Big 12 forecast: Missouri will show 'em again in 2008
After years of tilting southward, the Big 12 has found balance. It didn't find it because the South Division weakened. (In fact, the top three teams in the South are ranked in the top 15 nationally.) The Big 12 is balanced because the North has muscled up. Missouri is a national power. Kansas is coming off a top-10 finish. Nebraska and Colorado show promise of returning to their once-dominant status. The league has never appeared stronger. Come January, there will be benefits to reap.
1. Oklahoma will win a BCS game.
Enough is enough. Stoops, 0-for-his-last-four BCS bowls, will reclaim his nickname of Big Game Bob.
2. Missouri will show it's not a one-year wonder.
The Tigers have a lot of returning talent and the attitude that they haven't achieved anything yet. When combined with knowing what to expect in big games, that's dangerous.
3. Kansas will show it is a one-year wonder.
The Jayhawks schedule is tougher than a breakfast steak, and let's face it: no one goes injury-free two seasons in a row. Even Mark Mangino acknowledges his team has a lack of depth.
4. The surprise team in the Big 12 North will be Colorado.
The Buffs are experienced and young -- always a good combination. Colorado freshman tailback Darrell Scott, who rushed for 86 yards on 14 carries in the opening scrimmage on Monday -- all with a sore groin -- and sophomore quarterback Cody Hawkins are going to make each other very, very good.
5. It's going to be an ugly year at Texas A&M.
The transition from an option-based offense to a pro-style is going to take a) time, and b) different recruiting. The Aggies have a severe shortage of able-bodied offensive linemen, and they are in the toughest division west of the SEC East.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Ivan at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book, "The Maisel Report: College Football's Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Coaches, Teams, & Traditions," is on sale now.
2008 College Football Preview
The long wait for the start of the 2008 college football season is finally over. Get ready for the season with an in-depth look at the teams, trends, players and coaches. Index
• Maisel: Let the campaign '08 debate begin
• Bloggers: State of each conference
• Schlabach: Hot and not for 2008
• Maisel: Full speed ahead for offenses
• Maisel: Defending the fast-tempo spread
• Maisel: Nation's fastest teams
• Forde: SEC coaches in a league of their own
• Forde: Johnson stuck as SEC's roadie
• Schlabach: The nation's alpha-male coaches
• Schlabach: Coaches on the hot seat
• Maisel: Road left to travel for black coaches
• Schlabach: Critical mass await Ohio State
• Edwards: Are BCS voter tired of the Buckeyes?
• Edwards: Parity puts BCS at crossroads
• Feldman: Ten best-kept secrets
2008 Preseason All-America team
• Maisel: Preseason All-America team
What to watch
• Eighth annual Herbie Awards
• ESPN's experts' predictions
• Schlabach: Games to watch
• Schlabach: Intriguing games
• Bloggers: Preseason conference predictions
• Bloggers: Games to watch
• Schlabach: Clemson craving title
• Dinich: In the Wake of success
• Dinich: Coast toast for Hokies?
• ACC needs Canes, Noles to win
• Rittenberg: Innovation not new to Big Ten
• Rittenberg: UM QBs adapt to offense
• Schlabach: Pryor's role with Ohio State
• Maisel: Big 12 QBs face burden of proof
• Griffin: Where have the Big 12 runners gone?
• Griffin: Northern exposure
• Feldman: Is Crabtree the best college WR ever?
• Schlabach: Stewart's challenge at West Virginia
• Bennett: Knight moves focused on Teel
• Tulsa building foundation for success
• Pirates sailing toward uncharted waters
• Watson: Are the Irish coming of age?
• Watson: Tenuta's tenacious D
• Maisel: Army exploring its options
• Watson: MAC QBs hope to share the spotlight
• Dinich: Golden touch working at Temple
• Watson: NIU's Kill found new perspective
• Watson: BYU-Utah going national?
• Watson: TCU looks to regroup
• Maisel: Son also rises at UCLA
• Miller: Stable is the USC Way
• Miller: Huskies counting on Locker
• Low: SEC's uncertain QB landscape
• Low: Tebow still learning
• Maisel: Richt knows expectations
• Schlabach: Coach, QB to keep Owls soaring
• Watson: Will tough schedule propel Fresno State?
• Watson: QB battle has Nevada thinking big
• Georgia tops preseason power rankings
• Preseason Bottom 10: Lollapaloozers
• Conference preseason power rankings
• Bloggers: Ranking the coaches | Hot seat
• Predict the college football upsets each week.
Play College Pick 'Em