Where were you on 10-07-1933?
This was probably before most of you were born. The title of this article and the above question played a key role in my 2010 Big 12 football predictions. Most of the prognosticators, Dave Campbell and others, picked the Nebraska Cornhuskers to win the Big 12 North.
The first and only time Nebraska defeated the Texas Longhorns in Lincoln, Nebraska was 10-07-1933. I call the Nebraska Stadium, "Darrell K. Royal North." Since the beginning of the Big 12, Texas' record against Nebraska is 8-1. Three of the victories was a DKR North.
It is not a secret that Nebraska is looking at Texas as the game of the year. Prior to playing Texas, Nebraska has to travel to Washington and Kansas State. The Kansas State game will be on Thursday night, nine days before they play Texas. In addition to looking ahead to Texas, there is the Thursday night jinx. I am picking Kansas State to upset Nebraska in that Thursday night game. Nebraska also has to travel to College Station to play the Texas A&M Aggies. There are three conference losses for the Cornhuskers (Kansas State, A&M, and Texas).
My prediction in the Big 12 North is as follows:
3. Kansas State
5. Iowa State
Missouri is being tabbed as the winner for several reasons. One main reason pertains to the article's title. Nebraska is moving to the Big Ten, and Missouri is angry because the Big Ten did not invite them. Missouri will be fired up to prove the Big Ten wrong.
An explanation for the title: After Nebraska goes to the Big Ten and Colorado exits to the PAC 10, the Big 12 will have ten teams. With the addition of Nebraska, the Big Ten will have 12 teams. A few years ago, Penn State was added to the Big Ten.
Like Texas Tech, Missouri has the "System" in place. Missouri has the best offensive line in the North Division. That is where games are won. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is the best quarterback in the North. One writer said, "Nebraska's weakness, Ndamukong Suh is gone, and quarterback Zac Lee is not."
Dave Campbell has the Big 12 North as follows:
2. Kansas State
5. Iowa State
Kansas lost a tremendous amount of players, including most of the skill players. They return the entire starting offensive line, and they have a very positive coach in Turner Gill. He will have the Jayhawks ready for his alma mater, Nebraska.
It was tempting to pick Kansas over Kansas State, but KSU returns Big 12's leading rusher, Daniel Thomas. Kansas State also has an experienced offensive line.
Iowa State has a murderous schedule. Colorado has a quarterback controversy, and a coach, Dan Hawkins, "standing on a banana peel." This will probably be Hawkins' last year at Colorado.
My prediction for Big 12 South:
2. Texas A&M
4. Texas Tech
5. Oklahoma State
Dave Campbell's Prediction
3. Texas A&M
4. Texas Tech
6. Oklahoma State
Many experts are picking Oklahoma to win the South Division. If the Oklahoma Tech game was in Lubbock, I would have picked the Red Raiders third instead of the Sooners.
The Texas-Alabama National Championship game answered some questions about the 2010 Longhorns. New quarterback Garrett Gilbert gained a ton of confidence which will help him in Jones Stadium and the Cotton Bowl.
Being a fan of the offensive line, I noticed something else that had an impact on Gilbert's improvement. Center Chris Hall injured his knee while receiving a leg whipping penalty. David Snow replaced Hall, and the protection improved immediately. On the first touchdown pass to Jordan Shipley, I counted one thousand and one, one thousand and two, etc. The elapsed time from the center snapping the ball, and the ball leaving Gilbert's hand was unbelievable. I had time to go to the kitchen and get a sandwich. Hall is gone, and Snow returns. The offensive line is going to be hungry.
Texas has probably the best defensive backfield in the nation. Of the four starters, three (Aaron Williams, Curtis Brown, and Blake Gideon) are on the watch list for the national Defensive Back of the Year Award. Christian Scott and Brownwood's Kenny Vaccaro are battling it out for the fourth spot. They are two of the hardest hitting defensive backs I have seen. In today's football, a great defensive backfield is extremely important.
For second place, there is not much difference in Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. As a group, the Aggies have probably the greatest skill position players in the nation (quarterback Jerrod Johnson, running backs Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray, and receivers Jeff Fuller and Uzoma Nwachukwu). However, they lost both offensive tackles and the center. They ended the spring with a true freshman (Luke Joeckel) starting center starting at the very important left tackle spot.
Oklahoma has some great skill players in receiver Ryan Broyles and running back DeMarco Murray. However, they had problems in the offensive line in 2009. The starting center was a converted fullback.
Texas Tech returns both quarterbacks (Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts) and seven of the top eight receivers. They also have an outstanding running back in Baron Batch. However, they return only two starters in the offensive line. Gone from the line is Brandon Carter who I think was the conference's best player in 2008-09. Check out what he did to Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh (Tech 31 - Nebraska 10). Tech lost when Mike Leach suspended Carter for a game. That will teach Carter to text!
Have you noticed a pattern? The Aggies, Sooners, and Red Raiders have excellent skill players but weak in the offensive line. If this was 7 on 7, they would be the top three teams in the nation.
Texas A&M plays Oklahoma and Tech at Kyle Field. Tech travels to Oklahoma and A&M. This explains the predicted finish.
Okalhoma State now has the offensive coordinator for the "system." Dana Holgorsen was Mike Leach's offensive guru before Holgorsen moved to the Houston Cougars. Under Holgorsen, both teams gained a tremendous amount of yardage. He is now at Oklahoma State. Will Coach Mike Gundy let Holorsen run the offense? Gundy normally handles the offense. You remember Coach Gundy yelling, "I'm a man! I'm forty."
Gundy is now 42 or 43, but I believe he will let Holgorsen run the offense enough to nose out Baylor for fifth place. Plus, Baylor has one hope (quarterback Robert Griffin). Will he be the same after the severely injured knee? This could be the year the Bears go bowling. My goal is for all six of the South teams to qualify for a bowl.
My prediction is Texas over Missouri in what might be the final Big 12 Championship Game.