Monthly Archives: August 2012
TCU has had a whirlwind 12 months, they joined the Big East, but had one more season in the Mountain West. Then Texas A&M left the Big 12, leaving a big spot that the Texas based conference needed to fill. TCU has had so much recent success, they were a no brainer. In the middle of all this conference mess, TCU had to play a season. TCU had another solid season, highlighted by a win at Boise State, and one last Mountain West title. Now TCU must play in perhaps the deepest conference in the nation, and will be tested like never before.
TCU has been known for its defense, but last season the TCU D didn’t live up to Horned Frogs standards. This season, the frogs return 5 starters, including 3 on the front line. The TCU D line will be their strength, and they’ll count on DE Stansly Maponga to apply pressure to all the Big 12 QBs. Outside linebacker Kenny Cain will be in charge of stopping the run, while a young secondary will be pressured in the conference known to throw the rock all around the field. TCU has always ran a 4-2-5, which will serve them well in the Big 12.
TCU’s offense came alive last season, and no one was more important to the Frogs offensive explosion than now Junior QB Casey Pachall. Pachall will be asked to lead the Frogs into the Big 12, and to keep up with all the other live arms in the always high flying Big 12. TCU will still run the ball, especially with Waymon James and Mattew Tucker returning. Both ran for over 700 yards last season, and are ready to pick up where they left off. The O-line lost 3 starters, but return all conference guard Blaize Foltz. Wide Receiver Josh Boyce should be even better, and should be Pachall’s favorite target.
TCU is poised to make some noise in their 1st season in the Big 12, but they might lack the D to control the Big 12’s spread offenses. Coach Gary Patterson prides himself on defense, so if they do in fact manage to stop the high powered offenses, don’t be too surprised. Pachall is as good a QB as this conference has, so TCU is capable of winning a few shoot outs. My prediction, 10-3 with an upset victory at West Virginia.
Last season was a roller coaster for the Texas Aggies. Before the season even started, the Aggies announced that they were leaving the Big 12 conference, and going to the Deep South to play in the SEC. The Aggies started the season in the top 10, but quickly fell as they gave up big lead after big lead. The biggest heart breaker came against former rival Texas, in what is to be the last game between the Aggies and Longhorns, the Horns stunned the Aggies with a last second field goal in College Station. Coach Sherman got fired, and the Aggies decided to enter the SEC with new Head Coach Kevin Sumlin from University of Houston.
Defense is everything in the SEC, and the Aggies struggled on this side of the ball, as so many Big 12 teams do. The Ags hired a new D coordinator, Mark Snyder. Snyder is changing up the Ags 3-4 D to a more traditional 4-3. The problem with this, is this season the defensive line is very thin and very weak. The big o-lines of the SEC might bully the Aggies front 4 this season. The strength of the A&M defense will be linebacker, since the Aggies recruited several linebackers for a 3-4 D. Sean Porter, the outside linebacker, should be the star of the D. The Defensive backs are inexperienced, but talented.
This is the side of the ball where Coach Sumlin and his team can shine, if Redshirt Freshman QB Johnny Manziel can grasp Sumlin’s passing attack. Wide Receiver Ryan Swope will be a reliable target for Manziel, and redshirt freshman Mike Evans will be a big target with his 6’5 height. The offensive line will truly be a strength, anchored by left tackle Luke Joeckel. The o-line will be able to open running lanes for running back Christine Michael, and expect freshman Trey Williams to get some carries as well.
The Aggies should be able to score points as well as any team in the SEC, the difference in a winning season and a fight just to be bowl eligible will be if the defense can stop anybody. The defensive line will get pushed around a lot, but if the linebackers can stuff the run, the Aggies might have a chance. My prediction is 7-5, with a big win vs former big 12 foe Missouri at home to end the season.
Texas A&M and UTSA were both scheduled to travel to the Gulf coast, and play the opening day of college football, Thursday night. Due to Hurricane Isaac, both games have been moved. Texas A&M will now play Louisiana Tech on October 13, both teams off week. This means the Aggies will not have a bye week this year, their 1st season in the SEC. UTSA was scheduled to play at South Alabama on Thursday, but the game has now been moved to Saturday.
Last season was clearly the year of the Baylor Bear, and with no disrespect to the 2012 NCAA Women’s basketball national champs, the highlight of the year of the bear was RG3 winning the Heisman trophy. Baylor, which has long been a doormat in the big 12, took center stage in the state of Texas with the state’s 1st Heisman Trophy since Ricky Williams. Now the real work begins for Baylor, the bears must prove that they are a mainstay as a top Big 12 team.
The Baylor Bears had a horrid defense last season, and was the reason Baylor didn’t win a Big 12 title. This season head coach Art Briles hopes the D takes a big step forward, returning 7 starters. Out of the 7 returning starters, none are more important than nickel back Ahmad Dixon. Dixon is the tweener in the 4-2-5 defense. Dixon must play like Linebacker, but cover like a Cornerback. The bears will improve on D if Cornerbacks K.J. Morton and Joe Williams can slow down the passing attacks in the Big 12. If multiyear starters Gary Mason Jr and Terrance Lloyd can get pressure on the QB, Baylor could very well see significant improvement.
The Baylor offense needs to replace not only RG3, but must also replace Wide out Kendall Wright and running back Terrance Ganaway, all NFL players now. The easiest will be replacing Wright, as senior wide out Terrance Williams is poised to have an all Big 12 year. Across from Williams is another senior, Lanear Sampson. Williams and Sampson will be one of the top duos in the Big 12, and will be able to stretch the field. Another player expected to stretch the field, is former Oregon running back Lache Seastrunk. Seastrunk was a standout running back in high school, down the road from Waco at Temple high. After redshirting at Oregon, Seastrunk came home and is now ready to dazzle central Texas again. The Baylor offensive line will still be solid, returning 3 starters. That just leaves the QB position, where senior QB Nick Florence is in charge of getting the ball to all these playmakers. Florence has looked good in games he played while RG3 is hurt, and should be efficient enough to keep the Baylor offense humming.
The big question mark for Baylor is still the defense, more specifically will they be able to stop the run. On offense, if Seastrunk becomes the star he can be, then the bears might not miss a beat offensively. My prediction, Baylor goes 8-4 with a big victory against new rival TCU. The last game of the season vs Oklahoma state could be the difference between another Alamo Bowl berth or going west to the Holiday Bowl.