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Friday, August 19, 2011
Five predictions for the Big 12 in 2011

By David Ubben

We'll cap our Big 12 preview today with five predictions for the year.

1. The Big 12 will have two teams in BCS bowls. The Big 12 did it in 2007 and 2008, but hadn't done it since the 2004 season before that. This year, the Big 12 is in perfect position to land two teams on college football's grandest stage. Oklahoma, tied with Ohio State at eight appearances for the most in the nation, is the league's surest thing, but there are three quality teams below the Sooners that can get it done. The winner of the Sept. 24 matchup between Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in College Station will lose only to Oklahoma and reach a BCS bowl.

2. Texas Tech and Missouri will have a 1,000-yard rusher. Oklahoma will not. Hop aboard the Eric Stephens and Kendial Lawrence buses. They're going a long ways. For Tech, it'll be the first 1,000-yard rusher since Ricky Williams (no, not that one) in 1998. Both players have strong offensive lines and first-year starters at quarterback. Each is fully capable of handling a big load, and will do it. Meanwhile, Oklahoma will ride its experience at quarterback and receiver while a platoon of running backs split the duty.

3. Oklahoma will go undefeated and play for a national title. The injury to Travis Lewis, possible ineligibility of Ronnell Lewis and a trip to Tallahassee in Week 3 won't deter the Sooners. The offensive firepower is enough to push the Sooners through a rough Big 12 slate unscathed. What happens in that national title game? Well, we'll find out in January, won't we?

4. Texas will not finish in the top half of the Big 12. The Big 12 has too many quality teams with too many quality offenses. Texas reaches a bowl game, but finishes behind Missouri and Baylor, setting for a sixth-place finish heading into a strong spring.

5. Justin Blackmon will become the second player to ever repeat as Biletnikoff Award winner. Believe it or not, but only Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree has won the 17-year-old award twice. That changes this year. Blackmon is the nation's best receiver and he proves it for a second year. His numbers dip to around 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns, but it's still enough to be the clear winner.