Big 12: Ed 'Too Tall' Jones

How could I have possibly been so wrong about Missouri?

December, 11, 2008
12/11/08
7:21
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

All right, I can take the egg on my face just like the other Big 12 bloggers. All we have to do is look back at our preseason predictions and how they turned out.

Mine came on Aug. 25. Here are original picks, and what I think of them today.

"Offensive Player of the Year -- Missouri QB Chase Daniel. After leading the Tigers to the Cotton Bowl last season, Daniel is hungry for much more. Look for him to take them to the Bowl Championship Series if he can stay healthy."

My comment today -- OK, I didn't realize that everybody else in the South Division would usurp Daniel's passing numbers and his team's victories.  

"Defensive Player of the Year -- Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy. He won't pile up the impressive statistics of teammate Auston English, but know that every offensive coordinator in the Big 12 knows he has to account for McCoy's presence on every play."

My comment today -- McCoy had a nice solid season and was an anchor on the conference's championship defense. But I didn't realize that Brian Orakpo would morph into the second coming of Ed "Too Tall" Jones. Heck, I didn't even think he could make it through the season, expecting his injuries would make his recovery problematic.  

"Newcomer of the Year -- Colorado TB Darrell Scott. Sure, he's listed as a third-stringer heading into the Buffaloes' regular-season opener. But look for him to emerge as their most consistent offensive weapon, particularly as he runs behind what should be an improved offensive line."

My comment today -- I didn't know that Scott would spend most of the season in the training room. He showed some flashes, but nearly what I -- or most other preseason predictions -- expected from him.

"Coach of the Year -- Missouri's Gary Pinkel. Why not give him the award if the Tigers win their first Big 12 title? It's amazing how far he's come in the last 18 months. His job was in question before then, but he's mellowed over time and has his team positioned for another history-making run."

My comment today -- Like I said before, I had higher expectations for a Missouri defense that returned 10 starters. I didn't think they would finish the season by yielding 102 points in their last two games.

"North Division winner -- Missouri. A deep collection of offensive players and nearly every major defensive player is back, making Tigers the clear team to beat in the North. And they still have that guy named Daniel around, too."

My comment today -- A blind pig finds an acorn occasionally, right? I thought Missouri had the best talent before the season and still think so. But if they had played Nebraska late in the season, it might have made the results different.

"South Division winner -- Oklahoma. The Sooners look loaded again, too. The best collection of offensive talent should enable them to outscore most opponents. And while several key players are gone from last season's championship team on defense, Bob Stoops will figure out a way to win with these guys. He always seems to -- except in bowl games."

My comment today -- I look like Nostradamus today on this pick. But of course, I needed some BCS help to make sure it came true. I expected it all the way.

"Big 12 championship game winner -- Missouri. I know that Oklahoma is a back-to-back Big 12 champion and beat Missouri twice last season. But Curtis Lofton, Reggie Smith and Malcolm Kelly all are gone. Missouri won't meet Oklahoma until the end of the season. The game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium -- a virtual homefield advantage for the Tigers. And I'm giving them a slim edge -- maybe a Jeff Wolfert field goal -- because of better special teams."

My comment today -- I should have forseen all those lasers that Sam Bradford blistered the Tigers' secondary with last week, or the way that Brent Venables' defense would play against them Missouri. The Sooners have won 19 of their last 20 against the Tigers and there's nothing to suggest that the Tigers can end that streak anytime soon.

I should have known.

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