:TB Seymore Shaw

2001-02 ATS record: 4-6

Victory margin: —6

Comments: Chris Massey, who led the nation in kickoff returns last year. Shaw rushed for 131 yards on 19 carries and scored four touchdowns in the spring game. QB Aso Pogi passed for 1,854 yards until injury vs Oklahoma. Acid test comes in Week 3 at home against UCLA.

 

BAYLOR

Head coach: Kevin Steele, 4th year

Player to watch: WR Reggie Newhouse

2001-02 ATS record: 4-6

Victory margin: —20

Comments: Big plus with new defensive coordinator Bob Trott, who was secondary coach for Bill Parcells at New England and under Ken Hatfield at Arkansas, Air Force and Clemson. Dave Baldwin (ex-San Jose head coach) inherits an anemic offense. Bears have lost 29 straight conference games.

 

TEXAS TECH

Head coach: Mike Leach, 4th year.

Player to watch: QB Kliff Kingsbury

2001-02 ATS record: 5-6

Victory margin: +6

Comments: 75 new school records under Leach. Kingsbury (3502 yds, 25 TD last year) will throw even more with RB Ricky Williams graduating. Senior MLB Lawrence Flugence (6-2, 244) led Big 12 with 145 tackles. Certain OVER play in Game 3 vs Eli Manning and Ole Miss.