Here are my predictions about how the Big 12 South will pan out.
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners will be stacked on defense this year with 10 returning starters. The only two starters that are new to the group are safeties Sam Proctor and Quinton Carter, but the coaches say Carter is virtually a starter with all the experience and playing time he had last year. On offense, last year's Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Sam Bradford, returns. Perhaps the only major glaring weak spot is the offensive line, which returns only one starter, but any concerns should be answered in the first couple games.
2. Texas: Like the Sooners, the Longhorns have a great quarterback coming back in leader Colt McCoy. He figures to be a definite selection—as he was last year—to join Bradford in New York City at the end of the regular season for the Heisman ceremony. Texas is always a team that can play and play well on both sides of the ball, and this year it will be no different. Expect the South title once again to come down to the Red River Rivalry Game in October. Also expect OU to win in large part because of the motivation by some of the events at the end of last year, which reflects why Texas is in the two slot.
3. Oklahoma State: There's no doubt about it: The Cowboys will make some noise and challenge both OU and Texas for the South. Add another team to the list of those with a great quarterback and leader. Zac Robinson is a talented, tough-minded, gritty signal caller with a devastating wide out to throw the ball to in Dez Bryant. They could easily upset either OU and Texas or both.
4. Texas Tech: The loss of Graham Harrell will affect this team, but head coach Mike Leach always has a quarterback that can throw it and plenty of options around the perimeter to toss it to. With a couple of upset wins, the Red Raiders could sneak up the ladder. But they would likely have to do it on the road with games against Texas and OSU away from Lubbock. The Red Raiders do play the Sooners at home.
5. Baylor: Given the difference in competitiveness between Baylor and the rest of the pack in the Big 12 South, there are still a couple of reasons to be hopeful as a Bears fan. First, quarterback Robert Griffin was pretty good in his first season a year ago, tossing only three interceptions the entire season. Second, their schedule is encouraging, with most of their tough games (i.e. Texas, Oklahoma State, Nebraska) in Waco.
6. Texas A&M: The Aggies don't figure to have much of a chance in the Big 12 South in 2009. Unless they can steal a game against Texas or Oklahoma State in College Station, they should be at the bottom of the pack.
Next I will present what I believe will be the BCS Bowl matchups at the end of the regular season.