Saturday, August 20, 2005

Cheap Seats Mega Football Preview 2005: Texas, A&M, Tech and our All-Big XII Team

Cheap Seats said yesterday that Oklahoma is still on top. So what to the Texas teams have to do to wrestle the crown from the Sooners? That's the subject of today's preview.

Texas Tech
The Skinny: Normally you don't like to see a program go into a year with a QB controversy, but Texas Tech has put in a new quarterback every year for the past 2 years and has still improved every year. The defense improved from 110th to 46th, and should be better this season, but they need to show it.

Schedule
DateOpponentProjected W/L
9/10Florida InternationalW
9/17Sam Houston StateW
9/24Indiana StateW
10/1KansasW
10/8at NebraskaW
10/15Kansas StateW
10/22at TexasL
10/29at BaylorW
11/5Texas A&MW
11/12at Oklahoma StateW
11/19OklahomaL

Position Ratings
QB: 3 - It doesn't really matter who starts
RB: 5 - Taurean Henderson is the second-best all-purpose back in the nation behind Reggie Bush
WR: 5 - Double-cover Jarrett Hicks and Joel Filani will burn you
IR/TE: 4 - Even if Cody Fuller sticks to baseball, this unit will be great at keeping drives alive. Bristol Olomua will throw some blocks on running plays.
OL: 3 - They are younger than last year, but they will have 3 games to gel before their first big test

DL: 4 - Even with Kenyuta Dawson stepping in for the graduated Adell Duckett, the line should get some heat on the QB
LB: 3 - Will Fletcher Sessions be the answer next to Brock Stratton and John Saldi?
CB: 4 - Khalid Nadruzzin and Antonio Huffman are experienced corners with speed.
S: 4 - Vincent Meeks is a playmaker and Dwayne Slay could be a future one.

Kicking Game: 3 - Alex Reyes is also a Ray Guy candidate, but either Alex Trlicka or kickoff specialist Keith Toogood must be more consistent on field goals
Return Game: 4 - Danny Amendola could be the next Wes Welker

What the Red Raiders must do to win:
1. Show more improvement on defense - 46th in the nation is an improvement for Texas Tech under Mike Leach, but it has to take the next step and become a dominating unit.
2. Get the field goal situation straight - Missed kicks have cost Tech in the past
3. Protect the QB and open holes for Henderson - The offensive line has 3 easy games to get it's act together.

Projection:If they could get over the mental blocks of Oklahoma and playing Texas in Austin and hold court against A&M like they have before, they could be a force in the Big XII. As it stands, they are still a notch below Oklahoma and Texas. 9-2 overall, 6-2 conference, tied for 3rd with A&M, and a Cotton Bowl berth.

Texas A&M
The Skinny: Texas A&M, like Texas Tech, is improving every season. They are a team on the rise in the Big XII, and many think they could be a surprise team this year because Dennis Franchione's teams have always improved in their 3rd year. And everyone likes Reggie McNeal However, closer inspection reveals some questions that must be answered before the Aggies can enter the top tier of the South

Schedule
DateOpponentProjected W/L
9/3at ClemsonL
9/10SMUW
9/24Texas StateW
10/1BaylorW
10/8at ColoradoW
10/15Oklahoma StateW
10/22at Kansas StateW
10/29Iowa StateW
11/5at Texas TechL
11/12at OklahomaW
11/25TexasL

Position Ratings
QB: 5 - Reggie McNeal is what makes this offense go.
RB: 4 - Courtney Lewis will provide some balance
WR: 2 - Loss of Terrence Murphy hurts this unit as none of the returning receivers have more than 200 yards receiving
TE: 4 - Boone Stutz and Joey Thomas are decent safety valves.
OL: 3 - Must provide better pass protection.

DL: 3 - Huge run stuffing line, but need to get to the QB
LB: 4 - Solid but not spectacular
CB: 2 - Probably the only weakness on the defense is it's corner depth
S: 4 - Jaxon Appel is a run stopper, Japhus Brown should help in coverage.

Kicking Game: 4 - Todd Pegram is a consistent kicker and could win the Groza award and Reggie Bean should improve the punting position
Return Game: 1 - Not only are there no game breakers, but the kick return team averaged 15 yards per return, good for 118th out of 119 D-1 teams, and the punt return team was 97th in the nation!

What the Aggies must do to win:
1. Get more out of the pass rush and blitz - Those corners need help from the front seven.
2. Improve their pass coverage - If they want to finally get over the Lubbock hump, they need to be better against the pass
3. Better coverage teams and return teams - They must start winning the field position game in close matchups.

Projection: No one would who knows would look at you funny if you pick this team to win the South, but it just isn't going to happen. 8-3 overall, 6-2 in conference, tied with Texas Tech for 3rd and going to the Holiday Bowl

Texas
The Skinny: Everyone says that Vince Young is all-world. Everyone says that Texas is going back to the Rose Bowl this year.

Why is everyone saying this? Vince Young ran roughshod over Michigan in last season's Rose Bowl. What they forget is that Michigan did just as good a job against Texas's defense and the game was decided by a field goal.

What everyone forgets is that Vince Young had the now-graduated Cedric Benson in the backfield and no help at reciever. Now Benson's gone, replaced by a trio of backs that are not as good, and that the recieving corps is still shaky. Still, the offensive line and defense are good enough to make them a repeat BCS team. They just won't be a national title contender until they win the Red River Shootout.

Schedule
DateOpponentProjected W/L
9/3Louisiana-LafayetteW
9/10at Ohio StateW
9/17RiceW
10/1at MissouriW
10/8Oklahoma*L
10/15ColoradoW
10/22Texas TechW
10/29at Oklahoma StateW
11/5at BaylorW
11/12KansasW
11/25at Texas A&MW

* - Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

Position Ratings
QB: 4 - Vince Young is good, but there's only one backup if he gets hurt.
RB: 2 - Selvin Young is still recovering from injury, not a whole lot of experience behind him
WR: 1 - Too young and inconsistent to help VY out
TE: 5 - David Thomas is the team's most consistent possession reciever.
OL: 5 - One of the best in the league with 4 NFL prospects.

DL: 5 - Basically the same as last year and just as good with 2 tackles who are all Big XII
LB: 4 - Aaron Harris is solid, but who will replace Derrick Johnson
CB: 5 - Should be fine, provided they aren't playing Braylon Edwards
S: 4 - Michael Huff is a good all-around safety

Kicking Game: 3 - Richmond McGee returns, but Kicker David Pino must prove himself
Return Game: 4 - Depends on Selvin Young's overall health

What the Longhorns must do to win:
1. Get a passing game going - Selvin Young and Vince Young can't carry this offense. One of the recievers has to show they can make plays.
2. Get rid of the mental blocks - They can outhink themselves at times and get intimidated at others.
3. Outside linebackers must step up - They have to get good pass rush and coverage on TEs and backs out of the backfield

Projection: They will be back in the BCS, but they won't get over the OU hump. 10-1 overall, 7-1 in conference, a first place tie with OU (tie broken by the Red River Shootout), and an at-large BCS bid
Big XII South Summary
TeamConferenceOverallNotes
Oklahoma7-111-1The team to beat until someone knocks them off
Texas7-110-1Good, but can't win the Red River Shootout
Texas Tech6-29-2Bill Snyder is embarrased at that schedule
Texas A&M6-28-3Need help from WRs
Oklahoma State2-64-7Taking a huge step back
Baylor0-83-8Like every single year

Big XII Summary

Big XII Championship Game: Oklahoma over Colorado
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
Defensive Player of the Year: Charles Gordon, Kansas
Special Teams Player of the Year: Todd Pegram, Texas A&M
Coach of the Year: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
All Big-XII First Team
Pos.PlayerSchoolPos.PlayerSchool

QB

Reggie McNealTexas A&M

DL

Dusty DvoracekOklahoma

RB

Adrian PetersonOklahoma

DL

Larry DibblesTexas

RB

Taurean HendersonTexas Tech

DL

Rodrique WrightTexas

TE

Joel KlopfensteinColorado

DL

Jermial AshleyKansas

WR

Jarrett HicksTexas Tech

OLB

Clint IngramOklahoma

WR

D'Shaun WoodsOSU

MLB

Aaron HarrisTexas

WR

Travis WilsonOklahoma

MLB

Kevin KaneKansas

OL

Johnathan ScottTexas

OLB

Rufus AlexanderOklahoma

OL

Will AllenTexas

CB

Charles GordonKansas

OL

Mark FentonColorado

S

Darrien WilliamsOklahoma

OL

Justin BlalockTexas

S

Michael HuffTexas

OL

E.J. WhitleyTexas Tech

CB

Cedrick GriffinTexas

K

Todd PegramTexas A&M

P

Daniel SepulvedaBaylor

Ret

Charles GordonKansas

Ret

Danny AmendolaTexas Tech
All-Big XII Second Team
Pos.PlayerSchoolPos.PlayerSchool

QB

Vince YoungTexas

DL

Kenyuta DawsonTexas Tech

RB

Cory RossNebraska

DL

Le Kevin SmithNebraska

RB

Gerald GreenKansas

DL

Tim CrowderTexas

TE

David ThomasTexas

DL

C.J. Ah YouOklahoma

WR

Sean CoffeyMissouriOLBNick ReidKansas

WR

Quentin ChaneyOklahomaMLBJordon DizonColorado

WR

Joel FilaniTexas Tech

MLB

Brock StrattonTexas Tech

OL

Davin JosephOklahoma

OLB

Brian IwuhColorado

OL

Kasey StuddardTexas

CB

Marcus WalkerOklahoma

OL

Cody WallaceTexas A&M

S

Jason SimpsonMissouri

OL

Manuel RamirezTexas Tech

S

Vincent MeeksTexas Tech

OL

Brian DanielsColorado

CB

Marcus KingMissouri

K

Mason CrosbyColorado

P

Alex ReyesTexas Tech

Ret

Willie AndrewsBaylor

Ret

Selvin YoungTexas

Next: Part 6: Cheap Seats BlogPoll Ballot, BCS Projections, and Bowl Games
Back: Part 4: Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

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