5 predictions for the Big 12 season

Want to peer into the future of the Big 12 this season? Here are five predictions for 2006:

1. Adrian Peterson is the obvious choice for Big 12 MVP this season, but not even the best running back in the nation can be effective when the offense has no other credible threat. Does that make former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar the conference's defensive MVP?

2. Colorado will struggle in its transition to Dan Hawkins' offense. The Big 12 North will belong to Nebraska. But with Mason Crosby kicking a record-breaking 70-yard field goal, the Buffs will win enough to go to a bowl game.

3. Iowa State will be better than it was the past two years, when it finished one play short of the Big 12 Championship Game. But the Cyclones' swap of Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M for Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech means they will fall short again. By Oct. 14, Iowa State will have played at Iowa, at Texas, at Oklahoma and versus Nebraska.

4. The best Big 12 player you've never heard of? Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson, a multitalented athlete who makes something happen whenever he gets near the ball.

5. The most interesting transition in the league is not Hawkins at Colorado or Ron Prince at Kansas State. It's Guy Morriss' decision to switch to the spread offense at Baylor. All-American punter Daniel Sepulveda had better limber up that leg.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at ivan.maisel@espn3.com.