Texas has question marks, but still the favorite in Big 12

TEXAS _ McCoy threw for 2,570 yards and completed 68 percent of
his passes. He says he's fully recovered from a pinched nerve in
his neck that hampered him in the finale against A&M. ... Duane
Akina and Larry Mac Duff will share defensive coordinator duties.
... Redshirt freshman Sherrod Harris and true freshman John Chiles
will compete for the backup quarterback job.
OKLAHOMA _ The starting quarterback, whoever he is, will have a
loaded offense around him. Most of the line is back, as are the top
five receivers from last year, including all-Big 12 pick Malcolm
Kelly. ... The Sooners may not miss Adrian Peterson all that much.
Senior Allen Patrick (761 yards, four TDs) and sophomore Chris
Brown (343 yards, six TDs) shared the load when Peterson broke his
collarbone last year, and Stoops thinks redshirt freshman DeMarco
Murray may be the most explosive back of the three.
TEXAS A&M _ The Aggies have 15 starters back, including
quarterback Stephen McGee. The junior threw for 2,295 yards and
completed 62 percent of his passes in 2006. ... A&M has one of the
league's most varied running back tandems with 265-pound battering
ram Jorvorskie Lane (725 yards, 19 TDs) and speedster Michael
Goodson (847 yards, four TDs). ... The defense allowed more than
330 yards in five of last seven games, including 476 in the Holiday
Bowl loss to Cal.
OKLAHOMA STATE _ Wide receiver Adarius Bowman (60 receptions,
1,181 yards, 12 TDs) might be a Heisman Trophy contender. Bowman
averaged 19.7 yards per catch and had five TD catches of 50 yards
or longer in 2006. ... Dual-threat quarterback Bobby Reid threw for
24 touchdowns and ran for five more. ... The Cowboys gave up 26
points per game last season and ranked ninth in the league in total
defense (364 yards per game).
TEXAS TECH _ Quarterback Graham Harrell threw for 4,555 yards in
2006, more than 1,000 yards more than the next closest quarterback
in the Big 12 (Chase Daniel). He led the league in total offense
(345 yards), completions (412) and TD passes (38), though he also
threw 11 interceptions. ... Texas Tech had the nation's third-best
passing offense in 2006 (370 yards per game), though they led the
nation in the previous four seasons.
BAYLOR _ Like the Sooners, the Bears are looking for a starting
quarterback. Kent State transfer Michael Machen is the
front-runner, though Coach Guy Morriss says junior-college transfer
John David Weed ``has closed the gap.'' ... Baylor had the worst
rushing defense in the Big 12 (191 yards per game) in 2006.

MISSOURI _ The Tigers may never get a better shot at tiptoeing
to the top of the league. Quarterback Chase Daniel (3,527 yards, 28
TDs) is one of nine starters returning for an offense that averaged
426 yards and 30 points per game in 2006. ... Missouri started 6-0
last year, then lost five of its last seven when the defense
allowed an average of 26 points. ... The same day Texas plays
Oklahoma, Missouri hosts Nebraska in an equally pivotal game in the
Big 12 North.
NEBRASKA _ A killer schedule could mask how good the Cornhuskers
will be. The nonconference slate includes a road trip to defending
Atlantic Coast Conference champ Wake Forest and a showdown with
Southern California in Lincoln a week later. ... Arizona transfer
Sam Keller steps in to replace quarterback Zac Taylor (3,197 yards,
26 TDs) who was the league's top offensive player in 2006.
KANSAS STATE _ Quarterback Josh Freeman (1,780 yards, six TDs)
threw 15 interceptions last season as a freshman and must cut down
that total and gain more consistency. ... The road schedule is
brutal _ the Wildcats open at Auburn and finish the season at
Fresno State. In between are games at Texas, Oklahoma State and
Nebraska. ... Junior linebacker Ian Campbell led the Big 12 in solo
tackles for loss (15).
COLORADO _ The Buffaloes are also auditioning quarterbacks and
the candidates are junior-college transfer Nick Nelson and Cody
Hawkins, the son of Coach Dan Hawkins. Colorado had the Big 12's
worst offense in 2006, averaging 16 points and 291 yards. ... The
Buffs lost five defensive starters, including Big 12 sacks leader
Abe Wright.
KANSAS _ The Jayhawks went 6-6 in 2006, but blew four
second-half leads. Kansas was outscored five times in the fourth
quarter. ... Eight starters return for a defense that ranked third
in the league against the rush (109 yards per game). ... Kansas
must replace running back Jon Cornish, the league's leading rusher.
IOWA STATE _ Chizik was hired to shore up a defense that gave up
31 points and 392 yards per game last season. Seven defensive
starters return, including linebacker Alvin Bowen, the league's top
tackler in 2006. ... Wide receiver Todd Blythe (34 catches, 484
yards) has 124 career receptions for 2,317 yards and 26 touchdowns.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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