My early Big 12 predictions for 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Call me a soothsayer or just a predictor of events. Here's a look at five early 2009 predictions for the Big 12.
1. Sooners denied again. Oklahoma and coach Bob Stoops will lose another BCS game, dropping a 35-31 decision in the upcoming matchup with Florida later this week. But the Sooners win plaudits in the loss with a gritty performance in their best outing during a five-game BCS losing streak. The game is settled only when Tim Tebow directs the Gators on a dramatic game-winning drive settled when Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin beats loquacious Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks for the game-winning TD in the final minute.
2. Early NFL draft departures strip the league's talent. The balance of power in the league is profoundly shaped for 2009 after Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and tight end Jermaine Gresham, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung all leave school to declare for the NFL draft. The net loss of talent keeps the Big 12 South from claiming its position as the nation's toughest division for a second-straight season.
3. The Red River Rivalry percolates. In one of the most anticipated games in Big 12 history, Texas beats Oklahoma, 34-17, to take control of the South Division early in the conference race. In an expectation almost as certain as the steady stream of fans eating corny dogs before the game outside the Cotton Bowl, Texas fans boo heralded Oklahoma freshman defensive tackle Jamarcus McFarland every time he takes the field.
4. Bo's first division title. After Nebraska coach Bo Pelini inserts Zac Lee into the starting lineup, the Cornhuskers catch fire and cruise to the North Division title in a tight race that features four teams that eventually make bowl trips -- Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. The Cornhuskers don't have enough firepower, however, to beat Texas. The Longhorns win their conference title since 2005 after a 38-24 triumph over the Cornhuskers to cruise to the BCS title game after a 12-1 season marred only by a loss at Oklahoma State.
5. McCoy's Heisman moment. Not only do the Longhorns claim the league championship, but Colt McCoy has a huge season to become the first quarterback from his school to ever claim the Heisman Trophy. His victory comes over runner-up Tebow, who faces the Big 12 champion again in the 2010 national championship game at the Rose Bowl.