- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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Peering into the crystal ball revealed the following five predictions for the 2007 Big 12 season:
1. The South Division will continue to pound on the North. The rise of Texas A&M and Oklahoma State is expanding the gap between the divisions. Come back, Colorado -- the North needs you.
2. Colorado will come back. The Buffaloes played better than their 2-10 record last year. They will match that victory total in the first four weeks (Colorado State, at Arizona State, Florida State, Miami (Ohio)) and knock someone out of the Big 12 conference championship.
3. No division in college football has a better group of quarterbacks than the South. Who wins first-team All-Big-12? Graham Harrell of Texas Tech will have the best numbers, Colt McCoy of Texas will have the most wins, Bobby Reid of Oklahoma State will be the most electrifying, and Stephen McGee of Texas A&M just will get the job done. But my pick is from the North: Sam Keller of Nebraska.
4. Missouri will disappoint again. The Tigers are the smart guy's pick to win the Big 12 North. The schedule favors them: Nebraska comes to Columbia and Kansas switched their home game to a neutral site (Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium). Still, I can't get the fall from last season's 6-0 start to its 8-5 finish out of my head. Gary Pinkel also must rebuild the defense.
5. Some transitions go more smoothly than others (Kansas State). Then there is Iowa State. The Cyclones have only 11 starters returning from a 4-8 team. When you mix inexperience with a new coaching staff led by a first-time head coach (Gene Chizik), that is a recipe for a long autumn.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dAndrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna