2008 May be Big XII's year to remember - KMOV.com

2008 May be Big XII's year to remember

Kansas City, MO (KMOV.com) -- Talk about a typical Big XII football game. Roughly four hours, 916 yards, and 77 points later Kansas walked away with the Indian War Drum. I find it hard to believe that as 16-point favorites Missouri would overlook their most hated rivals but instead were just a part in yet another impressive Big XII high-scoring shootout.

While Kansas won the game 40-37 in a nail-biter witnessed by 79,000+ at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, the real winner was the Big XII Conference. With seven of the twelve Big XII teams having a winning record and five of those seven ranked in the top 25 the conference as a whole is considered by many as the best in the country.

With some of the best offensive teams in the country it is hard to find a conference that gives its fans a better in-conference game. Five of the top seven scoring teams in the country call the Big XII home (Oklahoma (#1): 52.6 points per game, Missouri (#4): 45.7, Texas Tech (#5): 45.5, Texas (#6): 43.9, Oklahoma State (#7): 41.6).

However, while 2008 is a year that has put the Big XII in the limelight when it comes to running the spread offense with unbelievable efficiency and lighting up scoreboards, next year could be one in which we see the conference struggle.

All of the current ranked Big XII teams will either lose or have the possibility of losing their starting quarterbacks. Texas Tech (Graham Harrell), Kansas (Todd Reesing), and Missouri (Chase Daniel) will have to replace their Heisman candidate quarterbacks who they will lose to graduation while Texas (Colt McCoy), Oklahoma State (Zac Robinson), and Oklahoma (Sam Bradford) have to realistically look at the possibility of losing their quarterbacks to early entry in the NFL draft as they will all be upperclassmen at the beginning of the 2009 season.

Although teams could lose some of their best signal callers to the draft this year there are plenty of young and talented players that will undoubtedly burst onto the scene next year and try to keep the Big XII at the top of the football landscape for another year.

For example, two bottom feeders of this year's Big XII conference have a lot to look forward to in the future. Iowa State and Baylor have a couple of young quarterbacks that have a lot of talent that could bid them well in next year's chase for the Big XII crown.

Austen Arnaud the starting quarterback for the Iowa State Cyclones (2-10, 0-8) is only a sophomore who had a rough year at the helm of the Cyclones without a win in conference play, but did show flashes of good play throughout the year and in the game against Missouri specifically.

Baylor (2-6, 4-8) has the potential to have a big year in 2009. It's just too bad they play in the Big XII South and have to compete with annual powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma on a yearly basis. They have a freshman quarterback in Robert Griffin that lead the Bears to near upsets against several conference opponents and finished his first college season with a 142.15 QB rating (158.3 is a perfect QB rating).

Griffin also set a major college football record for the most pass attempts to start a career without an interception at 205 and almost lead the Bears to upset wins over Texas Tech and Missouri losing by seven points and three points respectively.

Losing players to the NFL draft is a part of college football and while it is a bit of a downer to see players leave their teams early and enter the draft it is always fun to see what players, those highly recruited and those that aren't, emerge as the nation's best and carry their team.

With the possibility of losing so many good players and leaders (specifically McCoy, Bradford, and Robinson) on their respective teams the Big XII Conference is not likely to be as dominant as they are this year. But if the past couple of years in college football have taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected and never sleep on the underdogs.

Brandon Schatsiek is a Journalism student at the University of Missouri

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