Run and Shoot: Big 12: Let the Games Begin

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Big 12: Let the Games Begin

SAN ANTONIO -- The sun is shining, the ceiling has almost stopped leaking, and the Texas show has moved on as Big 12 media days come to a close in San Antonio. With the offensive powerhouses and superstar receivers in this conference, on any given Saturday, any team really can win.

Aside from the annual shootout in Dallas between South powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma, keep an eye on the October 6 Missouri vs. Nebraska match-up in Columbia, which may decide the Big 12 North champion. Both teams are well aware of the high stakes of this one. October 6 will also be a big day for Kansas and Kansas State, when the Wildcats host the Jayhawks in what will be a pride rematch for K-State.

Oklahoma State opens their season at Georgia, and a win in Athens is the first step toward a ranking for the offense-heavy Cowboys. Texas A&M will host Texas this time around in the final game of the regular season, and the Longhorns will certainly be looking for revenge for last year's upset.

Oklahoma State's Adarius Bowman and Texas' Limas Sweed are two of the many receivers to watch in the conference, and Kansas State defensive end Ian Campbell is a dark horse candidate for defensive player of the year honors. Kansas corner back Aqib Talib plans to lift his entire team to victory and Missouri tight ends Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman are both All-American candidates who should put on a show every week.

Texas Tech place kicker Alex Trlica holds the current NCAA record with 167 consecutive extra points, and although Tech's prolific spread offense should ensure enough scoring to keep Trlica out of the pressure cooker, the Red Raiders' inexperienced defense may mean Trlica will have to make a few more 52-yarders to win games for his team.

Defending champion Oklahoma will need to pick a quarterback and improve its passing offense if the Sooners are going to top Texas for the South title this time around.

First-year head coach Gene Chizik has his work cut out for him at Iowa State, but if a new offensive line can be broken in in time for conference play, Bret Meyer should have some time in the pocket to find Todd Blythe and put up some points. The resurgence of any sort of running game in Ames will depend on the maturity of that offensive line, as well.

Colorado is now in its second year under head coach Dan Hawkins' system, and the Buffs expect to return the program to respectability. Facing Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska at home will make that journey all the more difficult.

Assuming Texas can sure up its defensive woes and run the ball better than it has in the past, Colt McCoy should lead Texas to another 10-win season and a Big-12 title.

That's all from San Antonio. Check back for more Big 12 news in the coming weeks, including in-depth conference previews, predictions and team features as the countdown to kickoff continues.

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