Around the Big XII

The battle to be the Big XII champ seems to favor Texas at this point, but even the 2005 National Champions have questions heading into 2006. Here's a quick look at some of the top stories around the Big XII

One of the most high profile position battles in all of college football remains the quarterback spot for the defending National Champion Texas Longhorns. At this point red-shirt freshman, Colt McCoy, would be the starter if the Longhorns played today. He has received all of the snaps with the first team while true freshman Jevan Snead has seen reps with the second team. Look for this battle to come down to the wire as coach Mack Brown plans on getting Snead some snaps with the first team as camp continues.

Like their arch rivals from Austin, the Sooners have some questions under center heading into this season. With Rhett Bomar gone, coach Bob Stoops has been spending the fall camp tweaking his offense to fit the skill set of starting quarterback, Paul Thompson. Thompson has struggled a bit under center to this point, but he has been practicing against one of the best defenses in the country. Look for the Sooners to add more play action and designed roll outs to the offense to play to Thompson's strengths this fall.

Yet another team with early season Quarterback issues are the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Sophomore Harrison Beck has left the Husker football program following one season in Lincoln. The news on the other side of the ball has not been much better. Cornerback Zack Bowman has been lost for the season with injured ACL. The leading candidates to replace Bowman are Junior Andre Jones and freshman Anthony West. Linebacker Steve Octavien has also missed some practice time following the removal of his appendix. Octavien is expected back by the time the season kicks off on September 2.

Kansas State:
Enthusiasm is high for the Ron Prince era to begin in Manhattan, Kansas. However, the transfers of Kevin Lopina, Allan Evridge as well as the academic challenges of Allen Webb has left the Wildcat quarterback position thin. Senior Dylan Meier is the returning starter, but has a history of arm problems. Wildcat fans expect former Army All-American Josh Freeman to see plenty of snaps as a freshman this fall.

Iowa State:
A popular pick to win the Big XII North are the Iowa State Cyclones. Quarterback Bret Meyer has looked very strong thus far in camp. Among the other players who have impressed head coach Dan McCarney are a group of freshman, several of whom could end up as starters for the Cyclones. Offensive lineman Lee Tibbs certainly has the size at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds and could wind up starting at one of the tackle positions. Defensive lineman Rashawn Parker and running back Josh Johnson are two first-year players who have played well in camp and should see plenty of time this fall.

A first-year coach with an exciting offense has Colorado Buffalo fans excited for 2006. Dan Hawkins has brought the spread offense with him to Boulder, and has an open competition to quarterback the Buffalos. Junior Brian White has received the bulk of the snaps with the first team offense to this point and could wind up the up as the starter. Pushing White is Senior James Cox, who missed spring practice, and Junior Bernard Jackson. Cox had been rusty at the start of camp but looked strong in a recent scrimmage, and Jackson brings a scrambling ability which could provide a different look for the Buffalo offense at times this fall.

For the first time in four years, the Missouri Tigers have a starting quarterback not named Brad Smith. Heralded junior, Chase Daniel takes the reigns of the offense this fall and has looked sharp in camp thus far. Daniel will be operating behind an offensive line which returns four of five starters from last year. That is the good news. The bad news is that in the first scrimmage of camp, the Tigers ground game managed only 70 yards rushing on 52 carries, a measly 1.35-yards-per-carry average. Top Stories