Big 12: 2010 best/worst case rewind

Best/worst case rewind: Colorado

January, 10, 2011
1/10/11
3:30
PM ET
Inspired by our friends at the Big East blog, we'll take a look back at what we thought the best- and worst-case scenarios for each team were in August, and how it shook out now that January has arrived.

Next up: Colorado.

Best case: 6-6, with losses to California, Georgia, Missouri, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. A trip to a bowl game could save Dan Hawkins job, but he'd probably need to win it.

Worst case: 1-11, with the only win coming over Colorado State. Frustration hits an all-time high in Boulder, and Tyler Hansen gets benched for Cody Hawkins.

Reality: Colorado shot out of the gate and knocked off Hawaii and Georgia to begin its season at 3-1, but Dan Hawkins was fired after the Buffaloes blew a 45-17 lead in just more than 11 minutes to the last-place team in the Big 12, Kansas. Hansen was eventually relegated to the bench, but only because of an injured spleen that led to Hawkins leading Colorado to a pair of wins late in the year over Iowa State and Kansas State before a loss to Nebraska kept them out of the postseason.

Analysis: Colorado, outside of the aforementioned 11-minute stretch, didn't have anything close to a nightmare season, and was one of the league's big surprises in nonconference play. Hawaii and Colorado both ended up being decent teams, but the Buffaloes couldn't put it together in conference play. Hawkins' firing lit something under Colorado, an "energy that just wasn't there previously," as interim coach Brian Cabral described it. It wasn't enough for Colorado to pull a monumental upset over Nebraska in Lincoln to clinch a bowl bid, but Colorado started and ended its season playing some of its best football. They'll need that to continue into the Pac-12 to see success on the West Coast.

Best/worst case rewind: Baylor

January, 10, 2011
1/10/11
11:00
AM ET
Inspired by our friends at the Big East blog, we'll take a look back at what we thought the best and worst case scenarios for each team were in August, and how it shook out now that January has arrived.

First up: Baylor.

Best case: 8-4, with losses to TCU, Texas ("I don't see any way Baylor can win that game," said David Ubben. Whoops.), Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Finish with an appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl, Texas Bowl or TicketCity Bowl.

Worst case: Robert Griffin III is never the same after a knee injury, and/or gets re-injured and Baylor flounders to a 2-10 step backward after going 4-8 in 2009. Only wins come over Sam Houston State and Rice.

Reality: Baylor started its season 7-2 and shocked everybody by sitting alone atop the Big 12 South entering November. The Bears wouldn't notch another win, and finished 7-6 with a loss to Illinois in the Texas Bowl.

Analysis: My pick for Baylor when the season began was a 6-6 finish, plus a win in their bowl game, but I'd say this was pretty close. For the Bears, it was a huge accomplishment to break the bowl drought and, if nothing else, give its players a chance to drink in the bowl experience. They'll build on it in the future, and should be better in 2011. They'll have a new defensive coordinator, Phil Bennett, formerly of Pittsburgh, which should help. Offensively, the Bears were better than almost anyone could have expected, but poor defensive performances against Texas Tech and Texas A&M kept the Bears from achieving even more. Art Briles has the program headed in the right direction, and that should continue with another bowl berth in 2011.

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